All of the Best RV Camping in Nebraska
Whether you’re looking for somewhere convenient to I-80 as you speed away the miles or are looking to setup camp next to a lake full of solitude, options abound in the state which boasts “Equality before the law” as its motto.
It’s hard to imagine Nebraska wasn’t holding Katharine Lee Bates’ attention when she wrote the line, “For amber waves of grain,” in her America the Beautiful poem. With a little wind, and especially thanks to modern agricultural, the vast heart of the Cornhusker State does appear to be a sea of ever flowing grain.
It is one of few options travelers have when crossing the country, and arguably one of the more beautiful options to choose given this farming illusion–particularly when coupled with the state’s northeastern sand dunes. Accordingly, there seem to be as many options for camping in Nebraska as there are stalks of wheat in its fields. Finding a place to park your RV for the night tends to come with the added benefits of a low price tag (there are few places in the state that cost more than $40 a night) if not downright free.
Let’s explore the best Nebraska has to offer.
The Top Rated RV Parks in Nebraska
As in many parts of these United States, private RV parks make up the vast majority of available RV camping in Nebraska. And like much of the country, there is camping at Cabela’s in Nebraska, too. The big surprise? This full service campground is located at the outdoor retailers headquarters in the western panhandle of the state, in a town by the name of Sidney. Twice removed on its mothers side no doubt from the free parking lot camping most other Cabela’s offer, this full hookup RV park includes bathrooms, a game room, laundry, a horse corral and, of course, a Cabela’s store. Hold onto your ruby slippers, though, because Dorothy’s home state isn’t the only place you can find yourself caught up in a twister — signs at this campground direct you to which facilities are the safest should you need to seek shelter from a tornado!
If you’re entering the state via its southeastern corner, the tree-lined Victorian Acres offers somewhat similar amenities as the national chain store. Closer to the center of the state, and just off of I-80 for those just passing through the Great Plains, Prairie Oasis Campground & Cabins offers your typical private RV park amenities and even tosses in some light fishing to boot.
If you’re not dead set on leaving the state in your rearview though, there are plenty of places to camp near the ever burgeoning hipster mecca of the Midwest, Omaha, and the state’s Sandhill region offers camping amidst a beautiful mix of flowing dunes draped in grassland toupees.
The Best Free Camping in Nebraska
While RVing in Nebraska is generally one of the more affordable states to do so, free camping grows like weeds in every corner of the state.
The state is dotted with plenty of free camping in city parks, many of which even offer water and electric hookups, and put you within walking distance of whatever that particular town has to offer. Bayard City Park, in the west, offers two free nights–including water and electric–before they ask you to pony up $10 per night after that. While the city has perhaps seen better days, a park situated adjacent to the campground offers a swimming pool. Other places, like Streeter Park Campground, are technically free but do ask for donations from their campers. The town of Aurora has more to offer than Bayard, from restaurants to the nearby water park, similarly this city park has significantly more hookup sites as well.
For that “more natural” feeling, Oliver Reservoir State Recreation Area offers free camping alongside the res, along with all of the hiking and biking, fishing and boating type activities one might associate with this type of facility.
While there are a handful more free places to park, they tend to follow in the footsteps of those mentioned previously–city or county parks where the price is indeed free, but the typical association with wild and gorgeous lands doesn’t connect. If you’re looking for the best and most beautiful Nebraska has to offer, the national forests and grasslands are your best bet.
RV Camping in Nebraska’s National Grasslands and Forests
In the Ogala National Grassland, Toadstool Gegological Park & Campground offers some of the most unusual and satisfying scenery Nebraska has to offer, with boulders teetering atop one another, mountain views in the distance and endless prairie sprawling off in every direction. In the Nebraska National Forest, Bessey Recreation Complex & Campground offers a very different experience, camping beneath the limbs of the nation’s largest hand-planted forest (and the second largest, man-made forest in the world.) The entire wood, with dozens of species of trees, was planted by humans and stands in stark contrast to the grasslands found in much of the rest of the state.
RV Camping in Nebraska’s State Parks
Aside from the splendor of Ogala Natonal Grassland and Nebraska National Forest, your next best bet for seeing Nebraska at its most natural is to visit one of its state parks. Nebraska State Parks are not only relatively cheap, but tend to have water, electric and sometimes even sewer hookups as well.
In the northwest corner, a couple of hours from South Dakota’s Black Hills, Fort Robinson State Park is a crowd pleaser, offering everything from Jeep tours to a restaurant on site, and serves as a great launching point to explore the national grassland and the northwest corner of Nebraska National Forest. Farther south, Box Butte Reservoir State Recreation Area boasts aquatic activities from boating to swimming in a pastural setting, and places you a mere 40 minutes away from one of the more peculiar roadside attractions America has to offer, Carhenge (think Stonehenge if it were made by a John Cougar Mellencamp song.)
On the other side of Nebraska, near Lincoln, Pawnee State Recreation Area lures in visitors with its family friendly playgrounds and horseshoes vibes, where you can get all of your s’mores fixin’s at the general store or be in town in 15 minutes to grab some forgotten grocery store items.
For those of you making your way across the state as fast as possible, but still wouldn’t mind a taste of what the state park system in Nebraska has to offer, Buffalo Bill Ranch and Johnson Lake offer camping near I-80.
Whether you’re just road-tripping through the state, or have decided to take a little more time to peer into all of its nooks and crannies, Nebraska makes it easy to find an ideal camping spot, often ensuring that, once you get there, a campground host’s smile and a sunset on the horizon will be waiting for you.