Nebraska Agritourism Road Trip

down_arrow

Nebraska is one the nation's premier states for agritourism. Get your hands dirty and stay at a local ranch. Visit historical parks that tell the story of Nebraska's storied farming and ranching history. Sit back and relax with a glass of wine or beer from a local brewery or winery. Follow this 4-day itinerary to experience Nebraska's rich agriculture industry. 

Day 1: Southeast Splendors

Saddles and ranch tools at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park.
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

Start your adventure in the state’s southeast region, where you’ll sample rich wines and discover the history behind Arbor Day.

First Stop: Kick off with a visit to Capitol View Winery in Roca. Located just south of Lincoln, this local winery offers over 20 selections of wine, from sweet reds and dry whites to ice-style and port-style wines. Book a tour and get a firsthand look at the wine-making process. See the different grape varieties grown at the vineyard, then tour the production room and cellar before sampling a few of Capitol View’s signature wines.

Second Stop: Next, head towards the state’s eastern border. Stop in Nebraska City to explore the home of J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day, at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. Tour the grounds of this 52-room mansion to see Morton family relics and learn the history behind Arbor Day. Within this 72-acre park, you’ll also find walking trails, an arboretum, a garden and a variety of beautiful lilac shrubs. Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is one of the many attractions at Arbor Day Farm. Be sure to check out Apple House Market and Tree Adventure while you’re here.  

Overnight Here: If you’re looking for unique accommodations, look no further than InnJunktion in Union. Located at the antique-and-vintage junk store Union Junction, this suite offers a homey stay equipped with a queen bed, en suite bathroom and kitchen amenities, including a microwave and mini fridge. Plus, you can browse thousands of décor items and oddities for sale inside this 2,000-square-foot historic building.  

Day 2: Natural Northeast 

Cabin at River Land Cabins and Campground in Columbus.
River Land Cabins & Campground

Hit the road northeast for nature escapes and campground fun, with a taproom stop along the way. 

First Stop: Craft beer connoisseurs will love Nebraska Brewing Company. Visit their La Vista brewery and taproom to sample a variety of award-winning beers, like the Brunette nut brown ale, Cardinal pale ale and EOS hefeweizen. Be sure to ask your bartender about the seasonal, reserve and limited series beers available as well. Not a beer fan? The brewery also offers refreshing hard seltzers. If you’re interested in learning how their beer is made, book a brewery tour. Nebraska Brewing Company offers 50-minute tours every Thursday and Saturday. 

Second Stop: Retreat to the peaceful escape of Maple Creek Canyon near Schuyler. Spend the day exploring the private sanctuary’s nature trails to discover the beautiful landscapes of northeast Nebraska. Purchase an all-day pass and hike to your heart’s content or book a guided tour and take in the scenery from the comfort of an open-air off-road vehicle. Plan your visit around an upcoming event, as the nature retreat often hosts local vendors and makers for flea markets and art sales. 

Overnight Here: Nature lovers should plan to overnight at River Land Cabins & Campground in Columbus. Get back to nature and stay along the banks of the Platte River. The campground is an excellent base for all kinds of outdoor adventures, like biking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and wildlife viewing. Plus, the kids will love the sand volleyball court and playground. The site offers 18 RV hookups as well as three large, fully furnished cabins. 

Day 3: Sandhills Scenes

Horseback riders at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park.
Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Head west and spend Day 3 exploring the ranches of Nebraska’s expansive sandhills. 

First Stop: Continue west to the sandhills and sample more Nebraska craft brews at Bootleg Brewers in Taylor. This passion-project-turned-brewery is located on a working ranch. Stop by for a home-cooked meal and a refreshing ice-cold brew. From the Cling On American wheat and Hoppy Homesteader IPA to the Sandhills cream ale and Horned Herford Irish red ale, Bootleg Brewers offers delicious varieties to match any taste. When you’re done sipping your craft beverage, wander the 40-acre ranch to take in the beauty of the sandhills.

Second Stop: Make your way to Merriman for a visit to Bowring Ranch State Historical Park. Here you’ll find the turn-of-the-century working cattle ranch of state officials Arthur and Eve Bowring. Tour the ranch house to see Bowring family artifacts, like clothing, décor and furnishings. Then, stop by the Eve Bowring Visitor Center to see displays on the heritage of the sandhills region, cattle ranching history and the lives and legacies of the park’s namesakes. 

Overnight Here: Book your stay at Bar-C-Bar Ranch Guest House just west of Loup City. This four-bedroom guest house sleeps eight and includes a full kitchen, living room and dining room. Sit and relax awhile on the screened-in porch. Play games with the kiddos in the children’s play area. Roast marshmallows and tell stories around the bonfire pit. When you’re settled in, explore the grounds for birdwatching, nature walks and remarkable stargazing.

Day 4: Southern Sights

Patio at Burchell's White Hill Farmhouse
Burchell's White Hill Farmhouse Inn

Divert south for vineyard visits, prairie stops and a comfortable stay at a popular country inn.

Stop 1: Drive to the Southern Platte Valley to sample a variety of wines from one of the state’s largest vineyards. The 37-acre Feather River Vineyard invites guests to its tasting room near North Platte to try a collection of award-winning wines, including house reds like St. Croix, Marquette and Red Neck Revenge and house whites like Trinity Blanc, Edelweiss and Allelo.

Stop 2: Next, visit the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie near Red Cloud. Explore the trails of this 612-acre, never-been-plowed prairie to experience untouched Nebraska land filled with native plants and wildlife. The prairie is an excellent location for stargazing or sunrise and sunset viewing. It’s also very popular with birders, as upland plovers, wild turkeys, vesper sparrows, greater prairie chickens and western meadowlarks have been among the many species spotted here.

Overnight Here:  Then, retreat to the historic farmhouse at Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn. Stay in one of four cozy guestrooms, each equipped with a private bath and entrance. Guests can expect a homemade breakfast in the morning, as well as a family-style dinner featuring a variety of smoked meats and fresh veggies at the onsite restaurant. This working farm just north of Minden is the perfect country getaway.