The 15 Best Places to Go Camping Within 2 Hours of Omaha

July 10, 2018Add a CommentPosted By

It’s time to grab those hiking boots, fill up the cooler, load up the tents and hit the road! Summer is here, which means it’s prime time for camping in the Omaha area. Our region offers plenty of opportunities for exploring the outdoors, including hiking, biking, water sports, fishing, horseback riding and so much more. Of course, sometimes it’s best to simply be still and enjoy nature’s splendor — Nebraska is rumored to have some of the most spectacular sunsets in the Midwest!
To get a complete taste of the Omaha area’s natural beauty, pitch your tent and make a weekend out of it. We rounded up the 15 best campgrounds within a two-hour drive of town, so enjoy — and don’t forget the marshmallows!

 

N.P. Dodge Park

Driving time from Omaha: 15 minutes

This 445 acre park along the river is the perfect place to go camping if you’d like to stay close to home! The 44 campsites (both electric and non-electric) are located right on the Missouri River and feature nearby showers and restroom facilities. The full-service marina offers ample opportunities for boating and water sports, but if you’d rather stay on land, you can explore the trails instead. Plus, being so close to town, you could theoretically order takeout instead of cooking your meal at camp — but wouldn’t that ruin the experience just a little bit?

Note: N.P. Dodge Park is currently closed due to high water levels! Check City of Omaha website for updates. 

 

Glenn Cunningham Lake

Driving time from Omaha: 19 minutes

Glenn Cunningham Lake is one of the Omaha area’s most convenient options, located a mere 10 miles northwest of town. Here, you can enjoy no-wake boating, hiking, biking, fishing and more in a gorgeous setting — and Neighborhood Offshore offers rental kayaks, paddle boards and bikes for your enjoyment! There are 58 total campsites (41 with electrical hookups) with restroom and shower facilities nearby.

 

Two Rivers State Recreation Area

Driving time from Omaha: 30 minutes

Two Rivers Park

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Two Rivers State Recreation Area is located just 30 miles west of Omaha, making it a desirable getaway for locals looking for a fun weekend in the sun. The beach is open annually from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and the lake provides ample opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and more. Plus, campers can enjoy the hiking and equestrian trails! If you’re looking for a unique glamping experience, book a spot in one of the 10 Union Pacific cabooses that have been refurbished into rustic cabins.

Louisville State Recreation Area

Driving time from Omaha: 30 minutes

The Louisville State Recreation Area encompasses 192 acres (including 50 acres of water), and is filled with towering cottonwood trees, shaded docks, grassy shorelines and wildlife. It truly is an idyllic place to spend the weekend! Activities in this area include biking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, hiking and so much more — and both RV and tent camping is available. The newly upgraded camping facilities include showers and restrooms.

 

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Driving time from Omaha: 36 minutes

Eugene T Mahoney

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Located halfway between Omaha and Lincoln, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is a popular outdoorsy retreat for residents of both cities. Luckily, there is plenty of space to accommodate everyone! There are two campgrounds with 149 camping pads and plenty of space for grassy tent camping as well. If you’re looking for more of a glamping experience, consider booking one of the private cabins or take a look at Peter Kiewit Lodge — which features 40 guest rooms overlooking the scenic Platte River Valley.

While you’re in the area, you can visit the aquatic center for a refreshing splash, play a round of golf or mini golf, or book a reservation at the Lodge Restaurant for a delicious meal.

 

Platte River State Park

Driving time from Omaha: 40 minutes

Platte River

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Situated halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, Platte River State Park is known for its magnificent waterfall, scenic hiking and biking trails, and dual observation towers featuring views of the Platte River Basin. If you’re looking to make an overnight trip of your visit, your options range from charming vintage cabins and teepees to first-come, first-serve tent campsites!

 

Waubonsie State Park

Driving time from Omaha: 50 minutes

This 1,990 acre park sits in the Loess Hills of Iowa and includes seven miles of foot trails for exploring the gorgeous terrain. Campers will also find a seven acre fishing pond filled with catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill! There are 40 campsites available (24 with electrical hookups), as well as modern shower and restroom facilities. Half of these are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re looking for a nearby wilderness adventure while you’re here, drive six miles east to the Riverton Wildlife Area.

 

Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area

Driving time from Omaha: 50 minutes

Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area is one of Nebraska’s most popular spots for outdoor fun in the summer — and for good reason! The park features 40 land acres and nearly 300 water acres, and is ripe with opportunity for boating, swimming, water skiing and (of course) camping. The camping area offers 240 non-pad primitive campsites, as well as separated options for RV camping.

 

Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area

Driving time from Omaha: 1 hour

This picturesque state park is located just 60 miles north of Omaha and has everything you need for a fun weekend getaway. You’ll find hiking trails and a 250 acre lake perfect for water sports, fishing, sunbathing, swimming and more! The Lewis and Clark campground is very spacious and includes 112 campsites along the shore. 100 of these include electrical hookups and there are also restrooms, showers, fire grills and picnic areas available for your use.

 

Pawnee State Recreation Area

Driving time from Omaha: 1 hour, 7 minutes

Pawnee State

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Conveniently located just 65 miles southwest of Omaha, the Pawnee State Recreation Area spans more than 2,500 acres (including 740 water acres). The lake welcomes all types of boats, and features three ramps, two docks and two swimming beaches. The opportunities for swimming and water sports make it an ideal getaway on hot summer weekends! As for camping, there are 68 camping pads with electrical hookups, 34 without electricity and 97 non-pad sites. Campsites are typically in the shade and campers will have access to restrooms, showers and water.

 

Lake Anita State Park

Driving time from Omaha: 1 hour, 13 minutes

This lush state park is located over the state border 80 miles east of Omaha and boasts a gorgeous lake, hiking opportunities and a multitude of campsites. The lake is ripe with fish including largemouth bass, crappies, bluegills, channel catfish and walleye, so it is a fisherman’s paradise! Plus, the beach at Lake Anita is a great place for a quick dip or a round of sand volleyball on a summer day.

 

Wagon Train State Recreation Area

Driving time from Omaha: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Wagon Train State Park

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

For a more peaceful camping experience, head to Wagon Train State Recreation Area. With 746 acres of land and a 315 acre lake, the park offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming, picnicking, biking, hunting, boating and so much more. Make a campsite along the idyllic shores of the water and enjoy the sunset — it’s a good reminder of why we are so lucky to live in Nebraska.

 

Branched Oak State Recreation Area

Driving time from Omaha: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Branched Oak

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Water sport enthusiasts, pay attention. The Branched Oak State Recreation Area is the place to be! This spot features the largest lake in eastern Nebraska and is a wonderful destination for fishing, boating and camping. The lake features 1,800 acres of water and two swimming beaches, but you can also explore the hiking and equestrian trails on shore. Campers will find plenty of places to stay with 305 camping pads and 187 non-pad camping sites. Plus, you will have access to five shower houses, modern restrooms and a marina with everything you need for a fun weekend on the water!

 

Indian Cave State Park

Driving time from Omaha: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Indian Cave

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Named for the impressive sandstone cave within the park, Indian Cave State Park spans more than 3,000 acres on the Missouri River. It has gained quite the reputation for its picturesque camping sites, as well as for the 22 miles of gorgeous hiking and biking trails! We recommend the primitive camping option because the tent spaces are tucked into the hills and offer the best views of the surrounding areas. Tent campers will still have access to showers, campfire rings and electrical hookups, but anyone looking for more shelter can seek a spot in the RV campground.

Note: Indian Cave State Park is a wonderful camping destination at any point in time, but it particularly impressive during autumn when the trees put on a colorful show!

 

Ponca State Park

Driving time from Omaha: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Ponca State Park

Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Ponca State Park is set on the picturesque Missouri River bluffs in northeastern Nebraska. Due to the spectacular scenery, wildlife viewing opportunities and varied lodging options, the park is one of Nebraska’s most visited outdoor getaways! Enjoy a wide range of fun activities for the whole family, including biking, golf, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, horseback riding, a shooting range and so much more. Camping accommodations include 92 camping pads with 30- and 50-amp hookups, 53 primitive sites and four group campsites — all with access to showers, picnic tables, fire pits and water spigots.

Enjoy your trip!

Where are your favorite places to go camping in the Omaha area? We would love to hear from happy campers in the comments!


NP Dodge

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