Camping in Nebraska: 16 of the Best Campgrounds in the Cornhusker State

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Venture into the heart of America’s Cornhusker State, as we journey through 16 of the best spots for camping in Nebraska. Immerse yourself in the rich history, natural beauty, and thrilling outdoor activities that each site has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, Nebraska’s campgrounds promise an unforgettable experience of the great outdoors.

Memphis Lake State Recreation Area

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For those craving a slower pace, Memphis Lake State Recreation Area offers the perfect retreat for some camping in Nebraska. Its large campgrounds, offering Electric, Basic, and Primitive camping, interface harmoniously with the lake’s serene north shore. Enjoy a meandering boat ride under a 5mph speed limit, a leisure hike on a scenic 1-mile trail, or arrange a memorable picnic amidst mature shade trees and available grills. Here, simplicity and serenity go hand in hand!

Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area


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At Nebraska’s Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area, ‘big’ is a recurring theme. This giant fondly referred to as “Big Mac”, is not just the state’s largest reservoir, but also a playground boasting trophy-sized fish, white sandy beaches, and clear waters ideal for camping, boating, windsurfing, and even scuba diving. Perfect for adventurous souls or serene seekers, remember to secure your reservation for the peak season, and enjoy one of the seven campgrounds for some fun-filled camping in Nebraska!

Pawnee State Recreation Area

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Engage with the outdoors at Pawnee State Recreation Area, a generous slice of Nebraska’s natural beauty. Alongside a vast range of camping options from Electric Plus to Equestrian Basic campsites, Pawnee’s large water expanse makes it a magnet for boating and fishing enthusiasts. At the same time, its six-mile trail network encourages foot explorers, bikers, and horse riders to traverse its scenic stretches.

Ponca State Park


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Set in the picturesque Missouri River bluffs, Ponca State Park offers one of the most popular spots for camping in Nebraska. The diverse campsites cater to all camping styles—from Electric Plus to Basic. Beyond its scenic vistas and wildlife watching, the park plays host to a parade of migrating birds in spring and a range of seasonal activities, ensuring year-round entertainment for its visitors.

Seven Pines Ranch River Retreat

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Venture into the heart of Nebraska’s Sandhills at Seven Pines Ranch River Retreat, a tranquil getaway for both RV and tent camping. Positioned near the Middle Loup River, the ranch offers a variety of activities like kayaking, tubing, wading, and fishing. Revel in the breathtaking beauty of the night skies, recognized as an international dark sky reserve. With amenities and ample space for your pets, the retreat ensures a peaceful and private camping experience.

Niobrara State Park


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Niobrara State Park, situated at the convergence of Nebraska’s Niobrara and Missouri rivers, provides both Electric Plus and Basic camping options. Activities here include fishing, swimming, hiking, and the summer favorite–buffalo cookouts. For those needing connectivity, a free Wi-Fi hotspot is available for campers.

Fort Robinson State Park


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At Nebraska’s Fort Robinson State Park, you’ll find a range of campsites, including Full Hookup, Electric Plus, and Basic options, set in the picturesque Pine Ridge landscape. Take advantage of the park’s abundant fishing spots, explore 60 miles of hiking trails, 20 miles of mountain biking routes, and extensive horse-riding trails. It’s a destination where outdoor activities meet serene surroundings.

Johnson Lake State Recreation Area

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Discover a haven for outdoor fun at Johnson Lake State Recreation Area, just 10 miles south of Lexington. Offering Electric Plus, Electric, and Basic campsites equipped with modern amenities, the 68-acre area provides easy access to a vast 2,068-acre lake for fishing and water sports. It forms part of a larger lake complex on the Tri-County Canal providing a wide variety of recreational activities, perfect for a fun-filled camping experience.

Indian Cave State Park


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Picture yourself exploring nature and taking in endless scenic beauty, that’s Indian Cave State Park for you! Catering to diverse camping needs with Electric Plus, Electric, Basic, and Equestrian campsites, it promises an unforgettable retreat. Explore its panoramic hiking trails, bask in the aura of the park’s titular sandstone cave, or partake in the annual Haunted Hollow festivities amidst the breathtaking autumnal hues—it’s undoubtedly a place where nature’s grandeur meets adventurers’ delight.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park


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Found midway between Lincoln and Omaha, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park stands as a versatile retreat for some camping in Nebraska. With diverse campsites and close proximities to recreational areas like Baright Lake and Owen Marina, it fosters a dynamic camping experience. The park delivers a range of year-round activities, from aquatic fun and treetop adventures to winter sledding, complemented by the stunning Platte River valley views from guest rooms in Peter Kiewit Lodge.

Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area

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Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area, nestled in Nebraska’s scenic sandhills, offers an impressive blend of Electric Plus and Basic camping options across three campgrounds. Each campground is conveniently located close to the lake and equipped with mature shade trees, water, and modern restrooms. Offering popular activities like camping, fishing, boating, picnicking, and hiking along its miles of trails, its 5,123-acre lake and surrounding 4,958 acres of gently rolling land make it a sought-after destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Smith Falls State Park


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Smith Falls State Park, found along the Niobrara River, boasts Nebraska’s highest waterfall and offers basic campsites for tent camping. Campers can relish the view of the spectacular waterfalls and river and venture into various water activities like canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. Equipped with picnic tables, restrooms, and pay showers, the park is a popular spot for camping in Nebraska and a delightful retreat for nature and water sports enthusiasts.

Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area

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Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area is a popular outdoor retreat in southwest Nebraska. The area offers a range of camping experiences, from Electric Plus and Electric campsites to Basic and Primitive sites. Known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with species from walleye to largemouth bass, the area is also perfect for hunting, camping, swimming, picnicking, and other water activities.

Platte River State Park


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Tucked halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, Platte River State Park offers a vibrant camping experience with its state-of-the-art campground equipped with Full Hookup sites and a few Basic camping sites. The picturesque park, previously two separate camps, offers modern cabins, camper cabins, and extensive amenities including a playground and a dog park. Besides camping, visitors can explore the park’s waterfall, spray park, hiking and biking trails, and enjoy the spectacular view of the Platte River Basin from its two observation towers.

Lake Minatare State Recreation Area


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Nestled in the Panhandle, Lake Minatare State Recreation Area is a popular destination for campers thanks to its variety of Electric Plus, Basic, and Primitive campsites. As the area’s largest body of water, it’s a hub for outdoor pursuits, attracting anglers, water skiers, and swimmers. Surrounded by historical sites and forming part of the North Platte National Wildlife Refuge, it offers access to a world of outdoor adventures while delivering a serene escape for wildlife and migratory birds.

Chadron State Park


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Uncover the beauty of Chadron State Park, Nebraska’s first state park, nestled amidst the unique buttes and canyons of Pine Ridge. Offering Electric and Basic campsites and equipped with amenities such as showers, a dump station, and a playground, it’s an ideal camping spot. From horseback trail rides exploring the scenic terrain to swimming with views overlooking the pines, Chadron State Park promises an engaging retreat in one of Nebraska’s most renowned landscapes.

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