Are you planning a trip to Omaha, or want to get away? There are plenty of great places to camp in Nebraska this summer. Float down the Niobrara River to spend the night next to a water fall or camp right on the sandy beach of Lake McConaughy. Bring your fishing gear and your sunscreen for a fabulous camping trip in Nebraska. Here are the 5 best places to camp in Nebraska this summer!
1. Smith Falls State Park
A short hike down the boardwalk trail brings you to the tallest waterfall in the state! Smith Falls is a 70-foot high waterfall that cascades down from the Niobrara River. You can view the waterfall from the bottom to get some amazing photos. Just above the falls is a popular take-out spot for tubers and kayakers who travel down the river from upstream. Several outfitters will coordinate bringing your gear and arrange for a 2-6 hour float (or paddle) down the river. Then spend the night at the Smith Falls State Park Campground which has 36 basic campsites for tent camping. There are restrooms and pay showers on site as well as a visitor center and concession stand.
|Smith Falls State Park Campground|
|Location||North central Nebraska, almost to South Dakota|
|Tent Sites||36 basic tent sites|
|Amenities||Restrooms, hot showers (pay), visitor center, |
|What makes it one of the best||Camping next to a 70-foot tall waterfall!|
2. Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
Nicknamed “Big Mac” Lake McConaughy is the largest lake in Nebraska. This 30,000 acre lake is an amazing recreational lake for swimming, boating, wind surfing and fishing. The campground has sites right on the beach, on the sand! Imagine falling asleep to the waves of the lake lapping against the shore and waking up to feel your toes in the warm sand. You probably don’t think of white sandy beaches when you think of Nebraska but that is what you will find at Lake McConaughy.
|Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area|
|Location||Western Nebraska, just north of |
Hwy 80 and Ogallala
|Nearest City||Ogallala, NE|
|Martin Bay Campground||40 grassy sites, some with water, picnic table, |
grill, restrooms, showers
|Little Thunder Campground||8 full hookup sites, 34 electric plus sites, |
hard surfaced pads, restrooms, showers
|Lone Eagle Campground||84 full hookup sites, hard surfaced pads, |
|Sandy Beach Campground||16 grassy sites, water picnic table, grill, |
|Cedar View Campground||85 electric plus, 17 basic, water, restrooms|
|Spring Park Campground||14 basic campsites, more remote campground, |
no water onsite but nearby, vault toilets
|Otter Creek Campground||10 basic campsites, closest to the concession |
building, vault toilets
|Beach Camping (Shoreline Road Beach Camping)||16 designated beach camping areas with |
950 total sites!
|Amenities||Varies by campground|
|Reservations||Yes, required from May 20 to Sept. 10, some |
basic sites are first come first serve
|What makes it one of the best||Camping directly on the white sandy beach, |
feet from the water!
3. Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area
Step back in time to the “Wild, Wild West”! Visit the ranch home of the famous Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody who lived in North Platte. The State Rec. Area is right next door to the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park where you can visit the home and barn site of the buffalo-hunter turned showman, touring the U.S. and Europe with the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The campground has a variety of sites from full hookups for RV’s to primitive basic tent sites.
|Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area|
|Location||Just NE of North Platte, NE|
|Nearest City||North Platte|
|RV/Tent Sites||23 sites with electric, 8 basic non-pad sites|
|Amenities||Primitive restrooms, drinking water|
|Reservations||No, first come first serve|
|What makes it one of the best||Right next door to the famous “Buffalo Bill Ranch”!|
4. Indian Cave State Park
Walk down the winding boardwalk stairway to view the length of the Indian Cave with prehistoric Native American petroglyphs etched along it. Stop by the restored schoolhouse and general store to see what life was like in this old river town. Hike on many of the rails or ride your mountain bike to explore the areas wildlife. Look for deer, wild turkeys, beavers and raccoons. Scan the trees for barred owls or whippoorwills.
For the campground, there are 134 campsites with 30-amp electric with 22 sites that have 50-amp. There are also tent sites in another area that have electric. All sites have a fire ring and grill and restrooms and showers are onsite. What makes this one of the best places to camp in Nebraska this summer is the campground overlooks the majestic Missouri River.
|Indian Cave State Park|
|Location||85 miles south of Omaha in the SE corner of the state|
|Nearest City||Shubert, NE|
|RV/Tent Sites||134 campsites, 22 of which have 50-amp, others all have electric|
|Picnic Tables at each site||Yes|
|Fire Pit at each site||Yes|
|Amenities||Restrooms, showers, information center|
|What makes it one of the best||Camping right by the Indian Caves and overlooking the Missouri River!|
5. Lake Cunningham Campground
If you want to stay right near all that downtown Omaha has to offer, then camping at Lake Cunningham Campground is a great option. Only 10 miles north of the downtown area you are close to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium where you can visit America’s largest indoor rainforest. Here you will see monkeys, macaws, gibbons and pygmy hippos! They don’t have any hippos in Lake Cunningham but they do allow fishing, catch and release, for catfish, bass and crappie. Camping in the park offers RV sites, tent sites, as well as 2 large yurts for a glamping experience.
|Lake Cunningham Campground|
|Location||Just 10 miles north of downtown Omaha|
|West C Campground||41 RV pad sites with electric|
|Tent Campground||7 sites with picnic table, fire ring, restrooms, playground|
|Glamping||2 large glamping tents/yurts, lakeside|
|Picnic Tables at each site||Yes|
|Fire Pit at each site||Yes|
|What makes it one of the best||So close to everything downtown Omaha has to offer!|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/LIKE HE
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