10 Best Day Trips From Omaha, Nebraska - Updated 2023

day trips from omaha

Originally known as the Great American Desert, the beautiful state of Nebraska represents everything truly American. With amazing geographical and topographical diversity encompassing plains and prairies as well as incredible rock formations, Nebraska is a humble midwestern state with friendly and open people who know how to have fun. From scenic roadways to take lovely family road trips on, to exploring the rich historical influence of this humble state, checking out the artistic and cultural scene, or going on a shopping spree, there are many different things to do in this state. You could even book one of the RV rentals to scratch the awesome family road trip from your bucketlist. Read on as we explore the 10 best day trips from Omaha, Nebraska.

1. Lincoln, NE

Lincoln, NE
Source: Photo by user Yutaka Tsutano used under CC BY 2.0

The capital of Nebraska, Lincoln, is named after the great American visionary and president, Abraham Lincoln. Filled with a variety of attractions and events for all kinds of travellers, this city is a great place to visit. Whether you are traveling with your family or friends, whether you are interested in history or wish to explore the great outdoors, Lincoln has something for you. You can check out the observation tower, the Art Deco spire, the grand Governor’s mansion that stands out with its incredible architecture and surrounding lush green spaces, or visit the Children’s Zoo that features fun miniature train rides for your little ones. There’s so much to see, you could even extend it to a weekend trip and have more time to explore!

2. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines East Village
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Iowahwyman used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another famous capital city, Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and a short distance away from Nebraska. It has slowly grown into the economic and cultural capital of the state and is famous for attracting hundreds of art enthusiasts from all over the Midwest. The Des Moines Art Centre has tons of amazing exhibits and installations to marvel at, while the Civic Centre hosts theatre art performances and dance performances throughout the year. In addition, if you are into gardening, the Botanical Centre is a must-visit spot, along with the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden.

3. Columbus, NE

Columbus Loup River Bridge from NW 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ammodramus used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

From relishing classic American cuisine to frolicking in water parks, Columbus represents the best of family vacations. Whether you are a history buff or are interested in some retail therapy, Columbus will never disappoint you. Check out the famous Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial and pay your respects, go for a dip at Pawnee Plunge Water Park with your little ones, or check out the various grill & bar-style restaurants all over the city. In addition, there are tons of avenues for enjoying the nightlife here, with the many clubs where you can go dancing with your spouse.

4. Kansas City, MO (from USD 69.0)

Kansas City is popular for a variety of reasons. This is the city where the popular swing dancing originated, along with the bebop. If you are interested in music or dancing, this is the ultimate day-trip destination for you. Whether you enjoy visiting old-school jazz clubs for live performances, wish to learn a 1920s dance form such as swing dancing from one of the many workshops held here, or browse through the beautiful stores and go window-shopping down the streets of Kansas City, you are sure to have the time of your life in this ever-growing cosmopolitan city.

Kansas City Segway Tour: Art and Glide

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

121 reviews

5. Nebraska City, NE

Nebraska City Ne
Source: Photo by Flickr user Richard Bauer used under CC BY 2.0

Nebraska City is another wonderful destination for a fun-filled day-trip. It boasts historical sites, water parks and amusement parks to frolic, orchards and vineyards. In short, Nebraska City is bound to keep you busy all day long. Check out the Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard and go for some wine-tasting workshops or apple picking with your kids. Or, you can check out the Civil War Veterans Museum, Kregel Windmill Museum or the Museum of Firefighting. Arbor Day Farm is a fun adventure and amusement park, where you can take your kids. It features hiking trails, greenhouses, and fun installations.

6. Topeka, KS

Topeka, KS Overland Station (511631948)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ron Reiring used under CC BY 2.0

Located in Kansas, Topeka is a history buff’s paradise. This small city played a major role in the historic Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., and has a plethora of historical monuments that are a must-visit for any history enthusiast. Check out the Brown vs Board Education National Historic site. If you like vintage architecture, visit the Ward Meade Park that has a Victorian-era mansion with the surrounding houses. Drop by the Combat Air Museum if you are interested in military equipment. In addition, there are also plenty of cultural events, dance and theatre performances, live music venues, and more that you can explore when in Topeka.

7. Iowa City, IA

Iowa City Downtown June 2021
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Stevat20 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Iowa City represents the best of nature, perfect if you are a nature or adventure enthusiast. With sprawling lush green gardens and meadows everywhere you look, historic sites where you can learn more about the local history, and plenty of parks and lakes to visit, Iowa City is perfect if you wish to have a nice quiet vacation surrounded by nature. Take your family to unique attractions, such as the Museum of Natural History and explore dinosaur fossils, or go biking down the winding roads surrounded by greenery on both sides.

8. Sioux City, SD

Downtown Sioux City Iowa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bboy100 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Situated in the Midwestern state of Iowa, Sioux City is a cultural hub filled with incredible history, culture and art. Explore amazing attractions here, including the Sergeant Floyd River Museum, Railroad Museum, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Centre, or the Chief War Eagle Monument if you are interested in historical monuments and sites. If you are a nature buff, check out the popular Stone State Park, where you can go for a hike or on a bicycle trip with your spouse. In addition to Stone State Park, there is also a nature museum known as the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Centre.

9. Cedar Rapids, IA

Cedar Rapids - Mays Island
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Davumaya used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cedar Rapids is one of the most popular Midwestern tourist destinations for a reason. Filled with incredible cuisine that you will not find elsewhere in the Midwest, plenty of attractions such as malls and historical sites, and unique cultural places to visit, Cedar Rapids promises an eventful day trip. Check out the National Czech & Slovak Museum, the Czech Village or the Brucemore building here.

10. Yankton, SD

Dakota Territory Capitol Replica Yankton
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Anderc99 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in the state of South Dakota, Yankton is another great day trip destination that is not too far from Omaha. This is a quiet town with modest attractions, making for a very peaceful vacation. If you wish to get away from the typical urban jungles of the capital cities, Yankton is a cozy place to visit with friendly and welcoming locals. Some of the must-visit attractions include the Meridian Highway Bridge and the Lewis and Clark Recreation Centre.

Fun day trips from Omaha

The American midwest tends to get fairly disregarded when it comes to popular tourist destinations. It is not very well-connected and is relatively less urbanised than its coastal counterparts. However, that also means that if you are planning a vacation during peak tourist times of the year, you are less likely to find this place overcrowded, expensive and hyped. The people are always welcoming and friendly, and you will always find some peace and quiet here. So if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation, go to the American Midwest and discover for yourself how refreshing it can be.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Being a military kid, Shamika has lived and travelled all over India, and her nomadic childhood has fueled an immense hunger and fascination for new cultures and languages (she's a polyglot!)...Read more

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