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Visiting Northwest Nebraska (State #49/50)

Welcome to state #49… Nebraska! I recently roadtripped through the Dakotas with my Dad for a week, and in an effort to finish my #50stateschallenge, we stopped in northwest Nebraska. This blog post is going to cover the city of Chadron and what to see in northwest Nebraska. Whether you’re local to the area, passing through on a road trip, or on a quest to visit all 50 states yourself, I hope you find this short but thorough blog post to be insightful!

visiting northwest Nebraska

Why you should visit northwest Nebraska

Visiting all 50 states requires a lot of strategy… and a lot of road trips! I often crossed a few states off at a time on trips, planning them out strategically by region. I always knew I would save the Dakotas for last, so I could join the Best For Last Club in North Dakota. Since Nebraska lies just south of South Dakota, this ended up being one of my last states too.

If you’re hoping to cross Nebraska off the list, I recommend visiting from the Rapid City area in South Dakota. There are numerous cities located in northwest Nebraska, with the largest being Chadron. When I did my 50 states challenge, I identified this city as being the one we’d visit for a day. It ended up being super cute!

Chadron is the first major city in northwest Nebraska over the SD border. It’s home to Chadron State College, a public university for 3,000 students in the area, Chadron State Park, and a sweet little downtown.

What to do in Chadron, Nebraska

I recommend beginning your visit at the Visitors Center in Chadron. The employees here, who worked for the Northwest Nebraska Tourism Board, were extremely friendly and helpful. They were so thrilled to hear about my #50stateschallenge and how we journeyed all the way from New England to visit their town.

northwest Nebraska

Downtown Chadron, Nebraska

From here, head to Bean Broker downtown for coffee and lunch. This cafe and pub is an old bank that now serves the city. It’s historic, has amazing food, and a friendly staff. It’s a restaurant and bar, but also offers live music / events, and even a co-working space. 

visiting northwest Nebraska

Chadron in northwest Nebraska

Right across the street from this restaurant is Chadron’s Art Alley. Check it out for some cool murals that represent the Cornhusker State. There’s a few shops and old theater in this area too.

Chadron in northwest Nebraska

Chadron State Park

We didn’t have time to visit Chadron State Park, which is located about 10 miles from the main downtown. This state park is Nebraska’s first state park and is known for its location in the Pine Ridge. Recreational activities here include archery, biking, camping, hiking, and fishing. You can even enjoy guided trail rides on horseback!

Chadron State College

If you’re looking for a short nature walk but don’t want to make the drive to and from the state park, head to Chadron State College, which is located right downtown for the 3 mile Heritage Trail. This trail was recommended to us by the tourism board and loops around the hills on the backside of the college campus. It was a nice way to enjoy the scenery and nice weather in the area.

northwest Nebraska

Chadron is also known for the Museum of the Fur Trade in northwest Nebraska, although we didn’t have a chance to visit here either. There is a lot more to see in northwest Nebraska, especially the national grasslands that surround the area, but those are the highlights! Maybe I’ll make it to the east one day to visit the capitol Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city.

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visiting northwest Nebraska


  1. Sylvia
    June 2, 2024 / 12:19 AM

    This is perfect! I’m trying to hit all 50 states by the time I turn 50 in a few months. I still need South Dakota and Nebraska and was trying to figure out what to do in Nebraska coming from Rapid City.
    Thanks so much!

  2. June 2, 2024 / 4:36 PM

    Good for you! So happy to help!

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