Ultimate Birding Experience
Come to see the incredible Sandhill Crane migration, and then stay to see the other unique birding opportunities and attractions in the North Platte area!
The Sandhill Crane migration can be viewed in North Platte each spring, beginning in mid-February and ending in early April. Please note, that while we have many tips and great location recommendations for viewing these birds, as well as excellent guided tours, these viewings are in nature and we can not guarantee where the birds will be at any given time.
Whether you have arrived in time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can't go wrong with a hearty meal from Capones. Fuel up on a homecooked meal before you start your birding adventure!
Going on an Evening River Blind Tour to view the Sandhill Cranes is the perfect way to begin. Meet at the North Platte Visitor Center where you will be picked up by Dusty Trails. This guided tour will take you to a viewing blind on the beautiful North Platte River, just northwest of North Platte. This is the perfect place to witness the majestic Sandhill Cranes as they come off of the feeding grounds and prepare to roost for the evening in the shallow waters of the river. Thousands of birds circle overhead for more than an hour each evening to maintain their strength and stamina for the journey ahead as they wait for the sun to set, allowing them to land in the darkness and safety of the night.
Kick off your day with another incredible sight- the Sandhill Crane Sunrise River Blind Tour! You'll meet at the North Platte Visitor Center again and Dusty Trails will be your guide as you embark on a journey before the sun has even risen. Once in the river blind you will find yourself as eager for the sunrise as the birds themselves. As the sun starts to come up and the sky fills with daylight, spectacular concentrations of Sandhill Cranes will awake and take off for another day of feeding and dancing.
Once you are back to town, you'll probably be ready for something to eat and you might even need a pick-me-up after your early morning. We recommend visiting the Espresso Shop. From specialty coffees, to your caffeinated favorites, they have it all. Plus breakfast items, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Sit down in their spacious dining area or grab a bite to go.
If you thought you had seen all that the Sandhill Cranes have to offer already, you would be mistaken. Next up is a Daytime Dancing Tour of the Sandhill Cranes. Dusty Trails will help guide you on this adventure as well, and the tour will begin with you loading the bus at the North Platte Visitors Center. The spectacular Dance of the Sandhill Crane is something that can’t be experienced in a viewing blind on the river, but the rural cornfields in the outskirts of North Platte are the perfect place to watch the birds dance up close and in full daylight.
After all of the exploring you've done, you might find yourself ready for dinner, and we've got a local favorite in mind where you can unwind and grab a bite! The Cedar Room offers Nebraska Certified Angus Beef, seafood, handhelds, and more. They also have house made cocktails from their master mixologist that are perfect to accompany any dish. Pay them a visit in the downtown Canteen District for a dinner you won't soon forget.
A guided Prairie Chicken Tour is next up! Once more, meet your guide Dusty Trails at the Visitors Center and get ready for an entirely new birding experience. Watching these birds is so unique and the show they put on is truly one of a kind. From their booming noises to their shuffling feet, you are in for a real treat. Along the way it is common to see other species of birds such as American White Pelicans, Trumpeter Swans, Bald Eagles, Waterfowl, and more.
If you're ready for some lunch, we recommend checking out Pals Brewing Company! This local brewery has great craft beer as well as specialty pizzas, cheese curds straight from Wisconsin, loaded nachos, and more.
If you're still itching to see more birds, now is great time to do some Self Guided Birding Drives! If you are ready to move on to some other great local attractions, we have you covered there as well!
- The Prairie Arts Center is an amazing local art gallery and their gift shop also has some fun Sandhill Crane items that can help you commemorate your trip.
- Another great place for souvenirs is Fort Cody Trading Post. They have a huge selection of local items, fun gifts, and quirky finds, as well as a miniature replica of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show made up of over 20,000 hand carved wooden pieces.
- If antiques are more your style, or if you just want a one-of-a-kind adventure, pay Grain Bin Antique Town a visit and check out over 20 historic grain bins and a massive barn that are connected by a boardwalk to form a huge and eclectic collection of antiques and primitives.
- Or maybe you're thinking it's time for a drink? In that case, Feather River Vineyard or the Old Depot Vineyard and Winery are perfect places to sip and sample some Nebraska vino. Or if beer is more your style, check out the local favorite Peg Leg Brewing.
- Also, no trip to North Platte would be complete without visiting the Golden Spike Tower! Here you get the best views of the world's largest classification railyard from eight stories high.