Top Things to Do in Kearney and the Platte River Valley
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.