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4 Best Restaurants and Eateries in Valentine, NE

Picture this: you’re planning your trip to Valentine, Nebraska.

You’ve already got your place to stay (The Niobrara Lodge). Now, you need to plan the second most important piece to any good trip… Where will you eat?!

Take it from the locals. Here are the four best eateries Valentine has to offer.



1. Peppermill Restaurant & Lounge

502 E Highway 20

“Much has changed since 1986, but our commitment to great Nebraska beef has not.”

When you eat at any steakhouse in Nebraska, you have to try one thing: the beef.

The Peppermill offers excellent steaks, burgers, and so much more. If beef isn’t your thing, try the Sand Hills Fried Fish or the Pal’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich.

With a down-to-earth feel and delicious food — and only minutes away from The Niobrara Lodge — the Peppermill is a must-try on your trip to Valentine.


2. Old Mill Bulk Food

329 E 1st Street

Started by a missionary family from Ohio, the Old Mill is an eat-in deli and pizzeria that also sells unique snacks and pantry staples. There’s even a bakery portion, home to famous cinnamon rolls and monster cookies.

The goal? To recreate something the family missed from home. The result? A one-stop shop that must be visited while in Valentine.

Bonus: The Old Mill is another walkable location from The Niobrara Lodge!

Follow the store’s Facebook page to see daily updates of what The Old Mill is cooking up in the kitchen.


3. Bulldoggers BBQ 

223 S Main Street

Summer = patio season, right? Bulldoggers has a great patio for you to enjoy a cold beverage and amazing BBQ.

Located just two minutes from The Niobrara Lodge, you’ll definitely want to stop in and grab a bite here.

From street tacos to pulled pork to a humongous rack of ribs, Bulldoggers has something fresh and hearty for you to try. (Don’t forget to try a side of potato salad or baked beans!)


4. CoachLight Cafe

302 N Main Street

If you’re looking for a home-cooked meal with lots of small-town love, the Coachlight Cafe is your place.

Located only four minutes from The Niobrara Lodge, this cafe is a delicious and enjoyable experience for your whole crew.

You can expect specials like chicken-fried steak, roast beef, grilled Reuben sandwiches, and amazing desserts, from rhubarb pie to cherry cheesecake.

Check out the Coachlight’s Facebook page for regular menu updates.



From Nebraska beef to cinnamon rolls, Valentine’s food scene doesn’t disappoint.

So once you’ve booked your stay at the The Niobrara Lodge, don’t wait to grab a bite at one of these local favorite restaurants!

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5 Summer Activities To Do In Valentine, NE

It’s every Midwesterner’s favorite time of year — summer.

Something about warm days and cool evenings makes people suddenly come alive again.

If you are looking for a unique and fun town to explore this summer, then look no further than Valentine, Nebraska, home of The Niobrara Lodge.

1. The Niobrara River

The scenic Niobrara River runs through Valentine and is one of Nebraska’s greatest rivers for a summer float.

From kayaking, canoeing, tubing, or even “tanking” (aka floating down the river in a giant stock tank, the Niobrara River (our hotel’s namesake) is one of the top rivers for entertainment in the Midwest.

Grab a favorite cold beverage and get out on the water this summer, you won’t regret it. 

By visiting the Visit Valentine website, you can decide where to rent your gear from as well as pricing. After a day on the river you can make your way back to The Niobrara Lodge to rest and catch a break from the sun!


  1. Smith Falls State Park

Did you know that Nebraska has waterfalls? 

One of the state’s best can be found near Valentine at Smith Falls! 

By visiting Smith Falls State Park, you can explore Nebraska’s highest waterfall at Smith Falls (the waterfalls 63 feet). 

The state park is just east of The Niobrara Lodge and has a 76-mile long stretch of scenic river. You have our full permission to go chase these waterfalls!

There are tons of options to hike, boat, fish, and canoe/kayak. Visit the Nebraska Game and Parks website for more information.


  1. Bolo Beer Co

Brewed in the heart of the Sandhills, Bolo is the brewery of choice in Valentine. The best part? It’s only a 2-minute walk from The Niobrara Lodge!

Whether your palate is a pilsner-style, IPA, wheat ale, or sour, “Chris the Brewer” has a beer on tap to fit your fancy.

While you’re visiting the taproom, don’t forget to check out Bolo’s awesome swag. How else will you show off your amazing trip to Valentine?

Their taproom is open Wednesday- Saturday from 4pm-10pm with varying events all summer long. Check out their Facebook page for the latest events. 


  1. Nebraska Star Party

    Merritt Reservoir July 24th-29th, 2022

Should the stars align for your trip to Valentine, you can witness this one-of-a-kind event in July.

One of the nations primer stargazing events is a must see in the Sandhills of Nebraska.

For five days both astronomers and curious spectators gather to view the impressive dark skies and experience the awe of space. 

The best part? You don’t even need a telescope! Just show up and you’ll be treated like an old friend.

Even if you travel here when the Nebraska Star Party is not meeting, the skies are darker here than just about anywhere in the continental U.S.  Simply walk outside at night and look up, the sky will capture you.

You can register online or do walk-in registration. Make sure to reserve your room at The Niobrara Lodge as space fills up fast for attendees of the Nebraska Star Party!   


  1. The Old Mill

Started by a missionary family from Ohio, this eat-in deli and pizzeria also sells unique snacks and pantry staples. 

The goal? To recreate something they missed from their home. The Result? A one stop shop that must be visited while in Valentine.

The bakery portion of the Old Mill is home to their famous cinnamon rolls and monster cookies. 

This is another walkable location from The Niobrara Lodge!

By following their Facebook page you can see daily updates of what The Old Mill is cooking up in the kitchen.

Nebraska, it’s not for everyone.

So whether you’re looking for a family friendly spot, a solo adventure, or a quick get away with friends, Valentine is a small town with big adventure!

Click here to book your Valentine getaway at The Niobrara Lodge now! We are close to everything Valentine has to offer.

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Our Commitment to Cleanliness

At the heart of the Niobrara Lodge is a genuine concern for our guests. Our primary commitment has always been to provide a safe and comfortable environment for Midwest travelers to tackle their next adventure.

We understand that the needs of our guests have significantly shifted since the start of the Covid-19 era, to which we have responded proactively.

We also understand there are many who are hesitant to travel under the current circumstances.

We do not wish to persuade anyone of a decision, but rather to instill confidence in those who are uncertain regarding their decision to travel.

Although, in complete lightheartedness, we’d like to remind you that there may be no better place to social distance than in the “Middle of Nowhere.”

Alright, that’s the only hint of persuasion you’ll find here.

Without further fanfare, allow us to detail our “Niobrara Clean” program: an initiative to keep our guests healthy during their stays at the Lodge.

  • High-Touch Double Clean
    Two is better than one. For all highly touched areas inside of and outside of a guest’s room, our housekeeping staff thoroughly sanitizes surfaces — twice.
  • Hospital-Grade Disinfectants
    Our powerful disinfectants exceed the standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chemicals are safely used inside hospitals to destroy viruses like SARS-CoV-2, which is known to cause Covid-19.
  • Electrostatic Sanitization
    To ensure no spot is missed, we’ve incorporated electrostatic spray surface cleaning. This process sprays electrically-charged disinfectant particles that aggressively cling to surfaces in, around, above, below, between, and throughout our property.
  • Removal of Select Room Items
    Rooms are stocked with all the essentials — but only the essentials. In keeping with the reduction of touchpoints, we’ve removed unnecessary items from hotel rooms.
  • Constant Cleaning of Common Areas
    Outside of guest rooms, all high-traffic areas around our property are consistently and thoroughly cleaned.
  • Team Member Precautions
    We aim to keep our team members safe, which in turn helps keep our guests safe. By monitoring temperatures and wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE), our hotel staff seeks to protect guests from any viral transmissions.

Each of these measures has been carefully and thoughtfully crafted in consideration of the resources made available to us through the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA).

While our priority remains the health and safety of our guests and staff, we also strive to provide exceptional comfort and service during this time. We believe health to be a mixture of physical and mental well-being, among others. The latter is often neglected in the Covid-19 era as a consequence of drastic measures to protect the former.

At the Niobrara Lodge, we’re here to preserve both.

Should you have any concerns or requests for additional information, please do not hesitate to contact our Front Desk. A member of our team will be more than happy to assist you.

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What Does Travel Look Like Ahead?

What Does Travel Look Like Ahead?

If you’re like us, you have many questions about the likelihood of your travel plans in the coming months. When will the social distancing guidelines be lifted? When can we continue to travel? When can we begin living normal lives again?


It’s a question that no one has the definitive answer to right now.

But there is good news.

Even amidst the difficulties of isolation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, there are still ways we can enjoy the simple normalities of life sans COVID-19.*

In light of these travel concerns, The Niobrara Lodge has taken careful measures to ensure the sterilization of our property and the safety of our guests. 

That is to say, we are ready and willing to accommodate your next journey to the Valentine area — whenever that may be!

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — to date — has not issued advisories or restrictions against travel within the U.S. All states have reported cases of COVID-19, but certain areas are experiencing quicker rates of spread than others. Be sure to check the state- and local-level public health department websites for further information. 

Considering this, rural residents can breathe a little more deeply. Part of the beauty of life in the Nebraska Sandhills is the wide-open spaces. 

Social distancing is made a bit easier here.

With so many outdoor activities to enjoy, travelers may experience safer, more isolated environments than their home settings. 

Lastly, we wish to remind guests of one principle: While it is our wish to inject as much normalcy and positivity into the current situation as possible, we maintain that the top priority be the health and safety of our neighbors

Illness is not a risk worth taking, and we encourage everyone to make the responsible decision for themselves and their communities. 

No one knows when travel will return to normal.

But should you wish to escape to the “Middle of Nowhere” in the meantime, we’ll be ready to lodge you — safely and soundly.

*(Disclaimer: The regulations surrounding the coronavirus pandemic are constantly fluctuating, and we firmly advise guests to review the guidelines from the CDC and local public health departments before making any travel-related decisions.)

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Welcome to Valentine

When someone says the word “diversity,” what comes to mind? People, culture, you name it – there are numerous aspects of our lives where we are thinking about what makes something special. Here in Valentine, however, diversity takes on a new meaning. We are talking about outdoor adventures. We are talking about exploration. We are talking about the Middle of Nowhere. Valentine is home to countless outdoor excursions – hunting, fishing, golfing, camping, you name it. And how could we forget to mention the illustrious Niobrara River?

Our little slice of paradise provides you with the opportunity to escape, unwind and explore some breath taking outdoor activities. Affectionately known as the Heart City, we at The Niobrara Lodge would like to be the first to welcome you to a place that is close to adventure, yet miles from ordinary.

Come explore with us.

The Niobrara River