They gave us Arbor Day, as a way to plant a million trees on the open plains of their state, the world’s largest mammoth skeleton found on a farm in Lincoln County, Kool-Aid, Boys town, the Vise-Grip, the Reuben sandwich, runza, a combination of meat, cheese and vegetables in a tasty bread pocket, and the idea that a legislature can be unicameral and non-partisan and still get things done. Plus, they raised up Warren Buffet, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, and President Gerald Ford. After Nebraska was admitted to the Union in 1867, the population grew from 120,000 to more than a million in 30 years. It’s only just double that now. The Cornhusker State grows more corn on its open prairies than any other place in the country. As you travel, flat lands, old farms, and open roads make for great drives. Outside of Omaha, you’ll find good natured Midwesterners who would take the shirt off their back to help you out and then cook you up one heck of a farm-fresh meal. The Sandhills, unique in Nebraska, and in America for that matter, are the largest and more intricate wetland ecosystem in the United States, where thousands of ponds and lakes are responsible for replenishing the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water for most of the Midwest. Since the Sandhills are not good for agriculture, the 1904 Kinkaid Act allowed homesteaders to claim 640 acres instead of the 160 of the Homestead Act, which resultedin nearly 9 million acres becoming massive ranches and farms. More than 80,000 miles of rivers meander through the state, providing habitats for more than 300 species of wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you see a wild turkey strutting around. They’re a regular sight here on America’s quintessential prairie.

Nebraska Scenic Byways