Place to Go: Tribal Communities

Visiting Eastern Nebraska: Family-Friendly Destinations Near the Missouri River

For all of you adventurous travelers with families out there: the Missouri River offers exciting year-round activities and events perfect for vacations with family and friends, or even a relaxing solo trip. In fact, the longest river in the United States provides excellent recreational opportunities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, boating, and more. And yet, have you ever considered visiting the communities and towns along the Missouri River? Consider visiting Eastern Nebraska, an area filled to the brim with must-see destinations that are also part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail for your next adventure! 

Not sure where to go? Along the Missouri River, visiting Eastern Nebraska features dozens of unique cities, towns, and villages with their own charming history. Consider visiting Eastern Nebraska, an area perfect for finding family-friendly activities! Visiting Eastern Nebraska today will offer you everything from outdoor recreation to exciting local festivals! Keep reading to find out more about the top 10 family-friendly locations that are worth visiting in Eastern Nebraska.

Visting Eastern Nebraska has an abundance of destinations for families with children to visit!
Visiting Eastern Nebraska has an abundance of destinations for families with children to visit!

1. Bellevue

Want to get away for the weekend near the Missouri River while visiting Eastern Nebraska? Well, you’re in luck, as Bellevue, Nebraska features scenic nature trails at Fontenelle Forest as well as the opportunity for hiking, biking, camping, and boating! Feeling a little braver? Make a reservation at TreeRush Adventures located in the Fontenelle Forest! Guests ages 4 to adult can spend a day climbing, ziplining, and swinging through the Fontenelle Forest.

2. Blair

Blair is a quaint community nestled on the banks of the Missouri River, with tons of outdoor recreation and local activities for the whole family. Visit the DeSoto Chute National Wildlife Refuge to witness how wildlife and history intersect! For a family-friendly attraction, visit Skinny Bones Pumpkin Patch for exciting activities and events perfect for families with children.

3. Brownville

Looking for a quaint small town away from the hustle and bustle? Visit Brownville, Nebraska near the Missouri River for everything from Lewis & Clark State Recreation area and the great outdoors to the arts, museums, and the theater! Don’t forget to have a quick bite and satisfy your sweet tooth afterward by coming to Gospel Coffee & Ice Cream!

The view of Arbor Lodge Mansion from Lied Lodge & Conference Center.

4. Dakota City

Dakota City is considered to be one of Eastern Nebraska’s oldest communities with tons of history to be explored! Come to Sportsmen’s Preserve, Cottonwood Cove Park, and more for incredible views, camping opportunities, and a chance to learn about the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail (LCNHT)!

5. Fort Calhoun

Do you like learning about history and learning new historical facts? Fort Calhoun is a community with a history you have to learn about! Visit and witness historical re-enactments up close at Historic Fort Atkinson State Historical Park. Fort Calhoun is also home to the Washington County Museum and the Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge. After a long day, enjoy a hot meal at The Rustic!

6. Nebraska City

For family fun, Nebraska City offers educational programming and history re-enactments at the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Visitor Center! With programming, events, and activities for all ages, this is a fun and creative way to learn about American history! For the rest of the day, spend it at the  Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and the Wildwood Historic House, Victorian Garden, and Gift Shop.

Board the Keelboat replica while visiting Eastern Nebraska. Photo Credit: Opal Spidell

7. Niobrara

This Eastern Nebraska community along the Missouri River features an incredible array of outdoor, educational, and cultural activities! Just looking to relax on your day off? Niobrara State Park offers scenic and breathtaking views with so many outdoor experiences that you’re sure to find something you like! The state park has everything from camping and horseback riding to wildlife-watching opportunities. Visit in the summer months to witness the park’s famous buffalo cookout season. Interested in learning more about Native American culture and history? Visit the Ponca Educational Trail and Earthlodge and the Ponca Tribal Museum!

8. Omaha

Looking for a city with just about any activity or attraction you can think of? Visit Omaha in Eastern Nebraska and you’ll never run out of exciting places to explore and activities to do! If you’re an American history buff, we recommend visiting the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail headquarters at the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center. For other family-friendly activities, consider taking a trip to the Joslyn Art Museum, Durham History Museum, and the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium! Hungry? Omaha has great eats for affordable prices, especially considering how Omaha is where the Reuben sandwich was originally created! We personally recommend the Coneflower Creamery

9. Plattsmouth

As one of Eastern Nebraska’s oldest cities with a founding date of 1854, there’s never a boring, uneventful day in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. With tons of historical, cultural, and family-friendly activities, there’s never been a better time to visit! Come in the fall to participate in the annual Plattsmouth Harvest Festival or stop by the Schilling Wildlife Management Area for hiking, hunting, fishing, and picnicking opportunities! 

10. South Sioux City

South Sioux City is a charming small town in Eastern Nebraska that is home to unique attractions, including being a town where Meriwether Lewis and William

Clark passed through in 1804. The city features the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway and the Outlaw Trail, a perfect destination for a family outing. Learn more about American history, visit state recreation areas, go fishing, and even witness the state’s tallest waterfall! Also, consider visiting Woodland Trails at the Winnebago Village Center to support local Native American businesses. This city also offers recreational activities year-round, such as fishing, golfing, hiking, and more!

Autumn River View Boardwalk Trail in Eastern Nebraska

Now that you’ve gotten a chance to learn more about what Eastern Nebraska has to offer, consider visiting Eastern Nebraska for your next vacation or when you are near the Missouri River. As a reminder, remember to support local businesses and shop local when you have the opportunity. They are counting on your support as visitors, so don’t delay a trip!

Consider visiting Eastern Nebraska and its plethora of great family-friendly destinations today!

For more information about the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, be sure to check out our website, and read our other blogs for more trip inspiration!