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Situated at the confluence of the Missouri and Platte Rivers, Omaha is an often-overlooked tourist destination. Due to its location in the Midwest and relatively low number of tourists, prices are much lower here than at more popular locales. This makes renting an RV in Omaha, NE, the perfect vacation opportunity, one that won’t break the bank but is sure to provide many wonderful memories.
Omaha is about an hour’s drive from the state capital of Lincoln and about seven hours from Chicago. It sits along a busy transportation corridor connecting larger Midwestern cities and the West coast, and is also on the banks of one of the country’s most important rivers - the Missouri. Cross the river and you’ll be in the state of Iowa and in Omaha’s twin city, Council Bluffs.
The area’s public transportation network is relatively small, consisting of about two dozen bus routes in Omaha and Council Bluffs combined. Fortunately, your RV rental should have no trouble navigating Omaha’s scant traffic and wide streets.
Renting an RV in Omaha is a great option because, if for no other reason, you’ll have a multitude of RV parks to choose from. Many of them are quite close to town, and all have electrical and water hookups available. Haworth Park is probably one of the best bets, as it’s just 12 miles south of town, near the Missouri River. It’s about four miles from the nearest Walmart and truck stop, though, so consider stocking up on all your provisions before you get there. There’s also Tomes Country Club Acres RV Park next to Lake Manawa, just fifteen minutes to the east of Omaha in Council Bluffs. A Walmart and the Metro Crossing Shopping Center, which includes dozens of name brand stores, are both only a couple of miles away.
If you don’t mind staying a little farther from town, Merritt Beach RV Park is twenty minutes from downtown and just a short walk from the Platte River. Additionally, a half-hour southeast of the city is the Walnut Creek Recreation Area, which has 44 RV spaces, an off-leash dog park, miles of trails, and views of the beautiful Walnut Creek Lake. There’s also the West Omaha/Northeast Lincoln KOA Campground, 25 minutes from town and halfway between Omaha and Lincoln. It’s a bit more expensive, but the facilities are very modern, and it’s just a few minutes from a truck stop on Interstate 80.
If Omaha isn’t on your bucket list right now, that just means you haven’t looked at it closely enough. This medium-sized Midwestern town has more going on than you might expect, most likely due to the presence of 15,000 students at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The first place you’ll want to check out is the Old Market district, an area popular for its cobblestone sidewalks, boutique shops, independent coffee shops, and delicious restaurants. Festivals and farmers markets also take place here during the summer.
The popular Joslyn Art Museum is also located in the Old Market area and features some great pieces of 19th-and 20th-century European and American Art, even an original Monet. Admission is free too, so it’s perfect for the traveler on a budget.
Just a few miles south of the Old Market area is the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which has over 950 species of animals and hosts the largest nocturnal creature show in the world.
If you book an RV in Omaha during June, you won’t want to miss the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. The NCAA baseball championship competition is held in Omaha every year and features 64 teams from around the country.
A road trip through the Midwest wouldn’t be complete without visiting some unusual attractions, and that means one of Omaha’s must-sees is Durham Museum, a hodgepodge of exhibits featuring important moments in American history. If you’ve ever played the early computer game, Oregon Trail, you’ll love the museum’s American Adventure exhibit, which lets visitors role-play American colonists in Jamestown and face the same challenges of hunger, disease (someone in your party will undoubtedly get dysentery), and struggling to adapt to a new country. The museum is a great place for kids to learn some history while having a fun time, too.
Like a few other states in the Midwest, Nebraska has a reputation for being nothing but cornfields. Fortunately, that stereotype is misplaced, and there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature. The most popular spot in Omaha is Chalco Hills Recreation Area, 12 miles west of the downtown area. The park has seven miles of trails for running, biking, or just strolling along, as well as several covered picnic areas if you’d like to have an al-fresco lunch. If you’re keen to do some fishing, Wehrspann Lake is the centerpiece of the park and is regularly stocked with walleye, bass, and catfish. Just be sure to pick up a fishing license at one of the nearby sporting goods stores first.
Golf fans will be pleased to find that there are almost two dozen courses in the Omaha area; Indian Creek is one of the best and has hosted a few PGA events recently. Or if you’re more into watersports, check out kayak, canoe or paddleboard tours in the waterways around Omaha, including breathtaking sunrise and sunset options.