Nebraska is often overlooked as a vacation destination, but the state has plenty of activities to keep you busy. There are bustling cities with historical districts to explore, as well as a surprising number of natural attractions. The state was key to westward expansion, and residents remain proud of their contributions to the pioneers and homesteaders that settled in the area before moving west. Today, you can see Nebraska as they saw it back then, with hints of its ancient history and the exciting future that lies ahead.

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01Chimney Rock

For pioneers heading west to Oregon and California, Chimney Rock was one of the most recognizable landmarks along the way. It quickly became a symbol of westward expansion. This natural rock formation features a center spire rising 325 feet upward and an imposing conical base that's impossible to miss. The formation dates as far back at least 23 million years. Today, it looks just as it did when settlers passed through in the 1840s.

Chimney Rock Historic Site zrfphoto / Getty Images