Jul 10, 2020 Communities

8 Amazing Scenic Drives Around Omaha, Nebraska

While restrictions are loosening in the Omaha area a bit, getting back to normal life isn’t really possible right now. So when you’re in the mood for a little adventure, a short road trip could be the perfect activity.

To give you some ideas, we rounded up some of our favorite local scenic drives—that range from 10 minutes from home to an hour and a half. Just keep in mind that many nearby attractions may be temporarily closed. And if you decide to take a walk or get outside of your vehicle, please remember to avoid crowded areas, to wear a mask or facial covering, and to maintain a six-foot distance from others.

Nevertheless, these amazing drives all around Nebraska and Iowa are sure to satisfy your sense of adventure—and keep you safe while you’re at it. Have fun!

For each drive, we’ve included driving time to the start of the road from downtown Omaha and how long the drive will be once you get there. For a visual, just click on the header above each listing for a Google Map.

Nebraska City

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 5 Minutes

Approximate Drive Length, One Way: 40 Minutes

Nebraska City, the home of Arbor Day, is a stunning spot to visit when you’re looking to get away from it all. But it isn’t just the city that is beautiful—the drive from Omaha is pretty spectacular as well! From downtown Omaha, head south on US 75. The entire route will take you about 40 minutes and offers peaceful country views. So start blaring your favorite tunes and head out! When you get there, take an hour or two to drive around the city and the countryside surrounding it — after all, you don’t want to miss any of those glorious trees.


Loess Hills Scenic Byway

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 10 Minutes

Approximate Drive Length, One Way: 3 Hours & 15 Minutes

Situated along the Iowa-Nebraska border, the Loess Hills Scenic Byway passes through a unique land formation that sprawls up to 15 miles wide and about 200 miles long from the north of Sioux City, IA to St. Joseph, Missouri. That unique land formation? The Loess Hills! Unusually created from almost entirely windblown soils, they are a natural wonder that attract thousands of people to Iowa every year. And here in Omaha, we’re only a few minutes away from it! So the next time you’re feeling adventurous, head east towards Council Bluffs, hop on the Loess Hills Scenic Byway and travel north towards Sioux City. Along the way, you’ll experience all of the wonders the Loess Hills has to offer, including a few interesting stops along the way from nature centers to farm stands.


Ponca Hills

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 20 Minutes

Approximate Drive Length, Loop: 30 Minutes

Located on the area abutting the Missouri River just north of I-680 is the beautiful Ponca Hills community. This lush neighborhood stretches west to Highway 75 and north to the Douglas/Washington County line and is mostly hilly terrain with a blend of wilderness, parks, agriculture and family home sites. While it’s a great place to live, it’s also a wonderful spot to just go and drive around for a while. We’ve created our own little scenic tour of the neighborhood so check out our map, which features a 13-mile loop around the area, passing the Neal Woods Nature Center, Hummel Park, Ponca Hills Farm and more.


NE Highway 31

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 25 Minutes

Approximate Drive Length, One Way: 15 Minutes

If you’re looking for a quick jaunt outside of Omaha, head west towards Elkhorn. From there, hop on NE Highway 31 for a short, beautiful drive through the countryside complete with wide-open spaces and a bright blue sky. It may not be the most “scenic” drive around Omaha, but it is fun and full of opportunities to stop and smell the roses.


Lewis & Clark Scenic Historic Byway

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 25 Minutes

Approximate Drive Length, One Way: 1 Hour & 40 Minutes

Named after the famous explorers who traversed the Midwest in the early 1800s, the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway is an 82-mile route that begins just north of Omaha along U.S. Highway 75 and stretches to South Sioux City. The spectacular views of the Missouri River and beautiful forests make this the perfect scenic drive, any time of the year.


Mahoney State Park

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 30 Minutes

Drive Time Varies on Route Chosen

Located halfway between Omaha and Lincoln, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is a popular outdoorsy retreat for residents of both cities. While the park is well-known due to its water park and other summer attractions, there’s still plenty to see from the comfort of your car! The park is full of paved roads that go around lakes, through wooded areas and more. Click here for a map of the whole park and start planning your DIY drive-through safari!


Platte River State Park

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 35 Minutes

Drive Time Varies on Route Chosen

Situated halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, Platte River State Park is known for its magnificent waterfalls, scenic hiking and biking trails, and dual observation towers featuring incredible views of the Platte River Basin. You can explore the entire area by car just by taking advantage of all the paved roads throughout the area. We recommend packing a picnic lunch and setting up across from the Platte River to enjoy it—because trust us, you won’t want to miss a second of those views.


Indian Cave State Park

Driving Time from Downtown Omaha: About 1 Hour & 25 Minutes

Drive Time Varies on Route Chosen

Named for the impressive sandstone cave within the park, Indian Cave State Park spans more than 3,000 acres on the Missouri River. It has gained quite a reputation for its picturesque camping sites, as well as for the 22 miles of gorgeous hiking and biking trails! While this famous parkland is about a 90-minute drive from Omaha, it’s definitely worth it; the drive to and from the park is glorious and there’s plenty to see from your car throughout the park as well.


Have a good drive!

Did we miss your favorite scenic drive near Omaha? Let us know in the comments!

Jul 10, 2020 Communities
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