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20 Best Camping Spots In Nebraska (Outdoor Activities For All)

Explore the top 20 camping spots in Nebraska! Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, this guide covers scenic parks & activities for all. Perfect for travelers seeking nature's best.

Tobi Miles
July 13, 2022
20 Best Camping Spots In Nebraska (Outdoor Activities For All)

Nebraska is a prairie state located in the Great Plains region of the United States. It is composed of forests, grasslands, mountains, and lakes. Its picturesque landscape makes Nebraska an ideal location for a camping adventure.

There is an abundance of beautiful camping spots available to travelers passing through Nebraska. Some of the most notable areas to consider include the Windmill State Park, Branched Oak State Recreation Area, and Ponca State Park. Whether you are interested in hiking, fishing, or birdwatching, the state of Nebraska has a suitable campground for you. 

Keep reading to discover the best camping spots for adventure lovers visiting Nebraska. 

1. Chadron State Park 

Credit: J Sidle / Flickr

Located within the Pine Ridge region of Nebraska, Chadron State Park is the first of its kind in the entire state. It is composed of rocky canyons and rigid butte formations that extend into its clear blue skies. 

Situated on almost one thousand acres of land in the Nebraska National Forest, the park has several sections for visitors to explore. It hosts a unique combination of lagoons, mountains, and forests.

The landscape provides tons of opportunities for adventure during just one stay. Guests of the campsite at Chadron State Park are welcome to pitch a tent or park a trailer or RV for the night.

There are electrical hookups available at this campsite. Standard campfire rings and picnic tables are also offered in each spot. 

This campground offers advanced restroom facilities, featuring toilets that flush. There are also showers available on the property with hot water. 

When camping at Chadron State Park, visitors can take advantage of tons of opportunities to go fishing. Boating and paddle-boarding are also popular in the various water bodies.

Aside from swimming and watersports, there are volleyball courts in the park along with ample space to picnic. 

2. Fremont State Recreation Area 

Credit: Visit Nebraska

Located on Nebraska’s beautiful Platte River, the Fremont State Recreation Area offers beautiful weather and tons of outdoor activities. Surrounded by dense trees, there is ample shade for an enjoyable day among nature. 

The campground is only three miles away from the nearby town of Fremont it is named after. Along with several restaurant and bar selections in the city, Fremont offers interesting landmarks and excursions.

Popular things to do during a visit include airboat tours and railroad viewing. Fremont is also home to a shopping center and movie theater, along with several parks and museums. 

Amenities at the campsite include drinking water, showers, and various types of camping pads. There is also a private beach on the property that is ideal for swimming. Other popular activities are hiking, water skiing, and fishing. 

Related Read: 15 Cabin Rentals in Iowa

3. Indian Cave State Park 

Credit: Ali Eminov / Flickr

For nature lovers and history enthusiasts, the Indian Cave State Park is an optimal camping location. Best known for its ancient petroglyphs, there are tons of culturally rich experiences to participate in.

This historically preserved patch of nature includes a recreation area that sits on the neighboring Missouri River. It is open year-round for visitation and camping. The Indian Cave State Park has a wealth of activities to offer from summer to winter. 

During the warmer months, guests can enjoy hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The clear, mild weather offers ample opportunities for picnics. This can be done on a blanket on the grass or on the built-in tables at the campsites. 

In the winter, snow activities and sports open up to visitors. A few of the most popular things to do when it’s cold include sledding, skiing, and snowboarding. 

The campgrounds at Indian Cave State Park supply its guests with hookups for water and electricity. There are also horse corrals in a section of the campsite for Equestrian camping. 

There is also potable water, toilets, and showers available. Whether you are traveling by tent, RV, or trailer, this campground has space to accommodate you during your stay. 

4. Double Nickel Campground 

Credit: Double Nickel Campground

The Double Nickel Campground accommodates both tent and RV campers. There is tons of grassy space and hookups for water and electricity. Each campsite offers picnic tables to prepare meals and pits for campfires.

This hospitable family-owned campground also offers cabin rentals to its guests. Each cabin comes with air conditioning and heating inside, as well as kitchens and furniture. 

The property contains a swimming pool that is open to the public, and a playground for children. For added convenience, travelers have access to a store with general supplies and groceries. 

Visitors of the Double Nickel Campground may be interested in bird watching, boating, fishing, and hiking. 

5. Branched Oak State Recreation Area 

Credit: Outdoor Nebraska

The Branched Oak State Recreation Area is a public park and campsite containing almost 5,600 acres of land. There are several individual camping spots available for both tents and RVs.

There are tons of outdoor activities to partake in at this location. This campground offers multiple amenities to visitors, from the standard picnic and campfire areas to clean drinking water.

The restroom facilities even offer a shower. Guests should keep in mind that the shower requires coins to run. Those looking to take advantage of this feature should bring plenty of change. 

The recreation area is interesting in the fact that it features one of the largest lakes in the Salt Valley, optimal for fishing and other water sports. 

Fishing enthusiasts are well-equipped at Branched Oak with boat ramps. There are several dedicated areas to clean your catches of the day as well. There is also an expansive marina on the property with similar excursions to offer. 

Other popular activities to enjoy during a visit at Branched Oak include biking, horseback riding, and hiking. One section of the campground even has horse corrals. Additionally, there is a playground on site for guests of all ages to enjoy. 

Related Read: 30 Best Restaurants in Lincoln, NE

6. Prairie Oasis Campground 

Credit: Prairie Oasis Campground

The Prairie Oasis Campground is a scenic campsite in Henderson, Nebraska. It offers traditional campsites along with cabin rentals. The cabins are equipped with basic furnishings, running water, and a queen bed for two. 

There is a camp shop on the premises that provides all of the necessary camping gear travelers may need. Families with kids may be interested to learn that Prairie Oasis offers wireless internet connection free of charge. 

Available games and activities to enjoy include archery, horseshoes, and badminton. There is also a public sand volleyball court near the water. 

While pets are allowed on the general campgrounds, those looking to stay in the cabin rentals should keep in mind they are not allowed inside. There are also no electric car charging stations available on the property. 

7. Lake Minatare State Recreation Area 

Credit: Outdoor Nebraska

The Lake Minatare State Recreation Area is a must-see experience when visiting Nebraska. It is located near Minatare, and offers over 2,000 acres of open water for exploration. 

The Recreation Area features the Stone Lighthouse. It is the first and only lighthouse in the entire state of Nebraska. Guests can view the lighthouse between the months of April and September year-round. It opens for visitation daily from 9 am to 8 pm. 

There is no shortage of activities available when visiting Lake Minatare. These are inclusive of camping, boating, and fishing.

The shoreline of the lake offers breathtaking views during the day and beautiful sunsets in the evening. The diverse bird species nearby offer guests a chance to go birdwatching among nature. 

The private beaches on the property allow for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Watersports on the lake include water skiing and paddle boarding. 

The campground accommodates both RV and tent camping. Visitors should keep in mind that bringing firewood from other states is prohibited. Anything transported should be burned immediately to prevent infestations. 

8. Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area 

Credit: Peter Kleinhenz / Flickr

Named after the compact lake it is situated on, the Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area is an optimal Nebraska camping destination. 

The 320-acre water body is nicknamed “little lake”. It is best known for its fishing opportunities and the plentiful trout it contains. The shoreline of the lake is a popular destination to enjoy the water, with very minimal winds. 

Guests of the recreation area may enjoy picnicking with views of the water, boating, and paddle-boarding. Swimming is also permitted in the lake. This can be very enjoyable during the warmer months.

The lake is known for its nearby hiking opportunities, most notably the 14.5 km long Lake Ogallala Trail. Wildlife watching is another popular daytime activity. There are several diverse species from reptiles to birds and cattle. 

There are over 80 individual campsites on the property. These include potable water and several types of restroom facilities. The campground itself offers coin-operated showers to its overnight visitors. 

Nearby attractions include the larger Lake McConaughy and the Kingsley Dam, both of which offer similar water sport activities. Lake Ogallala is a suitable location for easy access to nearby parks and lakes. 

9. Louisville State Recreation Area 

Credit: Shelby L. Bell / Flickr

The Louisville State Recreation Area is a gorgeous park, sitting on 192 acres of the Platte River. There are numerous outdoor spaces to explore. These are inclusive of lakes, mountains, and trees. 

Although there are a total of five lakes on the property, swimming is only allowed in one of them. Fishing is permitted in all of the lakes. There are opportunities to catch bluegill, catfish, bass, and crappie. 

Boating and canoeing is also popular in the recreation area’s expansive water bodies. There is a concession stand administered by the park. It offers snacks, ice, basic groceries, and fishing gear. Don't miss the ice cream during the hot summer months. 

Among the most notable attractions to experience when visiting the recreation area is its floating playground. It is a network of inflatable obstacles that sits on the water’s surface.

The floating playground is composed of monkey bars, bridges, and domes. There are tons of challenging opportunities to run, jump, and climb for visitors of all ages. 

There are over 200 camping spaces with pads for tents, trailers, and RVs. The campground is open every day of the year. Visitors should keep in mind that reservations must be made a minimum of three days in advance to secure a spot. 

10. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park 

Credit: Bonnie Brieden / Flickr

Another public recreational area situated on Nebraska’s famous Platte River, the Eugene T. Mahoney State Park does not come up short as a camping destination. 

Stretching for 700 acres, the park has several tennis courts, hiking and biking trails. There is also an all-inclusive water park to take advantage of during a stay. The property hosts two distinctive campgrounds and a private marina. 

The park has been renovated to include restroom facilities with flushing toilets and hot showers. It is not necessary for guests to bring their own water, as clean drinking water is available on site. 

In addition to the several spaces allotted for tents and recreational vehicles, the campground offers cabin rentals for overnight stays.

Each cabin comes equipped with heating, air conditioning, and fireplaces. These accommodations offer additional privacy from nearby campers. 

11. Niobrara State Park 

Credit: Liz and Mary Clare / Flickr

Located in northeast Nebraska between the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers, Niobrara State Park is best known for its interesting animal species and rich history.

Highly regarded as a spiritually-significant place with abundant water and wildlife, the site was obtained by the state of Nebraska in 1930. 

Some notable sites to see include the nearby Swanson Hunting Acres, Niobrara Museum, and its own Niobrara River Bridge. Several museums and casinos are also available in the nearby Niobrara village to explore during the day.

There are several campsites available for tents and vehicles overlooking the adjacent rivers. Guests should come equipped with coins to operate the private outdoor showers.

Another unique amenity to the Niobrara State Park Campground is coin-operated laundry facilities. Potable water, grills, and picnic tables are among the other amenities offered throughout the campground. 

Activities to participate in when visiting the Niobrara State Park range from swimming and tubing to fishing. Canoeing and kayaking are also popular.

Visitors may be lucky enough to spot coyotes and turkeys. Several species of deer roam the property and can be viewed along the park’s rolling hills. 

12. Pawnee State Recreation Area 

Credit: Visit Nebraska

The Pawnee State Recreation Area is unique in the fact that it holds one of the Salt Valley’s largest lakes. The campground offers guests convenient access points to the Pawnee Lake and neighboring city of Emerald.

Things to do within the recreation area include fishing, boating, and wildlife watching. The lake is home to dozens of species of fish, from catfish to walleye. 

The campground’s facilities range from electrical RV hookups to private showers and toilets. Reservations for this campsite should be made three days in advance at minimum. They can be booked in the future for a maximum of 180 days in advance. 

13. Platte River State Park 

Credit: Jordan Rivera / Flickr

A naturally beautiful public area of recreation, the Platte River State Park is one of Nebraska’s most special camping destinations. 

It is composed of hundreds of acres of grassy hills with an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy from mountain biking to fishing and boating. 

The site is located a few miles away from the nearby town of Louisville, Nebraska, where guests can venture out to visit a historic saloon or go paintballing. 

In addition to traditional tent camping, the state park offers rentals of wooden teepees for overnight stays. Campground amenities include latrines, picnic tables, and grill areas for cooking. 

Related Read: 21 Best Romantic Midwest Getaways

14. Fort Kearny State Historical Park 

Credit: J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Fort Kearny State Historical Park has been an integral part of Nebraska’s rich history since 1848. It was originally a stopping point for gold prospectors and travelers during the United State’s Western settlement period. 

Current day, the park serves as a historical landmark, offering educational experiences throughout. There are plenty of pathways and displays containing photos and artifacts from this time. 

History enthusiasts are in for an unforgettable journey through the expansive visitor’s center on the property. 

Aside from participating in the immersive simulation of traveling the Oregon-California Trail, the park has many more activities to offer guests of the campground.

Daytime excursions at Fort Kearny include fishing, hiking, and swimming. The landscape is also optimal for mountain biking through its network of trails. 

The campsite is well-equipped with everything you may need during your stay, from electrical pads to clean drinking water. It also offers flushing toilets and hot showers. There is a dump station available on the property for guests to take advantage of as well. 

It is important to note that the majority of the campground is claimed by reservation only. Those planning a visit to the Fort Kearny State Park should book their spots in advance to avoid limited availability upon arrival. 

15. Two Rivers State Recreation Area 

Credit: Outdoor Nebraska

Adjacent to the Platte River, the Two Rivers State Recreation Area features seven total ponds within its boundaries. There are plenty of things to do during the day while camping at Two Rivers, including hiking and picnicking.  

Guests are welcome to swim in the plentiful water bodies the Two Rivers State Recreation Area has to offer. 

The campground contains over 200 individual spots for tents, trailers, and RVs. Amenities include hookups for recreational vehicles, showers, toilets, and clean drinking water. 

16. Victoria Springs State Recreation Area 

Credit: Outdoor Nebraska

Known for its mineral springs, the Victoria Springs State Recreation Area has been one of Nebraska’s greatest natural treasures since 1925. 

There are 60 campsites in total on the campground with over 20 RV hookups. The recreation area provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and picnicking on the grounds. 

The option to rent a cabin is another unique offering at Victoria Springs. There are two available on the property, all-inclusive of furniture and kitchens. 

The location of the Victoria Springs State Recreation Area is just out of reach of the neighboring towns of Merna and Anselmo, making it the perfect spot for a secluded getaway. 

17. Ponca State Park

Credit: chris jones / Flickr

Ponca State Park is a recreational park bordered by the Missouri River near the town of Ponca, Nebraska it is named after. The varying terrain of the state park makes it an interesting place to go on a camping adventure. 

Its landscape moves from grassy hills in one direction to rocky mountain bluffs in another. Along with several excursions including boating and hiking, the park has tons of educational value to offer.

Local tour guides are available to educate guests on the geological history of the region. The traditional campgrounds accommodate visitors all year, with seasonal cabin rentals available from April to November. 

18. Windmill State Park 

Credit: Nebraska Game and Parks

The Windmill State Park is sandwiched between the cities of Grand Island and Kearney. There are tons of man made lakes scattered throughout the property for guests to explore. 

Some of the most popular activities to participate in during a trip to the Windmill State Park are swimming at the beach and having a picnic under the blue sky. Available water sports include water skiing and boating, to name a few. 

At the campground, visitors can enjoy shared access to showers with running water. There are also private restrooms and clean drinking water. Each campsite features the classic fire pit and picnic table setup for guests to utilize. 

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore

19. Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area 

Credit: Visit Nebraska

The Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area is located in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge region near the famous Chadron State Park. 

The campground is open all year with 13 individual campsites in total. Included amenities are restrooms with toilets, potable water, fire pits, and picnic tables. 

The state recreation area offers a wealth of outdoor activities and experiences to its guests. Some of these include paddling and swimming in the reservoir. There are also tons of hiking and mountain biking trails at the disposal of campsite visitors.  

20. Nebraska National Forest 

Credit: Dick Clark / Flickr

The Nebraska National Forest is an expansive network of lush greenery, spanning across over one million acres of land. Inclusive of forests and grasslands, the area is split between several counties and ranger districts. 

There are multiple individual campgrounds available throughout the forest. They offer lots of activities to participate in all year. There are plenty of unique animal species to watch, along with plentiful hiking and biking trails. 

Other popular activities range from horseback riding to geocaching in the forest. A couple of the most notable spots to go camping within the forest are the Soldier Creek and Red Cloud Campgrounds.

As some campsites require advanced reservations, visitors should consult the official website before traveling.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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