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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!
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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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
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.
The California Zephyr, operated by Amtrak, travels between Chicago, Illinois and Emeryville (San Francisco), California, stopping in a number of places in Nebraska.
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).
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.
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.
Intrastate bus service within the state is served by Arrow/Black Hills Stage and Burlington Trailways.
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.
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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