Discover The Best Activities In McCook, Nebraska

Things to Do In McCook Nebraska

Looking for fun activities in a small town can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. That’s exactly how we felt until we stumbled upon McCook, Nebraska. This place surprised us with its range of activities suitable for all ages! So, if you’re curious to uncover the best spots and hidden treasures this quaint town has to offer, stick around.

Key Takeaways

  • McCook, Nebraska is a hidden gem with activities for everyone including Red Willow State Recreation Area for outdoor adventures and Museum of the High Plains Historical Society to explore local history.
  • The town hosts annual events like the Buffalo Commons Storytelling and Music Festival and offers unique dining experiences at places such as Loop Brewing Company.
  • You can learn about American political history at Senator George Norris State Historic Site or enjoy art at McCook Art Guild. Plus, there are golfing opportunities on the scenic Heritage Hills Golf Course.
  • Outdoor fun includes exploring local dog parks and engaging in community spirit through events like Crazy Dayz and monthly Third Thursdays.
  • Planning your trip is easy with various accommodation options available and transportation by car or bus services like Express Arrow making McCook accessible.

Top Attractions and Activities in McCook

McCook offers a diverse range of attractions and activities, from the scenic beauty of Red Willow State Recreation Area to the intriguing exhibits at Museum of the High Plains Historical Society.

Whether exploring Senator George Norris State Historic Site or admiring artworks at McCook Art Guild, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant town.

Red Willow State Recreation Area

We love exploring Red Willow State Recreation Area because it’s huge—1,358 acres of outdoor fun waiting for us. With a rating of 4.5 out of 5, we know we’re in for a treat every time we visit.

From May 1 to October 31, we get to enjoy modern facilities that make camping under the stars a breeze. We need a park permit to enter, but it’s worth it for all the adventures inside.

Here, water activities like fishing, boating, and waterskiing are our favorites. The lake teems with life, making every cast exciting. For those who prefer land over water, there’s plenty to explore on foot or bike around the trails winding through the area—a perfect mix of excitement and relaxation by the swimming beach.

Museum of the High Plains Historical Society

We explore the Museum of the High Plains Historical Society, a treasure trove that holds the stories of McCook and southwest Nebraska’s past. This special place earns a 4.5 out of 5 rating for its fascinating exhibits, including one dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Harvey P.

Sutton house. The museum stands as a testament to the area’s rich history, inviting visitors to delve into tales of settlement and growth.

Art enthusiasts rejoice, as this venue also links to art galleries and an original Carnegie Library, showcasing not just local history but cultural richness too. Visitors get to see why this museum falls under the specialty museums category—each exhibit carefully curated to educate and inspire those walking through its doors.

Whether it’s exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural genius or uncovering local legends, we find every visit enlightens us more about McCook’s vibrant heritage.

Senator George Norris State Historic Site

Discover the Senator George Norris State Historic Site in McCook — a place dedicated to U.S. Senator George Norris. He lived here from 1902 until 1944 and played a key role in the Rural Electrification Act that changed America’s heartland.

This historic house offers free admission, allowing visitors a glimpse into the life of one of Nebraska’s most influential figures. Open Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in American history or political science.

Visitors learn about his significant contributions and imagine life during his time. Walking through the rooms where he once lived provides insight into his daily life and work that impacted many lives across rural America.

McCook Art Guild

The McCook Art Guild, part of the Association of Nebraska Art Clubs and founded in 1963 with about 50 members, is situated in a 100-year-old building. Rated 4.0 of 5 bubbles, this local gem provides galleries, workspaces, and art classes to nurture creativity and appreciation for art among visitors like us.

Heritage Hills Golf Course

Heritage Hills Golf Course offers a challenging 18-hole course, providing an exciting experience for golf enthusiasts. The front 9 holes are beginner-friendly, while the back 9 present advanced challenges.

Built on sand hills with dramatic elevation changes, the course boasts large greens with significant undulations that test your precision. Rated at a perfect 5 out of 5 bubbles, this historic and picturesque setting provides an exhilarating round of golf.

The cost for playing 18 holes with a cart is $50 as of July 30th, 2018. The intriguing layout invites you to navigate through its everchanging terrain – embracing both leisurely play and strategic shots.

If you seek more than just golfing alone, Heritage Hills offers tailored experiences suited for players from all realms – whether it’s groups enjoying the complexities of the game or individuals embarking on a solo first-hand experience amidst breathtaking Nebraska landscapes.

Outdoor Activities and Local Events

Things to Do In McCook Nebraska - A colorful array of kites flying high at a local annual kite festival in an open field.

Explore the lively dog park, savor local flavors at Loop Brewing Company, and immerse in the town’s vibrant annual events. Engage with McCook’s energetic outdoor scene and community spirit.

Dog park

McCook K9 Korner Dog Park is set to open on May 1st from 4-6 p.m. This new park can be found on the south side of Barnett Park and features two fenced-in areas for small and large dogs to play freely.

The park’s hours will be from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., allowing ample time for pooches and their owners to enjoy its facilities.

There’s also ongoing fundraising for additional features, ensuring it continues to grow as a top spot for our furry companions in McCook.

Loop Brewing Company

Loop Brewing Company, established in 2011 within a historic railroad icehouse, offers craft beer and brick oven pizza. With owners Tyler Loop and Kevin Cochran at the helm, it has earned a 4.1 rating based on 52 reviews.

This brewery boasts a diverse selection of craft beers and delectable food items in a relaxed setting, making it an ideal stop for those looking to savor handcrafted brews and sumptuous eats while exploring McCook.

In this ever-evolving realm of craft breweries, Loop Brewing Company stands out for its commitment to delivering quality experiences. So whether you’re intrigued by the history behind the brewery or simply seeking a laid-back spot to sample bespoke brews – look no further than Loop Brewing Company as you embark on your journey through McCook’s charming offerings.

Annual events

Explore annual events and small gatherings that enliven McCook throughout the year:

  1. 27th Annual Buffalo Commons Story Telling and Music Festival – A captivating event featuring storytelling and music that celebrates the heritage of the Great Plains.
  2. Crazy Dayz – An exciting local event with lively entertainment, vendors, and food, bringing together the community for a day of fun and festivity.
  3. Third Thursdays – Monthly art walks, live music, and special promotions in downtown McCook that offer a delightful experience for locals and visitors alike.
  4. Heritage Days – A weekend of historical reenactments, exhibits, and activities that provide insight into McCook’s past while offering enjoyment for all.

Discover Small Town Charms in Nebraska

Nestled in the heart of Nebraska, small towns like McCook offer an authentic and charming experience. The community-led downtown mural, along with Sehnerts Bakery‘s James Beard Award-winning delicacies, showcase a blend of history and culinary innovation unique to this region.

In addition to being named runner-up in America’s Best Small Towns 2023, McCook boasts the Buffalo Commons Storytelling and Music Festival in its 26th year! These aspects form a captivating tapestry steeped in heritage yet alive with creativity – providing us a firsthand insight into the ever-evolving world of small town culture.

From local eateries serving up delightful dishes to vibrant art scenes and engaging events, these facets paint a captivating picture that beckons exploration. This tailored experience brings forth an opportunity not only to enjoy but also appreciate the intricacies of small-town life while unraveling the secrets woven within these quaint streets.

Places to Eat and Drink

Savor local delicacies at the restaurants, unwind at breweries, and enjoy the cozy ambiance of bars and pubs. Stay tuned for more exciting finds!

Local restaurants

Looking for some great local restaurants in McCook? Here’s a list of our top picks:

  1. Mac’s Drive-In – Savor the classic American diner experience at this beloved spot known for its burgers, fries, and shakes.
  2. El Puerto Mexican Restaurant – Embark on a culinary journey through authentic Mexican flavors with an array of dishes featuring vegetarian-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Ready to tantalize your taste buds? Let’s dive into the diverse culinary realm of McCook!


When it comes to exploring McCook, we are thrilled to tell you about the local breweries. Loop Brewing Company has a solid 4.1 rating and Canyon Lakes Brewing isn’t far behind at 3.8.

Both spots are great for groups and offer military discounts – perfect if you’re traveling with friends or family members who have served in the armed forces.

At Loop Brewing Company, take note of its private lot parking – very convenient for those driving into town. If you head there, remember they accept credit cards and have TV facilities available too, making it an ideal spot to catch up on your favorite sports games while enjoying a cold one.

For more brewery experiences nearby, consider checking out Granby and Grand Lake in Colorado, as well as Honolulu in Hawaii – all offering their own unique beer scenes.

Bars and pubs

When exploring McCook, Nebraska, be sure to visit the local bars and pubs to experience the town’s relaxed ambiance and vibrant community. The Old Sarge’s Bar offers a cozy atmosphere with a solid 4.0 rating from patrons.

If you’re a fan of craft beer, don’t miss out on Loop Brewing Company housed in a historic building, offering an authentic taste of local brews amidst charming surroundings.

Our suite at Coppermill Steakhouse boasts the largest wine selection in Southwest Nebraska – perfect for wine enthusiasts looking to explore an extensive variety while savoring delicious meals.

Additionally, Lighthouse Marina & Grill provides stunning waterfront views that complement their offerings perfectly. Soak in the serene surroundings as you enjoy your time at this picturesque destination.

Plan Your Trip to McCook

Ready to plan your trip to McCook, Nebraska? Discover a range of accommodations, from cozy B&Bs to well-appointed hotels, that suit every traveler’s preferences and budget. Whether you’re driving or flying in, the town is easily accessible with various transportation options available.


When visiting McCook, Nebraska, comfortable accommodations await you. You can choose from a range of options such as Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, Horse Creek Inn, and Holiday Inn Express McCook.

Additionally, Quality Inn & Suites and Coratel Inn & Suites By Jasper McCook provide cozy stays for a relaxing experience after exploring the town’s attractions.


When considering transportation to McCook, Nebraska, we found that the most cost-effective way is by car, which can take around 4 hours and 56 minutes from Nebraska with an average cost of $55-$85.

The distance between these two routes spans approximately 322 miles. Additionally, bus services such as Express Arrow and Burlington Trailways are available for alternative travel options.

Other services available

Discover a range of other services in McCook to make your visit comfortable and convenient. Explore Longnecker Jewelry for expert service, The Kloset for affordable and well-arranged clothing, and Outlaws 1882 Saloon for a friendly atmosphere.

Things to Do In McCook Nebraska Conclusion

In conclusion, McCook, Nebraska offers an array of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the Red Willow State Recreation Area to delving into the intriguing exhibits at the Museum of the High Plains Historical Society, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re strolling through Senator George Norris State Historic Site or indulging in a round of golf at Heritage Hills Golf Course – this quaint town has it all. Plan your trip today and uncover the charm that McCook has to offer!

Things to Do In McCook Nebraska FAQs

1. What can I do in McCook, Nebraska?

You can visit the Heritage Hills Golf Course for a game of golf, explore the Museum of the High Plains, or enjoy a day at Kelley Park.

2. Is there a place for kids to have fun in McCook?

Yes, Kelley Park offers playgrounds and picnic areas that are perfect for families with children.

3. Can I learn about history in McCook?

Absolutely, the Museum of the High Plains is a great spot to dive into local history and culture.

4. Are there outdoor activities in McCook?

Yes, you can hike at Red Willow State Recreation Area or enjoy bird watching at Barnett Park.

5. Where can I relax in nature while visiting McCook?

Norris Park provides peaceful green spaces ideal for relaxation and leisurely strolls amidst nature.

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