Jul 7, 2016 Communities

The 6 Best Summer Road Trip Destinations From Omaha

Omaha is located very close to the geographical center of the United States just three hours away in Lebanon, Kansas. This central location within the country means we have several options for nearby road trips to take during the summer!

The rest of the country heads our way often to enjoy the many things to do in Omaha, so it’s time we returned the favor by exploring some other large cities in the region that don’t require a plane ride.

You may have visited a few of these cities but may not have considered others. Or you might just discover new and exciting things to do in the cities you’ve already been to. We just hope this list helps spark some ideas for your next summer road trip!

1. Lincoln, Nebraska

Who says you have to travel hours and hours away to feel like you’ve escaped it all? Head to the state capital just about an hour away from Omaha to experience something somewhere between a staycation and a vacation. You could make your visit to Lincoln a simple day trip or a fun weekend getaway!

Distance From Omaha: About 1 Hour

Where Will We Stay?

If you opt to stay in Lincoln for the weekend, check out these affordable and unique Airbnb listings in Lincoln.

What Will We Do?

No matter how many times you’ve frequented Lincoln, it’s completely acceptable to act like a tourist in this popular city. Take a tour of the Nebraska State Capitol, admire art at the Sheldon Museum of Art, take the kids to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo or the Lincoln Children’s Museum or discover history by stopping by the Governor’s Mansion.

Whatever you do, make sure you take the time to stroll through the Historic Haymarket District, with plenty of shops and places to eat and drink. This area has an energetic atmosphere, as several University of Nebraska students frequent this historic area packed with restored 19th-century brick buildings. Don’t miss Bread & Cup, Gate 25 and The Flatwater when your hunger kicks in! Make sure you take a look at Lincoln Station, which was once a railway depot and today hosts a visitor center and restaurant. Between May and October, you’ll find the Haymarket District packed with vendors and shoppers during the daily farmers’ market from 8 a.m. to noon!

2. Des Moines, Iowa

Let’s not let Nebraska get all the attention with all this Lincoln day trip business. Council Bluffs residents can visit their state capital with a short drive as well! Des Moines is just about two hours east of Council Bluffs, making it the perfect travel distance for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Driving Distance From Omaha: About 2 Hours

Where Will We Stay?

For a less conventional stay in or around the city, check out these Airbnb listings in Des Moines!

What Will We Do?

There is so much to do in Des Moines — especially during the summer! Pack on the sunscreen and enjoy an adventurous roller coaster ride at Adventureland Park, watch race cars zoom by at the Iowa Speedway, get up close and personal with wildlife at the Blank Park Zoo, watch live horse races at Prairie Meadows or tour the Iowa State Capitol building.

One of our favorite ways to experience culture in Des Moines while enjoying the warmth of summer is with a live concert at Simon Estes Amphitheater. Nitefall on the River is an annual summer music series at the amphitheater featuring a wide variety of popular musicians and bands. Check out the upcoming schedule to see if a show falls during your trip to Des Moines, then purchase tickets in advance or at the door!

3. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

We’re keeping things diverse by offering cities in a variety of states. You may have not visited Sioux Falls, South Dakota before — even though it is only about 3 hours away from the Omaha area! If not, there’s a lot to do during your stay.

Distance From Omaha: About 3 Hours

Where Will We Stay?

Check out these unique Airbnb listings in Sioux Falls for a more personalized stay.

What Will We Do?

The kids will have a blast discovering new species at the Great Plains Zoo and admiring beautiful butterflies and fish at the Sertoma Butterfly House & Marine Cove. If this is an adult trip, you’ll enjoy tasting wine at the nearby Wilde Prairie Winery or sampling craft brews in town at Fernson Brewing Company. Take a stroll through downtown Sioux Falls to admire outdoor sculptures on display throughout the year thanks to SculptureWalk. Or splash around in the waters at Wild Water West, the largest water park in the state!

Speaking of water, visiting Falls Park is an absolute must-do during your stay in Sioux Falls. Residents of the city and surrounding areas regularly visit this namesake of the city, as there is so much to see and admission to the park is completely free! Admire the breathtaking waterfalls in this 123-acre park, dine at Falls Overlook Cafe, check out the various permanent sculptures throughout the park or take in history in a hands-on way with a visit to the seven-story Queen Bee Mill.

4. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City is a popular Midwest destination straddling the Kansas-Missouri state line, with a prominent presence in Missouri. There is so much in store in this city just a few hours away, no matter which side of the state line you’re on.

Driving Distance From Omaha: About 3 Hours

Where Will We Stay?

Get to know the locals by booking a stay at one of these Airbnb listings in Kansas City.

What Will We Do?

Go on a shopping spree at Country Club Plaza, Kansas City’s premier retail, dining, and entertainment destination. Enjoy summer to the fullest at either Worlds of Fun (an amusement park) or Oceans of Fun (a water park). Cheer on the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, or enjoy a performance under the stars at Starlight Theatre, an outdoor theatre presenting Broadway shows and concerts. Unwind with a craft beer at Boulevard Brewing Company, the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest.

Or visit the enormous Swope Park, the crown jewel of the Kansas City Parks system spanning 1,805 acres. In fact, it is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, featuring many of Kansas City’s finest attractions and attracting more than 2 million visitors each year. The park hosts the Kansas City Zoo, the Kansas City Community Gardens, a disc golf course, a pool, and much more!

5. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is another major Missouri city with lots going on. Spend a week in this city to experience it all — and to make the longer drive worth it!

Driving Distance From Omaha: About 6.5 Hours

Where Will We Stay?

Make yourself at home by checking out these Airbnb listings in St. Louis.

What Will We Do?

Take the kids to the St. Louis Zoo or a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium! If you’re kidless in the city, take a tour of Anheuser-Busch Brewery, founded in Kansas City in 1852. Visit Forest Park and explore this beautiful open space within the city, making sure you check the event calendar of The Muny, an outdoor musical amphitheater within the park.

And last but certainly not least, make sure you take a selfie with the famous Gateway Arch that is an iconic landmark of St. Louis. Or better yet, take a journey to the top of this gorgeous 630-foot-tall structure!

6. Chicago, Illinois

You may consider Chicago a plane ride away, but we are under the impression that any road trip under 10 hours is fair game. Set aside a week during your summer to make the trek to and from Chicago and enjoy all that this bustling city has to offer.

Distance From Omaha: About 7 Hours

Where Will We Stay?

Make this enormous city seem a bit smaller by staying at one of these Airbnb listings in Chicago!

What Will We Do?

What a loaded question. There is so much to do in Chicago that we don’t even know where to begin!

Watch the Cubs play at Wrigley Field, admire great works of art and escape the summer heat at the famous Art Institute of Chicago, and take a selfie in the reflection of the giant shiny orb downtown. Dine at the 95th-floor restaurant within the John Hancock Center or get a 360° view of the city at the building’s 360 Chicago observation deck.

Visit Lincoln Park, Chicago’s largest park, encompassing 1,208 acres of land along the lakefront of the city’s north side, facing Lake Michigan. Within this vast space, you’ll find the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Zoo, several sporting facilities, public beaches, landscaped gardens, public art exhibits, a nature museum, a famous lily pool and more!

Happy Road Tripping!

Let us know where your packed Suburban is headed this summer! We’d love to know what road trip destinations are in your future.

Jul 7, 2016 Communities
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