10 Best Campsites in Nebraska

Nebraska is the only landlocked state in the U.S, which means you will have to drive across many states to reach the ocean. However, don’t let this get you down, as the State is beautiful in its own right, with a lot more to offer for avid campers.

Nebraska will ring some beautiful images if you ask any local or visitors who have ever been there.  It comes filled with rivers, lakes, waterfalls, rolling hills, parks, forests and prairies, which all provide the perfect places to go camping and explore.

If you are thinking of taking a camping trip to Nebraska, look at the following article, which has compiled a list of some of the best places.

Let’s take a look!

1. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Ashland, NE

© Visit Omaha

This is one of the modern campsites in Nebraska, offering different lodging kinds for visitors with RV and tent camping options. The park’s main attraction is its Peter Kiewit Lodge, which provides at least 40 guest rooms, each coming with sleeping lofts and fireplaces, each with two queen beds and private baths.

The park is located near Ashland, off I-80 AT EXIT 426 along the Platte River, sitting on around 650 acres of land.  The campsite offers visitors access all year round, with all necessities provided, including electricity and water and bathroom facilities.

Plan for the perfect trip to Eugene T Mahoney State Park and enjoy exploring the landscape, hiking through the variety of trails available at the park. You can also head up the observation tower and enjoy the stunning panoramic view of the park. If you have a camera, capture a picture or two, or enjoy some of the activities that come with the Platte River, including fishing, boating, swimming and more.

The kids can enjoy their time at the shores of the river, or explore the campgrounds, as they feel the outdoors.

2. Indian Cave State Park

© Visit Nebraska

The Indian Cave State Park is a 3000-acre rugged piece of land right next to the Missouri River. The camp comes with at least 22 miles of hiking trails, with beautiful camping and picnic spots. Get to see the beautiful winding Missouri River and the beautiful hardwood forests.

The cave is the main attraction at the Indian Cave State Park. It comes with some petroglyphs, which can all be viewed all through the length of the cave.

The cave also comes with around 20 miles of trails, including a few equestrian trails, with various terrains that make the whole experience exhilarating. You will also find a couple of nice shelters in certain areas along the trails.

If you are a fan of wildlife watching, Indian Cave is the perfect place to see some animals, including raccoon, woodchuck, beaver, deer, turkey and a variety of bird species. The River has a boat ramp that offers several opportunities, including fishing, boating, swimming and more.

Indian Cave State Park has some of the best camping spots in the State, plus it also accommodates RV’s, with 134 units, 30-amp electrical hookups, showers restrooms, dump stations, laundry and more. You can also enjoy some primitive camping in the hills or go for some equestrian camping at one of the equestrian trail spots.

3. Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area

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The Lewis and Cark State Recreational Area comes with the second-largest Reservoir in Nebraska. The place got its name from the amazing expedition, where they camped around the area on their way to make the Louisiana Purchase.

Enjoy some fishing while out here, with various fish species available, including walleye, sauger, largemouth, bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill catfish and more. Boating is another favorite sport here, and you get to choose from sailboats, speedboats and watercraft.  There are over 110 seasonal docks that can be leased with at least four ramps available.

You can also find a swimming beach at the recreational area just west of the Weigand Marina. 

Hunting is allowed at the Lewis and Clarke Recreational Area after Labor Day. You can go for big game, waterfowl hunting, pheasant, quail and dove being some of the main animals for hunting. Deer and Turkey are also available with special regulations for hunting in the Burbach area. 

Bird watchers can also come and have some fun trying to spot a bald eagle or two. Wildlife watchers will also get a chance of seeing coyotes and a couple of other animals.

There are many fun activities for the whole family, including a playground for the kids located in the Burbach Area; there are a horseshoe pit and plenty of picnic spots.  You can also enjoy hikes, biking, horseback riding, snowboarding, ice skating and more.

There are over 150 camping spots with electricity hookups, picnic tables, fire pits and dump stations.

4. Calamus State Recreation Area

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The Calamus State Recreation Area features a 5,123-acre lake and 4,958 acres of land. Full of grass and forbs, it is located in the beautiful sand hills of Nebraska.

There are many fishing spots at the recreation area where you can fish for channel catfish, drum, muskie and crappie, and several trout stocked in the Gracie Creek Pond. You can also enjoy some boating, with all kinds of boats allowed at the lake, or go swimming at the Calamus Reservoir, but be careful as there are no lifeguards; plus, the swimming is at your risk.

Campers have around 130 camping spots to choose from across three different campgrounds.  You will find between 30 and 50-amp electrical hookups spread across the different campgrounds. All three campgrounds also come with shower houses and modern restrooms, with all of them near the shore.

RV’s are also accommodated at the Calamus State Recreational Area, with an option for reserving group tent sites that can take up to eight tents.

5. Fort Kearny State Recreation Area

© Kearney Visitors Bureau

Fort Kenny State Recreational Area is a 1.86-acre piece of land with sandpit lakes. It sees one of the biggest collections of waterfowls and sand hill cranes gathered during the spring at the Platte River. Camping here is all year round, with showers, restrooms and electricity provided. Campgrounds are also covered with cottonwood trees that make the whole area stunning.

There are around 90 camping spots at the Fort Kearny State Recreational Area. Only 38 of the camping spots can be booked around a year in advance.

There are around seven pit lakes with around 21 acres of water. Enjoy fishing bluegill, channel fish m largemouth bass and much more. There are catch and release areas and a 21-inch minimum length for black bass.

There are certain designate areas for swimming, where there are beaches; however, there are no lifeguards on duty, meaning you have to be careful while swimming here. There are picnic tables, grills, drinking water and playgrounds for the kids, making it a nice place for the whole family.

There is a cute bike trail that goes for 1.8 miles to the Bassway Strip Wildlife Management Area, which goes across the Platte River and the Channels. During the winter, the place is amazing for skiers due to the rolling snow-filled terrain.

6. Fort Robinson State Park

© Teresa Price

If you are looking for somewhere with nearly everything you’d want for camping, then Fort Robinson State Park is the perfect place. The park is 22,000 acres of a pine tree paradise with an amazing old west history, beautiful lodging and campsites with herds of buffalo and longhorn herds.

The park was a historic outpost that served up to the Second World War and is the scene of the Cheyenne outbreak which happened in ‘79. The park has since acted as a cavalry remount station, dog training unit, and a place for research.

Something unique you will find at the park is a museum and several restored buildings created as exhibits.  There is a Trailside museum, ran and operated by the Nebraska University, holding some explanations of the geology and natural history.

 You can ride a horse-drawn tour or a beautiful ride through the Pie Ridge, or drive an open-air Jeep among the buttes or a nature tour on the Robinson Express.

Visitors have the choice of cabins, or camping, with all basic amenities available, including picnic tables, horse barns, in case you travel with your horse, and equestrian facilities. 

7. Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area

© Visit Nebraska

The Merritt Reservoir can be found around 26 miles West of Valentine, Nebraska. The place is the best fishing spots in Nebraska, with a deep lake fed by a popular river, Snake River and a nearby Creek.

The lake comes with two fish cleaning areas, with various fish available, including lunker, anglers and catfish.  You can also enjoy boating with boat ramps made available for visitors and get some fuel from the nearby trading post.

You can also go hunting at the Merritt Reservoir after Labor Day. There is a lot of Sharp – tails and prairie grouse. Picnics are also part of the whole experience, with a number of picnic tables and 190    grills ad several picnic shelters.

When it comes to camping, you have 38 camping spots, each with electric hookups and an additional 105 non-electric camping spots. Water, restrooms and showers are also available for campers.

8. Victoria Springs State Recreation Area

© Nebraska Outback

The recreation area is one of the oldest in the Nebraska park system. Established way back in 1925, the park is located a couple of miles north of Merna, Victoria Springs, and is known as an oasis in sandy hills.  The land sits in roughly 60 acres and is one of the most picturesque places you can find in Nebraska.

Victoria Springs State Recreation Area is near a mineral spring that was once very popular, with the spring water getting bottled and sold across America. The whole place was once part of the pioneer’s Judge R Mathews, piece of land. You can still find a couple of log cabins that the pioneer built on the land.

Come and enjoy fishing at the camping site, with a couple of fish variety available.  The lake at the recreational area is around 5 acres with bass, bluegill and catfish. You can also enjoy boating with several boats allowed on the lake.

There are around 20 picnic spots, each with electric hookups and a couple of non-pad sites with water, electricity and restrooms available for campers. You will also find some picnic tables and a couple of grills.

9. Louisville State Recreational Area

© Ammodramus

Louisville State Recreational Area in a 192-acre piece of land located in Ashland, Nebraska. The area covers around 192 acres of land and 50 acres of water.  The area is perfect for picnics and camping, as apart from the lake, the towering cottonwood trees offer the perfect ambience.

There are several activities for the whole family to enjoy. For one, your kids can enjoy a great time at the floating playground, which also comes with a sort of obstacle challenge. You can also go boating with non-powered and electric boats and enjoy some fishing, with several different species available.

You can also visit the swimming beach open Memorial Day weekend through to Labor Day. You will also get access to the Platte River, where you can go canoeing.

There are several trails available, with 2 miles of trails available for hikers and bikers. Try and visit the place during autumn, see some of the most picturesque sceneries, or come in during winter and enjoy skiing.

Campers are welcome to come with their tents or RV’s with around 223 camping spots and around 45 non-electric camping spots. You can also expect to find water, a dump station and restrooms. 

10. Ponca State Park

© Bring Fido

The park can be found at the Missouri River bluffs, northeastern Nebraska. It is popular for its forested hills and stunning scenic beauty, plus the variety of wild animals. Several activities are suited for the whole place, including seasonal activities such as bird tour, family activities and haunted rides, which come with proper props and actors.

There are around 22 miles of trails at the park, with some challenging trails fit for bikers and hikers. There are guided hikes for people interested I learning about the plants and animals within the park. You can also go horseback riding through the woodland bluffs between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

There are around 90 camping spots all through the park with electricity, water and restrooms available. The park also comes with a golf course, shooting complex, wildlife viewing and a couple of other attractions like the Tri-State Overlook, which provides beautiful park scenery.

Conclusion

No matter where you end up camping, ensure you participate in as many activities as possible, be careful and create memories with your loved ones.

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