The Homestead National Monument of America, near the town of Beatrice, Nebraska, is a symbol of America's race to cultivate and develop its untamed frontier and how many people were granted land titles as a result. The race was made official by the passing of the Homestead Act of 1862, allowing any person over the age of 21 to apply for a land grant. This included freed slaves, women, immigrants, and anyone else who desired to accept the challenge. The movement was supported by President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the bill into law for another reason; in addition to expanding agriculture, commerce, and industry, he saw the bill as a chance to populate the west with Union supporters.
Today the park is not only a monument but an attempt to restore the tallgrass prairie and woodlands that have almost completely been decimated by urban development. The park has a water source, Cub Creek, that flows through the property, bringing the needed liquid to the restored plants that require it in great amounts. Rent a motorhome near Homestead National Monument of America, and you will be perfectly situated to tour the monument.
Just like the homesteaders who are celebrated by the monument, hiking through the landscape can help you to experience what they felt as they made their way west. The tallgrass prairie that has been restored here is a rare example of the vegetation that once blanketed the state (and other states). As you proceed, you'll leave the prairie to find yourself out of the hot sun, shaded by the tree stands that line Cub Creek; the first settlers were probably amazed at the diversity of the land but also inspired by the resources that were naturally available for the taking.
Another attraction you'll want to visit here is the monument's Quilt Trail, a visual depiction of the importance that quilts and quilting achieved as a result of the westward migration. The quilts were created as part of the settlers' preparations for moving west; many of the finished quilts were brought as treasures while some were relegated to daily use. The designs were often a reflection of the settlers' culture, and these patterns can be seen as you view the Quilt Trail.
If you have kids in tow (or even if you don't), you should check out the monument's EarthCaching activity. It's similar to geocaching, with the exception that you don't take anything away or leave anything behind. You are given a challenge, to locate a specific geological item by following clues, and then recording your thoughts and ideas once you've found it (the on-site staff can provide more information on what to do and what to look for).
Camping near Homestead National Monument of America
Search for an RV in Gage County, and your Homestead National Monument camping trip will be off and running. There aren't any camping facilities within the monument area, but you can find a multitude to choose from within the vicinity. Oak Aven Acres is one option for camping with an RV near Homestead National Monument of America. Just a few minutes' drive away from the monument, it has drive-through sites with full hookups, a playground, and a picnic area. The campground is surrounded by a large stand of trees that guarantee the quiet you're looking for.
Camping at Chautauqua Park Campground with a Beatrice motorhome rental doesn't require any advance preparations; this friendly RV park is first-come, first-serve, with no reservations required. It has a trail where you can enjoy hiking or biking, a duck pond, tennis courts, a disc golf course, and more. The individual sites all have full hookups, a grill, and access to a restroom and shower facility.
Exploring the Area
When you book an RV rental near Homestead National Monument, you'll be in proximity to some local towns and cities that might also prove interesting to see. The town of Fairbury has several museums that complement its historical landmarks. One of those landmarks is the town's courthouse, built from limestone with a clock tower and bells that ring on the hour. The Rock Creek Station State Historical Park is another notable attraction where you can still see the wagon ruts created by the pioneers who passed through the area; it's also a nod to the Ponyback Express Riders who had a bunkhouse, which is still there.
Renting an RV near Homestead National Monument of America puts you just a stone's throw from the town of Wilber. This small but friendly community has a nightlife scene and a handful of restaurants, in case you need to revel a bit or just grab a bite to eat. You'll also find gas stations and grocery stores in case you need to top up your RV rental or stock up on supplies.