Lake McConaughy

Discover The Best Things To Do In Ogallala NE In 2024

Things to Do In Ogallala NE

Looking for fun in small towns sometimes feels like searching for a needle in a haystack, right? Well, we’ve been there too, scratching our heads and wandering around. But when we took a closer look at Ogallala, NE, it was like uncovering hidden treasures.

Our guide is here to lead you through the best of what this charming place has to offer – from the endless sandy beaches of Lake McConaughy to the rich stories waiting at Boot Hill Cemetery.

Adventure is just around the corner!

Key Takeaways

  • Ogallala is home to Lake McConaughy, Nebraska’s biggest water body with over 100 miles of shoreline. Tourists love boating, fishing, and camping here.
  • The town has a rich history displayed at attractions like the Mansion on the Hill and Boot Hill Cemetery. Visitors step back in time to learn about Ogallala’s past.
  • Petrified Wood Gallery offers free admission to see petrified wood, gems, fossils, and Native American artifacts. It’s a must-visit for those interested in natural history.
  • Front Street brings the Old West back to life with its Steakhouse & Crystal Palace Saloon and Cowboy Museum. It’s perfect for history enthusiasts.
  • Local dining shines with options from Front Street Steakhouse to Prairie Patch Brewing Company, offering something delicious for every palate.

Overview of Ogallala, NE

Things to Do In Ogallala NE - A photo of the historic Front Street in Ogallala, NE at sunset, showcasing the bustling cityscape.

Ogallala, NE boasts a rich history and an array of attractions, making it a popular stop for travelers along I-80. The town is home to educational sites, specialty museums, historical attractions, bodies of water, and theater and performances.

History and attractions

We know Ogallala, NE, has a rich past that draws travelers and history buffs alike. Founded by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1867, this town became a beacon for settlers between 1882-1884.

They were lured by promises of low land prices. Its roots are deeply intertwined with tales of floaters, gamblers, tradespeople, and dance hall hostesses who used to fill the streets during the summer months.

This vibrant mix gave Ogallala its unique character.

Attractions in Ogallala don’t just tell its history; they invite visitors to step back in time. Front Street recreates the Old West with historical accuracy that entertains as it educates.

The Mansion on the Hill stands as a testament to Victorian elegance and architectural ingenuity from another era. For those fascinated by natural beauty turned artifact, the Petrified Wood Gallery showcases ancient woods transformed into stunning stone displays over millions of years—each piece telling its own story of time passed.

Popular stops for travelers along I-80

Travelers along I-80 often stop at Ogallala. They find it a great place to stretch their legs and explore. The Front Street Steakhouse & Crystal Palace Saloon draws visitors with its charm and history.

It’s not just about food; it’s stepping back in time. Another favorite is the Ogallala / I-80 KOA Journey, perfect for those who bring their home on wheels or want a cozy cabin stay.

We also hear a lot about the Petrified Wood Gallery. People love this spot for its unique displays of ancient wood turned stone, telling stories millions of years old. These stops are gems amid Nebraska’s vast plains, offering rest, fun, and learning to every traveler passing through.

Must-See Attractions in Ogallala

Explore Ogallala’s captivating attractions:

– Discover Lake McConaughy’s pristine waters and sandy beaches.

– Immerse yourself in the fascinating displays at Petrified Wood Gallery.

– Step back in time at Mansion on the Hill with its rich historical significance.

Lake McConaughy

Lake McConaughy stands out as Nebraska’s greatest water body, boasting over 100 miles of shoreline and more than 30,000 acres of aquatic expanse. We find this spot a haven for those who love the outdoors.

It holds an impressive rating with tourists giving it a 4.5 out of 5 based on nearly two hundred reviews. Here, we enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, and even wind-surfing across its vast waters.

The lake is not just about water sports; camping along the scenic shoreline attracts families and adventurers alike.

The appeal of Lake McConaughy also lies in its capacity to welcome visitors seeking tranquility away from busy city life. Can you imagine setting up camp under the stars or catching the first light of dawn on water? That’s part of what makes Lake McConaughy a must-visit destination for us and many others exploring Ogallala’s natural beauty.

Petrified Wood Gallery

The Petrified Wood Gallery, a top-rated spot on Tripadvisor, displays petrified wood, gems, fossils, and Native American artifacts. Admission is free. Prepare to be amazed by this educational site that comes highly recommended by travelers like us.

Mansion on the Hill

The Mansion on the Hill, completed in 1887, showcases authentic Victorian style. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it was Ogallala’s premier residence at its completion.

The attraction has received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from 24 Tripadvisor reviewers.

This historical gem appeals to visitors interested in exploring authentic Victorian architecture and gaining insights into Ogallala’s past. With its rich history and architectural significance, the Mansion on the Hill provides an engaging experience for those seeking local history and timeless elegance during their visit to Ogallala, NE.

Boot Hill Cemetery

Boot Hill Cemetery in Ogallala, NE was abandoned in early 1885. Efforts were made to clean up the hill, plant trees, and install new wooden markers. There are two entrances with one having stairs and another providing handicap ramp access.

The cemetery provides a glimpse into the history of Ogallala and offers an opportunity to understand the area’s past. It stands as a testament to the town’s heritage and is worth exploring during your visit for a unique historical perspective.

Front Street

Front Street, located on Highway 30, offers a journey back in time to the Old West. Here, we find the Front Street Steakhouse and Crystal Palace Revue. The Cowboy Museum at Front Street is backed by the Nebraska Humanities.

The Crystal Palace Revue features vocal and instrumental music, as well as humor and wit.

The attractions at Front Street are an essential part of Ogallala’s historical context and provide a unique experience for history enthusiasts. If you’re keen on exploring quieter towns with historical significance, dedicating some time to Front Street is definitely worth it!

Ogallala: A Gem Among the Best Small Towns in Nebraska

Ogallala stands out as a gem among the best small towns in Nebraska. Lake McConaughy, ranked number two in the state for tourism, and Lake Ogallala are top destinations – offering a serene escape for those seeking natural beauty.

Nestled amidst historical significance, this town of rich cowboy heritage is an experience brimming with local charm and warm hospitality.

The town’s treasures include Petrified Wood Gallery, Mansion on the Hill, Boot Hill Cemetery, and Front Street – all telling compelling stories of its vibrant past. Additionally, ogling at High Plains Aquifer (the largest underground water system in North America), or partaking in recreational activities at Crandall Creek Golf Club adds further substance to your visit.

Ogallala indeed captivates visitors with its blend of history, culture, and scenic allure that truly embodies the essence of a quintessential American heartland town.

Outdoor Activities and Local Dining Options

Explore the scenic wonders at Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area offering boating, fishing, and hiking experiences. Indulge in a delightful culinary journey through local restaurants and breweries nestled across Ogallala.

Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area

Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area offers numerous electric and non-electric camping sites for a peaceful retreat. The area is renowned for its fishing, camping, and boating activities at the tranquil Lake Ogallala.

With well-spaced campsites adorned by mature trees, it’s an idyllic setting to unwind. During peak seasons, securing reservations in advance is crucial due to high demand.

Visitors can enjoy diverse recreational opportunities such as hiking trails, bird watching spots, picnic areas alongside the picturesque lakefront. It’s an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts seeking a serene escape amidst beautiful natural surroundings.

Goodall Recreation Center

The Goodall Recreation Center, nestled in the heart of Ogallala, offers an array of revitalizing activities. With its indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna, it’s a haven for relaxation seekers.

The center boasts a track and weightlifting machines tailored for fitness enthusiasts. Not only that, but there are also outdoor amenities including tennis courts and sports complexes available to members.

If you’re seeking more than just a place to exercise – look no further!

Local restaurants and breweries

When in Ogallala, NE, don’t miss out on the diverse dining and brewery scene. Here are some fantastic options to savor:

  1. Front Street Steakhouse – Enjoy a classic steakhouse experience with an extensive wine list in a historic setting.
  2. Open Range Grill – Relish delicious comfort food, including burgers and sandwiches, in a casual and friendly atmosphere.
  3. Driftwood – Indulge in mouth-watering seafood dishes while taking in picturesque views of Lake McConaughy.
  4. Ogallala’s Own Brewery – Sample locally brewed craft beers made with passion and attention to detail.
  5. Prairie Patch Brewing Company – Discover a variety of handcrafted brews influenced by local flavors and traditions.

Each dining spot offers unique flavors and ambiance that promise an enjoyable culinary experience during your visit to Ogallala.

Planning Your Trip to Ogallala

When to visit Ogallala: Discover the best times for your trip. Find accommodations, and get expert tips for exploring this small town gem bursting with attractions! Ready to embark on an adventure?

Best times to visit

The cheapest time to visit Ogallala is from December to February, when hotels offer the best deals. During June to August, hotel prices peak due to increased tourist activity. For personalized itineraries and essential information about attractions, the “Plan Your Trip” section provides valuable insights for a well-planned visit.


Ogallala has various types of accommodation options, including hotels, motels, and campgrounds. The amenities range from pet-friendly facilities to those with pools. Notable places to stay include AmericInn by Wyndham Ogallala, Super 8 by Wyndham Ogallala, and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ogallala.

Prices for accommodations vary based on your preferences.

If you want a place that welcomes pets or prefer taking a dip in the pool during your stay, you’ve got plenty of options here in Ogallala.

Tips for exploring Ogallala

Here are some tips to make the most of your visit to Ogallala:

  1. Plan your trip between December and February for affordable hotel rates.
  2. Enjoy outdoor activities at Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area and Goodall Recreation Center.
  3. Explore local dining options, including unique restaurants and breweries.
  4. Venture out to Lake McConaughy, Petrified Wood Gallery, Mansion on the Hill, Boot Hill Cemetery, and Front Street.
  5. Consider staying in recommended accommodations such as AmericInn by Wyndham Ogallala, Super 8 by Wyndham Ogallala, or Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ogallala for a comfortable stay during your visit.

Enjoy exploring Ogallala’s attractions and activities!

Things to Do In Ogallala NE Conclusion

So, that’s the scoop on the best things to do in Ogallala, NE! From exploring Lake McConaughy and checking out the Petrified Wood Gallery to taking a trip back in time at Mansion on the Hill and Boot Hill Cemetery, there’s something here for everyone.

Whether you’re into outdoor adventures like boating and fishing or keen to savor local dining spots, Ogallala has it all. We’ve covered must-see attractions, outdoor activities, accommodations, and tips for your trip – making it easy for you to plan an awesome visit! So grab your itinerary; we can’t wait for you to experience this gem of a town in 2024.

Things to Do In Ogallala NE FAQs

1. What are some must-see places in Ogallala NE?

In Ogallala, we can’t skip the speciality museums and history museums. They’re like treasure chests, full of stories from the past. And then there’s Kingsley Dam – it’s not just a dam but a piece of engineering art that tells its own story.

2. Is there anything fun to do for those who love being active?

Absolutely! For us who enjoy a bit of action, hitting the golf courses or spending an evening at the bowling alleys offers both fun and challenge. It’s great for families or friends looking to have a good time together.

3. Can you recommend any unique entertainment options in Ogallala?

For something different, why not check out theater & performances? These events bring stories to life right before our eyes… It’s like stepping into another world for a few hours – truly magical.

4. Are these activities suitable for all ages?

Yes, they are! Whether it’s exploring museums, playing golf, bowling, or enjoying a show at the theater – there’s something in Ogallala NE for everyone in 2024.

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