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Top 13 Historic Landmarks in Nebraska

Here's what you need to know...
  • There are many beautiful landmarks to visit if you are taking a road trip through Nebraska
  • Many of them are located in the major city of Omaha or relate to the Oregon Trail and Nebraska’s history in the western frontier
  • It is important to make sure you drive safely and have sufficient coverage on your road trip through Nebraska
Nebraska is a beautiful area to drive through if you are heading out on a road trip. There are so many historic landmarks to visit that capture the essence of prairie life.

The famous Oregon Trail went right through Nebraska. You can visit many of the historic sites and pretend you’re a settler on the western front! Make sure you are covered before you plan your road trip to Nebraska by using our free quote tool above! 

Historic Landmarks in Nebraska

#13 – Susan LaFlesche Picotte Hospital

Cost: Free
Year: 1913

The Susan LaFlesche Picotte Hospital is located in Walthill, Nebraska. This was the first hospital on a Native American reservation that was funded exclusively by donations without any contribution from the American government.

It is named after Dr. LaFlesche Picotte because she was the first Native American physician. Although it no longer functions as a hospital, it is still used for various services on the reservation.

#12 – Pine Ridge National Recreation Area

AdobeStock_87779969-1600x1600Cost: $5 fee for camping overnight from May to November. It is free for use during the day.
Year: N/A

The Pine Ridge National Recreation Area is a designated national park located in northwestern Nebraska. It is a great place to see wildlife animals, hike, bike, or just enjoy the natural scenery. You can also camp in the park overnight.

#11 – Mormon Pioneer Cemetery

Cost: Free
Year: 1990 (designated as world heritage site)

The Mormon Pioneer Cemetery is located in Omaha, Nebraska. Mormon settlers came to this part of Nebraska in the mid-1800’s.

These were bitter winters and many settlers did not survive. There are many beautiful memorials dedicated to these settlers located on the cemetery grounds.

#10 – The Archway

Cost: $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $6 for kids, free for children under 5
Year: Opened to the public in 2000

This landmark represents what was once known as the Great Platte River Road. It was a path along the Oregon Trail.

You can see a historical exhibit that tells the stories of those who ventured out on the trail and helped create America as we know it. You can also watch a horse show at the pony express station.

#9 – Willa Cather House

Cost: Tour prices range from $10-$50 for adults, $5-$20 for students, and free for children under 5
Year: Will Cather Foundation was started in 1955

The Willa Cather House is located in Red Cloud, Nebraska. It is the childhood home of famous author Willa Cather and the tourist attraction is run by the Willa Cather Foundation.

The foundation operates several tours through the house and the surrounding buildings. Several of Cather’s books and poems were inspired by the beautiful prairie scenery surrounding the house.

#8 – Golden Spike Tower

Cost: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for students under 16, free for children 5 and under
Year:  2008

The Golden Spike Tower allows visitors to get an aerial view of the Bailey Yard, which is the largest classification yard in the world. The Bailey Yard is where the Union Pacific Line is based out of.

The yard stretches on for 8 miles. A total of 14,000 trains go through this station every 24 hours.

From the observation deck on the eighth floor, visitors can see the trains in action as well as visit different information interactive kiosks.

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#7 – Neligh Mills

Cost: $3 for adults, free for children under 18
Year: Built in 1873

The Neligh Mill still has all of its original equipment from the 1880’s! Visitors can explore what it was like to work in a mill during this time period. The mill is maintained by the Nebraska State Historical Society.

#6 – Joslyn Castle

Cost: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, students, and military members
Year: Built in 1903, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972

The Joslyn Castle is located in the Gold Coast Historic District in Omaha. George and Sarah Joslyn purchased the 5-acre land in 1893 and the house was finished in 1903.

It was designed by architect John McDonald to resemble a Scottish mansion, and it has thirty-four rooms! You can rent the castle for private events, such as a wedding or anniversary, or take a tour on Mondays and select Sundays.

#5 – Carhenge

Cost: Free!
Year: Constructed in 1987

Carhenge is a unique structure is made of old car parts and meant to look like the famous Stonehenge formation. The formation was made by Jim Reinders in memory of his father. There additional car sculptures at the site as well.

#4 – Pony Express Station

Cost: Free!
Year: Original station erected in 1854; opened to tourists in the 1950’s

The Pony Express station was used as a fur trading post and ranch house during the days of the Oregon Trail. It was later used as an Overland Trail Stage Station.

#3 – Lewis and Clark Landing

Cost: Free!
Year: Original landing site of Lewis and Clark in 1804; opened as a park in 2003

The Lewis and Clark Landing is a beautiful spot to enjoy the views of the Missouri River. The landing is often used as a venue for concerts and other festivals.

#2 – Scottsbluff

Cost: $3 for cyclists and hikers; $5 for non-commercial vehicle; $25-$100 for commercial vehicles
Year: Recognized as a national monument in 1919

Many Native Americans and travelers on the Oregon Trail used Scottsbluff geological formation as a landmark.

#1 – Chimney Rock

Cost: $3 for adults, free for children if their parents are part of the Nebraska State Historical Society
Year: Designated a National Historic Site in 1956

Check out the Chimney Rock site if you are traveling through Bayard, Nebraska. This was another common symbol along the Oregon Trail, and travelers frequently mentioned the landmark to each other.

It is a natural geologic formation made of clay and volcanic ash. The Chimney Rock Center has museum exhibits, educational initiatives, and a gift shop. It is open to visitors daily.

Traveling Safely in Nebraska

AdobeStock_38015788-1600x1600If you are embarking on a road trip through Nebraska, it is important to travel safely! It is important to be aware of the car insurance laws in Nebraska because you may need additional coverage when you are traveling.

– Nebraska Coverage Requirements

Keep in mind that you must have the right coverage! In Nebraska, you must have $25,000 worth of coverage for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for total bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage.

Nebraska is considered a “fault state” which means that whoever is responsible for the accident is required to pay for all of the damage.

You should also be reviewing your policy every six months. Do not make your decision based solely on the cost of the plan.

It is also important to enroll in a plan that offers complete coverage and has excellent customer service. Compare three to four plans before making your final decision.

– Road Trip Tips

  • Know the landmarks you want to see
  • Map your trip out before you leave
  • Tune up your car ahead of time
  • Travel with an emergency kit

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