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Nebraska

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Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Nebraska

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Introduction

Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

© All Rights Reserved jengelman

Nebraska is one of the 50 US states that gets bad reputation. Many people consider it a fly over or drive through state. This can't be further from the fact. It has many wonderful natural sights, historic monuments and quirky Americana that only the USA can produce. Just remember that if it starts to get cloudy and thunderstorms start to brew and you see funnel cloud look for cover because tornado's also like to go through this state!

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Geography

The state is bordered by South Dakota to the north, Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. The state has 93 counties; it occupies the central portion of the Frontier Strip. Nebraska is split into two time zones. The Central Time zone comprises the eastern half of the state, while the western half observes Mountain Time. Three rivers cross the state from west to east. The Platte River, formed by the confluence of the North Platte and the South Platte, runs through the central portion of the state, the Niobrara River flows through the northern part, and the Republican River runs across the southern part. Nebraska is composed of two major land regions: the Dissected Till Plains and the Great Plains. The easternmost portion of the state was scoured by Ice Age glaciers; the Dissected Till Plains were left behind after the glaciers retreated. The Dissected Till Plains is a region of gently rolling hills; Omaha and Lincoln are in this region. The Great Plains occupy the majority of western Nebraska. The Great Plains region consists of several smaller, diverse land regions, including the Sandhills, the Pine Ridge, the Rainwater Basin, the High Plains and the Wildcat Hills. Panorama Point, at 1,653 metres, is the highest point in Nebraska; despite its name and elevation, it is a relatively low rise near the Colorado and Wyoming borders. A past Nebraska tourism slogan was "Where the West Begins"; locations given for the beginning of the "West" include the Missouri River, the intersection of 13th and O Streets in Lincoln (where it is marked by a red brick star), the 100th meridian, and Chimney Rock. Nebraska is a triply landlocked state, as it does not border the ocean, nor do any of the states it borders, nor any that they border.

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Sights and Activities

Carhenge and Michael

Carhenge and Michael

© All Rights Reserved Lavafalls

  • Carhenge, located outside of Alliance in western Nebraska, is an example of the more quirky side of the USA. Carhenge is a 'replica' of Stonehenge made out of crushed cars. There are also other examples of car art for people to appreciate. Carhenge is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Entrance is free, although donations are greatly appreciated.
  • The Sand Hills in central Nebraska consists of over 19,000 acres of wind-deposited sand dunes, the largest sand dune formation in America.
  • Scott's Bluff National Monument rising 800 feet out of the flat lands this wonderful sight is a great place to stop and rest. It was also a stopping point and landmark for people on the Oregon Trail.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.

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Weather

Two major climatic zones are represented in Nebraska: the eastern half of the state has a humid continental climate, and the western half, a semi-arid climate. The entire state experiences wide seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation. Average temperatures are fairly uniform across Nebraska, with hot summers and generally cold winters, while average annual precipitation decreases east to west from about 800 mm in the southeast corner of the state to about 350 mm in the Panhandle. Humidity also decreases significantly from east to west. Snowfall across the state is fairly even, with most of Nebraska receiving between 65 to 90 cm of snow annually. Nebraska's highest recorded temperature is 48 °C at Minden on July 24, 1936 and the lowest recorded temperature is -44 °C at Camp Clarke on February 12, 1899. Nebraska is in Tornado Alley; thunderstorms are common in the spring and summer months, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes happen primarily during the spring and summer, though they can also occur in the autumn. The chinook winds from the Rocky Mountains provide a temporary moderating effect on temperatures in western Nebraska during the winter months

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Getting There

By Plane

Eppley Airfield (OMA) near Omaha is Nebraska's largest airport. It offers flights to/from Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, Memphis, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Cincinnati, Orlando, Washington, D.C., Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis, Houston, Newark and Charlotte.

By Train

The California Zephyr, operated by Amtrak, travels between Chicago, Illinois and Emeryville (San Francisco), California, stopping in a number of places in Nebraska.

By Car

Nebraska's major national highway corridor is Interstate 80, which runs east-west across the state, Interstate 92 runs parallel to the state's Eastern border in Iowa and Missouri. Other major highways that enter Nebraska include Interstate 76 (from Colorado), US 81 (major north-south route), US 20 (northern east-west route), US 26 (from Wyoming), and US 385/Nebraska 71 (western north-south route).

By Bus

Check Greyhound buses for options. Jefferson Lines travels primarily on Interstate 29 between Kansas City, MO and Sioux Falls, SD via Omaha and Sioux City.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Bus

Intrastate bus service within the state is served by Arrow/Black Hills Stage and Burlington Trailways.

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Eat

A past Nebraska slogan was The Beef State, and much of Nebraska's cuisine can still be best described as "meat and potatoes". Stop in any Nebraska city or town and you'll be likely to find low-cost, high-quality, home-cooked dining options. Nebraska's cuisine has been influenced by the numerous immigrant groups that have settled in the state; for example, you'll find German and Scandinavian dishes in the northeast, Czech meals in some areas, and numerous Italian restaurants in Omaha.
Many of Nebraska's rural entrepreneurs have bottled, packaged or otherwise made available "Grandma's favorite recipe" or other products from family farms across the state. If you're not visiting the state, you can find these products on the internet at GrowNebraska.org. You can use this site as a guide to experiencing the real flavor of Nebraska before you travel.

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Drink

  • Kool Aid - the official drink of Nebraska. It was invented in Hastings Nebraska where there is also a museum dedicated to the drink.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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Contributors

as well as Lavafalls (9%), Peter (8%)

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This is version 21. Last edited at 8:02 on Dec 23, 16 by Utrecht. 20 articles link to this page.

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