Best Camping in Nebraska

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Camping in Nebraska

By Alex Murphy

Nebraska is America's only triple landlocked state. That means no matter what direction you drive, you will need to go through at least three other states to get to the ocean. It's a centerpiece of midwestern culture, known for agriculture, including corn and beef production. The state also has a surprising number of rivers and even National Forests for visitors to see. Plus, the growing cities of Omaha and Lincoln have made the state an increasingly popular destination.

Here's a look at everything the Cornhusker State has to offer.

See a map of all camping in Nebraska.

Nebraska State Parks

The Nebraska State Parks system has only eight official parks. Still, several State Historical Areas and State Recreation Area have a wide range of spots to check out for camping in Nebraska.

One of the most unique is Indian Cave State Park, named for a massive sandstone cave located inside the park. Visitors can also check out the Missouri River and hiking trails inside the park.

While Nebraska is known for the great plains, another park, Smith Falls State Park, boasts the state's highest waterfall at 70 feet high.

Another spot to check out for anyone looking for camping in Nebraska is Ponca State Park, a popular destination located on bluffs above the Missouri River and an excellent spot for anyone looking to kayak or canoe.

National Parks in Nebraska

National points of interest include scenic rivers and historic sites in the state.

The Missouri National Recreation River stretches 100 miles and cuts through South Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri. Visitors can enjoy fishing, boating, and nearby trails.

A lesser-known river but a destination that still has a lot to offer is the Niobrara National Scenic River. This area is contained entirely within Nebraska and is a popular summer destination for tubing and rafting down the river. There are also several waterfalls to check out.

Nebraska is also one of the 16 states on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail - West. This historic site stretches from Pittsburgh, PA, to the Oregon Coast and marks the route taken during the historic expedition more than 200 years ago.

RV Parks in Nebraska

Many RV parks in Nebraska are close to some popular destinations.

The drive from Omaha to Lincoln is about an hour, and there are RV parks located near both of them. Including Ashland RV Campground near Omaha and Camp-A-Way in Lincoln.

For anyone driving through the state and taking I-80, Prairie Oasis Campground and Cabins and Grand Island KOA are both a short drive from the interstate. I-80 Lakeside Campground is another possibility further west in North Platte, plus it features waterside camping.

Free Camping in Nebraska

There are options for free camping in Nebraska near major highways and scenic nature spots, including Streeter Park Campground, where water and electric is available. The campground is in Aurora, which is not far from Grand Island, which has some of the best nature spots in the state. Another similar spot with some amenities that's also free is Buckley City Park.

Anyone making their way through the state and looking to stay right off of I-80 can overnight at places like The Archway which is centrally located in the state.

National Forests in Nebraska

Anyone looking to enjoy camping in Nebraska while exploring the great outdoors needs to make a stop at the state's National Forests.

Nebraska National Forest is shared between Nebraska and South Dakota and is a short distance from Badlands National Park. Within the forest is Oglala National Grassland where visitors can enjoy massive open spaces.

A short distance from there is Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest, which provides more grasslands and hiking and fishing.

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Recent Nebraska Campground Reviews

"Great for a an overnighter. "

Stayed here one night as a pass through. $15 first come first served, no marked sites but you pull up to a light pole and there are 1-50 amp, 2 -30 amp, & 1-110 plug to use off the same panel. There is water nearby and a dump station. You pay on the honor system at a black box on the wall at the fair ground office. Lots of street noise and it’s...
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Brian Mattison
4 reviews
Beaver Crossing, NE

Smith Creek Recreation Area

Apr 12, 2021

"First time no cost camping in our new van. Wonderful experience."

Very peaceful area. At night there was a hard working farmer hauling stuff on the gravel road by the camp area. Otherwise it was very quiet.

Julie Tom placeholder avatar
Julie Thompson
3 reviews
Apr 12, 2021

"Gravel lot"

Camping is free here. It's just a gravel circle you can pull off near the lake. Nothing spectacular but it is easy access from the interstate and free

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Sairon Bruno
6 reviews
Apr 12, 2021

"Tiny camp"

So from what I can see there is only one small spot that you could fit a 30 ft max size camper in. I did not see any other fire rings or places that looked like you could camp. If you have high clearance and 4WD there might be more areas down a different road but there was no way I was making it to check those out.

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Sairon Bruno
6 reviews
Columbus, NE

Lake North

Apr 12, 2021

"Free electric campsites"

This is a beautiful location right on the lake. The campsites are close together. They all have free electric. It looks like there are some tent sites with electric closer to the playground.

Skyrie placeholder avatar
Sairon Bruno
6 reviews