Overnight Trip to Ponca State Park
Need to unplug? Rent a cabin at Ponca State Park. This park is located in the Northeastern part of Nebraska, right on the Missouri River. These cabins are available mid April through mid November. The best part? Each cabin has a full kitchen and a COFFEE MAKER. I paid $196 for two nights in Cabin 10. You can reserve one here.
There's no wifi, unless you decide to stay in one of their conference center cabins, which sleeps 8. These range around $189 during October. To check for price ranges in a different season and availability click here.
The interior of my cabin was far more than I expected. The pictures on their site looked nice and cozy. Then I got there and was blown awayyy. The quilt on my bed was the cutest thing. The kitchen looked straight out of an Airbnb cabin. It was the perfect little place to unplug from city life.
4pm: Check-in and unpack
5pm: Plan a campfire meal
If you haven't bought groceries yet, head back into Ponca and stop in at B and S Trading Post. This is by far the cutest and cleanest grocery store I've ever seen for a tiny town of a 1,000.
6pm: Cook and eat supper
We had seasoned vegetables, biscuits and gravy, and the sunflower crunch salad mix by Dole. (AKA packed with the best salad dressing you'll ever try.)
7pm: Head to Towers of Time for the sunset
This was the best spot I could find in the park for sunset watching.
7:30pm Walk one of their trails or stop at their two lookouts
7am: Sunrise at Riverfront Campground
Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend a sunrise here because I slept so hard the first night and left at 4am the second. Although, I did get to spend hours at the Riverfront writing with this beautiful view.
I opened the hatch of my car and played Spotify's "Autumn Acoustic" playlist. It was so nice to feel the sun on my face and fill up pages in my journal. I can't express how refreshing this was, especially when my phone died and the river became my music.
I left at 4am, but I can imagine now the assortment you could create with a campfire. Eggs. Bacon. Potatoes. Even pancakes! Need to plan another camping trip already.
9:30am: Try another trail, drive the Loess Hill Loop, or visit their gift shop/education center
If I ever go back, I am definitely buying one of their crewnecks at the gift shop. Simple logo. Cozy fabric. $20.
10:30/11am: Pack up and check out
They have a drop box for keys if let's say you leave at 4am ;)
Sidenote: I know I promised an update on what I actually wore. This picture sums up what I threw on both mornings. The only difference was I wore a flannel the first day cause hey I was in a log cabin!
I only hit on a few things they have to do at this park, because of the short amount of time I spent there. Ponca also has horseback riding, an aquatic center, a shooting complex, and a golf course, along with other seasonal activities you can find here.
Click here to download the park map.
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*Have you ever stayed in a cabin alone? How did it go?
*What places have you found are relaxing to visit by yourself?
Solo traveling has become a very important part of my life. I’ve always loved to travel, and I’ve found that waiting for the right group to take along has only slowed me down.
Travel is rewarding not just for the experiences you’ll have in new places, but for all of the lessons you’ll learn along the way. Solo travel opens up your eyes in ways nothing else can, and as something of a seasoned pro at solo travel, I can speak first hand as to what adventuring by myself has taught me.
1. Some Things Don’t Matter as Much as You Think They Do
It’s great to be home sometimes, but unlike what the expression suggests, home isn’t always where the heart is. It’s nice to sleep in your own bed and be surrounded by your own stuff, and to have WiFi on your phone wherever you roam around your house.
In truth, it’s equally as nice to call a comfortable hammock your bed and get lost in a good book while you’re surrounded by nature. When you’re on the move and you’re seeing things for the first time, you’re having a much better time than you would be having sitting at home and watching Netflix.
You sacrifice some luxuries when you travel, but when it all comes down to it, most of those luxuries aren’t nearly as important as the time you’re having away from them. It’s easy to survive without all of your material things.
Here is great Ted talk about that ☺
2. It’s Great to Be Alone Sometimes
Arthur Schopenhauer once said “we forfeit three-quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people.” Whether you realize it or not, it’s true. I was surprised to discover who I was when I was truly alone. When there’s only one voice to hear, it’s easy to learn the difference between what your gut is telling you and what’s just the influence of the other people around you.
It’s easy to figure out what you really want in life. When you’re hiking trails or walking to get breakfast, you have the peace and solitude to think about the things you really need to think about.
What kind of career do you really want? Where do you want to be ten years from now? When I travel, I enjoy my downtime soul searching and actually finding answers. It’s made my life at home much better.
3. Being Capable and Resourceful Isn’t Always Difficult
Sometimes traveling with others makes travel seem less difficult. What if you reach a snag in your plans, or you have to solve a difficult issue? When you travel solo, you don’t have anyone you know around to help you.
For some people, this makes solo travel seem scary.
You’re losing the component of teamwork that you’re used to when you’re at work or with your housemates.
Solo travel taught me that I can do just about anything. The limitations aren’t as big as they appear. Sometimes, you’re put on the spot and you have to figure things out. You might get lost with a broken GPS – it can happen to anyone. You’ll learn to be more observant and clever. You’ll spot potential kinks in your plans and develop your own workarounds.
Developing a knack for solo travel can wake up the innovative parts of your brain. Nothing feels impossible once you prove to yourself that you can handle anything on your own. That’s the kind of skill that can get you promoted to CEO if you spend time working on it.
4. Solo Travel Isn’t as Dangerous as You Might Believe It Is
Thanks to horror movies, we’ve heard all sorts of scary stories about people who travel alone. In reality, it’s very rare that something terrible will happen to a solo traveler. You just need to use your brain the same way you’d use it at home. Anything that can happen to you while you’re away can also happen to you in your own neighborhood.
That’s not to say that you won’t encounter problems. I once had my wallet stolen while I was traveling solo, but that was just one of the dozens and dozens of trips I’ve taken. All you need to do is keep your wits about you and know the local emergency numbers. It’s not much different from adventuring close to home.
5. There’s So Much About the World That You Don’t Know
It’s easy to look at pictures of landmarks and decide to visit places. When you go, you take your pictures and move on to the next stop. When you’re solo traveling, you aren’t distracted.
You’re more likely to actually learn about the things that you’re visiting. When you need someone to talk to, the locals are always there. You’ll get a brief glimpse into what their actual life is like, and you’ll come home really knowing a thing or two about the place you went.
I enjoy talking to locals wherever I go. It’s hard to make friends with people who you’re traveling past, but the short conversations you’ll have are always great. You know what living in a place is actually like – you don’t have to settle for a couple snapshots and the information you found in an old travel brochure. You’ll really know.
The Major Takeaways
There are a few small things above everything else that I’ve come to appreciate about the art of solo travel. Some lessons can easily be shrunk down to a fortune cookie size.
General Safety Tips
Solo traveling safely isn’t always difficult, but it’s important to remember some core things before you get the show on the road.
I think guest posts are very important. It gives you a chance to cheer for someone else and give your viewers a different taste of what you find helpful. Every individual has a pot full of wisdom and as bloggers we have a special opportunity to share that knowledge.
A special thanks to Independent Wolf for writing this. You rock.
*What places have you solo traveled to?
*For bloggers: What is your opinion on guest posting?
Travel bucket list:
Countries visited: 5