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Nebraska’s State Parks Offer Unique Of History And Nature

There is a slightly pejorative term sometimes used concerning the middle of America: “flyover states.” However, anyone who has ever spent any time in one of these areas would likely say that the heartland of America has much more to offer than meets the eye. Visitors will find beautiful landscapes, wonderful people, and an embodiment of the American spirit. 

Perhaps no area in this region personifies this sense of Americana like Nebraska, the “Cornhusker State.” Just mentioning the name brings to mind gentle, rolling hills, acres of cornfields, and great wide plains reaching the great bowl of the western sky.

But there is more to Nebraska than just a scene from a Willa Cather novel. Long inhabited by Native Tribes like the Omaha, Missouria, Ponca, Pawnee, and the many Tribes of the Lakota, during the 17th century, it became a hub of Spanish and French trade in the West.

Soon, early American settlers would push further westward, starting in the early 19th Century with the establishment of the first U.S. Army post west of the Mississippi River at Fort Atkinson, NE. Nebraska’s history includes the struggles of the early West, with years-long conflicts between Indigenous Tribes and early settlers and the Great Migration of the late 19th Century. Both defined the country and the region during those formative years of U.S. growth. 

With a story as vital to the story of the country and a landscape as stunning as any, Nebraska is more than just a “flyover state” with a wealth of treasures to offer visitors to the 37th state in the union. 

Many of these treasures are preserved in Nebraska’s State Parks system, and below are some can’t-miss spots!

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park: A unique opportunity awaits Nebraska all at this site near Royal, NE. According to the Nebraska Game Parks website, National Geographic referred to it as “the Pompeii of prehistoric animals,” offering an experience unlike any other. Travelers can watch paleontologists dig and preserve fossils in real-time and stop in the visitors center to learn even more about the animals fossilized here when volcanic ash covered this once thriving watering hole more than 12 million years ago.

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Fort Robinson State Park: This destination is as massive as beautiful! With more than 22,000 acres of stunning Nebraska landscape, the park offers incredible camping, wild west history, and even its local buffalo and longhorn herds. The spot of an army fort that was operational from the early 19th century until World War II, this fort was also the site of the death of the legendary Native American Sioux Chief Crazy Horse. The Fort Robinson is a local favorite for campers, history buffs, and family day trippers.

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Niobrara State Park: It may surprise some to think of Nebraska as a state of many powerful rivers. However, some of the most influential waterways in the upper Midwest flow through and converge within its boundaries. One of these convergences happens at the park, where the mighty Missouri and Niobrara Rivers meet. This outdoors lovers’ dream is popular for adventurers, with activities as varied as hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, and boating. In the summer, the spot also hosts its many legendary buffalo cookouts in true Western fashion.

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