If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Off The Beaten Path series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, however, there is just something incredible about discovering something unique and different. Our goals are to find the most unexplored places and take those roads less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own off the beaten path stories with us. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking/free camping area, with GPS coordinates.
Besides the largest ball of stamps, there are actually some hidden gems in this rural state. Though if you travel with kids, they might just find the largest ball of stamps interesting. I mean it is kind of! Ha!
Though the locals call it something much more “interesting”, we’ll leave that for you to discover. <wink> You’re welcome to explore the visitor center, with a museum detailing the history of the Rock and the western Nebraska area, along with a great glass window to view the Rock.
Standing an estimated 325 feet over the North Platte River valley in western Nebraska, with a 120-foot spire, Chimney Rock was a landmark on European settlers’ migrations westward. The rock is composed of layers of volcanic ash, clay, and tough sandstone that protects the spire. It’s much more impressive in real life!
Toadstool Geologic Park
As you know from some of our past blogs, we love places like this! Other-worldly rock formations and ancient fossils are found in this unique stretch of Nebraska badlands. In the midst of the Oglala National Grasslands lies a section of sparse desert where the effects of water and wind over millions of years have carved the dusty earth into dramatic, interesting shapes. Wait – are we on the moon? Get out there and walk among the formations. It’s really a unique and fascinating place.
If you haven’t seen our blog on the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico, check it out here! In a way, similar to Toadstool Park
Petrified Wood Gallery – Ogallala
This really cool place contains a collection that took two brothers more than 50 years to accumulate. It includes petrified wood, fossils, and artifacts from around the world. While it may sound odd, trust us – it’s absolutely worth a visit.
Omaha is pretty amazing. For a city! We really love to get out of the city and explore, but there are some things you should see in Omaha! It’s a very artsy, unique city.
Gene Leahy Mall
Check out the slides in the Gene Leahy Mall. Ok, so you’re not a mall person! Me either. But the park near by also has some arty benches and walkways along the lagoon. Definitely worth a day trip and maybe a picnic lunch. Check out these slides! Let your kids have fun while you relax a little. Though I have to admit – lots of adults found their inner child here!
Middle Loup River – Super easy, if you can get around the sand bars. Watch for rippled waters, and steer far away. An easy, 2-3 mph flow makes for a great beginner afternoon. National Forest has camping, and full hook-up sites if that’s your thing! Put in at the bridge at the entrance to Halsey National Forest. Take out 4 miles downriver, just past Dunning gas station. The footbridge is just as fun to cross! Perfect kayak trip!
We get asked all the time what kind of Kayaks we have and how we like them. We love our SeaEagle Kayaks. They fit very nicely behind our theater seats in our RV. Easy travel companions for us. Click here to see our SeaEagle 385ft.
Easy hike! Fantastic waterfall! Smith Falls Trails is a 1.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sparks, Nebraska that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. Dogs welcome but must be leashed.
There are actually lots of free camping in Nebraska! You won’t have a problem finding beautiful areas to camp for free! Nebraska has a lot of city parks. Some with free (or for donation) hookups even!
- Harrison City Park – GPS – 42.6898, -103.8853. Great Verizon service, free hookups (please see if you can leave a donation in the box) The town park has two spots for campers. 40ft spaces on gravel. 50/30/20 amp power and water.
- Bayard City Park – GPS: 41.7622, -103.322 – First 2 nights for free, then $10 a night. Easy big rig access and free with Water and 20/30/50 amp power. Great cell service if you work!
- Cambridge City RV Park – GPS: 40.2826, -100.1603. Another city park, big rig friendly, free electric. There is also a dump station and potable water right at the entrance of the park. You can stay 3 days but if no one else seems to need a spot, you can ask the chamber of commerce to stay longer. Park for the kids. Really great place to stop and get some work done if you need to, or just explore the town.
Here are a few blogs we think you’ll love!
- Off the Beaten Path in Every State! Hidden Secrets in the Lower 48!
- What To Do With Photos When Downsizing
- Off the Beaten Path in South Carolina. 8 Hidden Gems you Shouldn’t Miss!
- RV Accessories for the Kitchen
- Living Full-Time in an RV for 3 years. Our 15 Tips
- 10 Myths About Boondocking – Debunked! Yes, We Do Take Showers!
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2 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path in Nebraska. Hidden Gems You Can’t Miss!”
If you were at Smith Falls State Park, you were also at Niobrara National Scenic River, a fantastic kayak, canoe & tubing river past 200 ft high sandstone cliffs & many waterfalls. Outfitters run out of Valentine, NE. Also visit Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge to see bison, elk & prairie dogs and hike down to the Niobrara River.
Thank you!! Love when we get to see all the wildlife! 🙂 And waterfalls are my happy place for sure!