As anyone who lives in Nebraska surely knows, there are many benefits to calling this state home. One of which: Thanks to its central location, you can road trip to nearly anywhere in the country within one or two days of home—including some of this nation’s greatest gems, the national parks.
If you want to pack up and roll out this year, here are a few national park destinations to consider.
Rocky Mountain National Park
8 hours from Lincoln: Just beyond Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is a majestic welcome to the Rocky Mountains. Featuring everything from an extreme 14,000-ft. mountain that should only be hiked with serious preparation to family-friendly trails or fishing spots, RMNP is iconic for a reason.
Badlands National Park
7 hours from Lincoln: Located in South Dakota, Badlands National Park is known for its dramatic rock formations, beautiful views and roaming wildlife. From there, it is just over one hour to Mount Rushmore National Monument.
Yellowstone National Park
13 hours from Lincoln: The very first national park, Yellowstone is a good drive from Lincoln—but well worth every mile it takes to get there. From geysers to waterfalls and opportunities to spot majestic wildlife, you could spend more than one week here and still barely scratch the surface of all it has to offer.
Hot Springs National Park
10 hours from Lincoln: Down in Arkansas, Hot Springs National Park has been federally protected land since 1832. Surrounded by shops and other attractions, Hot Springs National Park itself allows for soaking in two designated bathhouses or hiking by 47 thermal springs on 30 miles of trails.
Gateway Arch National Park
7 hours from Lincoln: Located in St. Louis, the famous “Arch” is a tribute to the westward expansion of the United States. Today, visitors can explore the new museum, learn about the Dred Scott trial in the “Old Courthouse” and view the city from the top of the Arch.
Arches National Park
13 hours from Lincoln: Arches National Park in Utah is home to a very different kind of arch—or, rather, 2,000 windblown, sandstone arches. With plentiful sightseeing opportunities both within Arches or nearby Moab, it is also a great launching pad to visiting any of Utah’s four other national parks.