As the Platte River flows, so does Interstate-80. The ribbon of water that guided pioneers west today leads visitors to historical and recreational destinations.
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The Archway
The Archway
| Credit: Blaine Moats

Do

The Archway

Spanning Interstate-80 near Kearney, the high-tech museum recounts more than 200 years of human travel along the Platte River, from Oregon Trail pioneers to I-80 motorists.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park

Memorabilia of the Wild West showman fill his 1880s Scout's Rest Ranch mansion and barn in North Platte.

Classic Car Collection

Ogle the tailfins of a 1959 Cadillac among more than 200 mint-condition vehicles at this Kearney attraction. ccckearney.com

Golden Spike Tower

From the eight-story tower in North Platte, watch some of the 10,000 rail cars that chug daily through the world's largest train yard, Union Pacific's Bailey Yard.

Hastings Museum

Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream tells of Nebraska native Edwin Perkins' 1927 creation, Kool-Aid, in this museum 25 miles south of Grand Island. Other exhibits explore topics such as rocks and minerals, prehistoric Nebraska, birds and antique vehicles. 

Lake McConaughy Nebraska
Lake McConaughy
| Credit: Ryan Donnell

Lake McConaughy

Wildlife areas, campgrounds and more than 100 miles of shoreline draw visitors to Nebraska's largest reservoir.

Nebraska Firefighters Museum

See vintage fire trucks, firefighting gear and an outdoor memorial at the Kearney spot.

Nebraskaland Days

It's fitting that a rodeo festival (June 15–22, 2022) would take place in North Platte, where, many say, Buffalo Bill held the first major rodeo. The fest crowns Miss Rodeo Nebraska, declares bull-riding champs and stars country music A-listers.

Crane migration along Platte River Nebraska
Sandhill crane migration
| Credit: Courtesy of Nebraska Tourism

Sandhill Crane Migration

In spring, half a million Sandhill cranes stop to rest and feed along the Platte River. During the day, look for the birds in fields near Kearney and Grand Island or, at sunset and sunrise, watch from the Fort Kearny Bridge over the Platte River. If available, reserve a viewing spot with Rowe Sanctuary or Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center.

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer

At this engaging museum, learn about settlers' lives through exhibits at the Stuhr Building, and then visit with living-history reenactors at the 1899 Railroad Town in Grand Island.

Eat and Drink

The Flippin Sweet Pizzeria and Burger Joint
The Flippin Sweet
| Credit: Courtesy of Lunar Media Management

The Flippin Sweet

Dig into build-your-own pizzas and calzones, plus burgers, pasta, salads and sandwiches, at this popular spot in Kearney.

Napoli's Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar

Traditional Italian creations at the family-owned eatery in Grand Island include chicken Parmigiana and seafood Alfredo.

Pals Brewing Company

Pair seasonal craft beer, such as Apricot Wheat, with pizza, cheese curds or nachos at this brewery in North Platte. An outdoor seating area with cornhole games keeps the kids (and parents) happy.

Steeple Brewing Co.

Church life inspires beer names (Fellowship Hour, Bats in the Belfry) and architectural details at the community taproom with a pastor-turned-brewmaster in Hastings.

Stay

Hampton Inn Kearney

Just off I-80, the hotel provides comfy rooms, along with an indoor pool and included breakfast.

Fairfield Inn and Suites Grand Island

Complimentary breakfast, spacious rooms and a hot tub make for relaxing stays at the Fairfield.