Road Trip Guide - Page 33 - Noteworthy nature

Road Trip Guide
- Page 33
Noteworthy nature
Nebraska’s northern Sandhills offer sublime getaway

By Myscha Theriault
Tribune News Service

With two wildlife refuges, a national forest and deep lake fishing access at Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, Nebraska’s northern Sandhills region certainly isn’t short on access to Mother Nature. Factor in a big sky horizon boasting some of the darkest stargazing skies the country has to offer, a scenic birding byway for road trippers and a stunning three-course golf club, and one begins to see this area of the United States is a tempting destination for travelers looking to get off the beaten track.

Then of course, there’s the Niobrara. A national scenic river with banks that are home to six separate ecosystems, incredible wildlife diversity and more than 180 waterfalls, it provides additional access to water activities for visitors looking to beat the last of the summer heat. A reasonable driving distance for travelers flying into Omaha and a short road trip from South Dakota, this nature getaway might be just the last-minute vacation surprise you’ve been looking for.

From cool coffee shops to curated experiences, here are my top tips for experiencing the area.

Access: When planning your stay in the area, the town of Valentine is your best bet for base camp. With local municipal airport