Summertime is the right time to bond with nature. Nebraska State Parks are just the perfect places to do so thanks to scenic hiking trails and majestic forested settings where to enjoy a family picnic or a romantic night.
Here is our top pick of the best Nebraska State Parks you have to check out if you visit Husker Nation this summer. These parks are paradises for trekkers and wildlife spotters but also pack enough modern amenities to make them appealing to the rest of us.
1. Platte River State Park
Platte River State Park is located on the shores of the river of the same name, about halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, and less than 3 miles from Louisville.
Hikers love the steep terrain of this Nebraska State Park and the scenic trails snaking through a lush 420-acre forest across wooden bridges to cabins and tepees available for overnight stays.
Platte River State Park also has a whole bunch of modern amenities which make it the perfect destination for a family day trip. These include a swimming pool, a ballfield, a shooting range, water spots for fishing opportunities, many picnic areas, and two observation decks for stunning vistas of the whole valley.
2. Fort Robinson State Park
This US Army stronghold turned Nebraska State Park is perfect for a walk down in history, from the early days of the Sioux War in 1878 to its abandonment in the late 1940s.
History buffs love to visit the Fort Robinson Museum just as much as campers relish its campsites and cabins scattered over a 22,000-acre area.
There is nothing like hiking and spending the night in this magnificent forested scenery coming across the buffalos and other longhorn herds in the park.
3. Ponca State Park
The beautiful Ponca State Park, just two miles away from a town of the same name, is a premier Nebraska State Park that offers glimpses of the picturesque Missouri River.
The park combines river bottomlands and rolling hills on a timbered 1,400 acres. Not only is it a blooming paradise to hike, but, thanks to a bustling wilderness, it is also a haven for bird watching and wildlife spotting.
To top it all, Ponca State Park offers boating and fishing opportunities while providing cabins and campgrounds for those who want to be rocked to sleep by the howls of coyotes and the chorus of frogs.
4. Niobrara State Park
In Northeast Nebraska where the Missouri and the Niobrara rivers meet, you will find the exceptional Niobrara State Park with its 20 miles of hiking trails and roads.
During your visit, you will encounter a bountiful wilderness, from the water animals (beavers, muskrats, and white-tail deer, etc.) living near the 7 acres of water to majestic birds such as eagles.
Unlike other state parks, Niobrara offers a wider range of camping opportunities including fully-equipped cabins and tents but also RVs in case you want to spend a night serenaded by the park’s tenants.
5. Mahoney State Park
The 706-acre area of this Nebraska State Park is fun-packed with ultra-modern amenities, including restaurants with daily buffet, a golf course, and the impressive 40-room Peter Kiewit Lodge.
E. T. Mahoney State Park also provides a wide range of recreational activities available all year round. During summertime, the scenic trails are great for hiking and for horseback riding.
Beat the summer heat with a refreshing boat and paddleboard ride or by diving down the water slides into the wave pools in the Family Aquatic Center.
For even more activities to do in Nebraska this summer,