There are so many amazing options across Nebraska when it comes to finding your next camping destination. From the state's biggest lake in western Nebraska, Lake McConaughy, to Branched Oak Lake, right outside the state's capital. But there are five locations specifically that we think are must-visit camping destinations.
Here's the breakdown of the spots we think are the top 5 camping spots in Nebraska. To be clear, these choices are all made from our personal experience. If anyone has any other suggestions, we'd be happy to here them!
#5 - Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Ashland
In the words of Nebraska Game & Parks, "This modern state park is the perfect year round destination for a family escape." That statement couldn't more right. If you're not as much of an outdoorsy camper, Mahoney State Park is the spot for you. Not only are there plenty of options for tent and camper camping, including full electric and water hookups, but you can also get away from the every day noise in one of the park's cabins or lodges. Every cabin includes a refrigerator, TV, fireplace, and air conditioning. One of the park's most popular lodges boasts 40 rooms with private balconies. Of course, there is still plenty to do outside as well, like hiking and tree top ropes courses. It's a great place to be and would be higher on our list, if we didn't prefer more of an outdoorsy experience!
#4 - Chadron State Park, Chadron
If you are looking for some of Nebraska's most beautiful scenery, Chadron State Park is the place to go. Nestled in the northwestern corner of the state the park features breathtaking canyons and buttes. According to Nebraska Game & Parks, the park was founded in 1921 and has always been a popular spot for campers and tourists. Chadron offers cabins and all types of camping spots, including water and electric hookups and primitive camping. There are a range of activities to enjoy: hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming at one of the park's swimming pools. In our opinion, the only downside to Chadron State Park is that there is no lake to take out a boat or jet ski, giving it our ranking of #4. Besides that, it's an amazing spot to escape to!
#3 - Harlan County Reservoir, Republican City
This is one of the best lakes in the state, in our opinion. There is so much room on the lake for any water activity you can think of...it is Nebraska's second largest lake after all. Feel like going on a walk or drive? The lake features a massive dam that's perfect for an afternoon stroll across the lake to see the scenery. According to Visit Nebraska, there is a plethora of other activities to take part in as well, including hunting, boating, fishing, and hiking. This is a must-visit destination for any lake lovers out there!
#2 - Niobrara State Park, Niobrara
The Niobrara State Park was chosen as our second favorite destination for the massive variety of ways to spend your time. It hosts many activities, while maintaining a picturesque landscape. If you are looking for some beautiful scenery, this is a must-stop destination. Do you like hunting and fishing? Or do you prefer swimming and hiking? This can all be done here! Fun for people of all ages, this family-friendly spot also offers biking, boating, horseback riding, and various playground areas. Tubing/tanking is extremely popular on the Niobrara River! You can find more information at Nebraska Game & Parks.
#1 - Calamus State Recreation Area, Burwell
Finally, our number one pick for the best camping destination is Calamus State Recreation Area. Why, you might ask? Not only is it a beautiful lake, but it also has some of the best camping sites. Whether you prefer camping in a tent or in a camper, these sites have plenty of shade and options, ensuring a comfortable experience. According to, Nebraska Game & Parks this destination also hosts a variety of activities such as boating, swimming, hunting, fishing, picnicking, and a number of playground areas. Good for families or if you are just wanting a few days to yourself, Calamus is a must-visit place for any outdoor lover.
We hope you enjoyed our list and that you pay a couple of these locations a visit. We'd love to hear your feedback. Tell us your favorite Nebraska camping destinations!
- The Country Outbound Team