Beaches and Nebraska? Probably not two words you thought you’d see together. Even though landlocked Nebraska is about as far away from the ocean as you can get in the United States, there are several completely natural white sand beaches and grassy, rocky shorelines to enjoy. No matter what you’re looking for, Nebraska has the beach for you. There’s also definitely the vacation rental for you. So pack your bags and get going. The beach is waiting for you. Find vacation rentals in Nebraska.
1. Lake McConaughy
With 100 miles of white, sandy shoreline and cool, clear waters, Lake McConaughy, or Lake Mac, would fit anyone’s definition of a beautiful beach. There are plenty of recreation opportunities to be had as well. You can go camping, fishing, boating, water skiing, wind surfing, scuba diving, you name it!
2. Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area
This hidden gem is one of four areas known collectively as the Southwest Reservoirs. It’s the perfect combination of recreation and wildlife with a family-friendly atmosphere. With a 2,146-acre Wildlife Refuge on the western reaches of the lake, Enders make a nice escape for any outdoor enthusiasts wanting to enjoy nature.
3. Iron Horse Lake
Camping, grilling, swimming, and making sand castles are just a few of the fun family beach activities that are offered at Iron Horse Lake. Located near DuBois in Pawnee County, no wonder this lake is a southeast Nebraska favorite. Fun fact: this was the first public recreation area opened by Nebraska’s Natural Resource Districts in 1985.
4. Calamus Reservoir
This extremely popular fishing destination in the Sandhills has a lot to offer. Besides the swimming beach, there are five boat ramps, hiking trails, camping grounds, and it’s just a great place to get away from it all. The modern campgrounds here have 122 sites with electrical hookups, modern restrooms and showers, a dump station, and water.
5. Lewis and Clark Lake
The Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, set on the second largest lake in the state, is a beloved place to get out into nature and spend some time with family and friends. Its breathtaking natural beauty is just one of its stand-out features. There are three separate campgrounds, sandy beaches, modern resort facilities, and marinas.
6. Branched Oak Lake
Branched Oak Lake is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for some untamed, natural beauty. The campgrounds have restrooms, showers, drinking water, and four dump stations. There are 338 pad sites, and ample space for primitive camping too. There’s even an area where you can camp with your horse! Hiking and camping are most popular here but the area also has four boat ramps, fish cleaning station, and a network of hiking, biking, and horse trails.
7. Fremont Lakes
Fremont Lakes in eastern Nebraska is a peaceful place to spend the afternoon or camp for a night or two. You’ll love the natural sand bottoms of the 20 sandpit lakes that make up this recreation area. This is a favorite area with campers, but many also come for great swimming, boating, fishing, and water skiing. If you’re traveling with kids, remember, safety first! The swimming beach is unsupervised. Pack a picnic and make the day of it! Forgot to bring your own food? That’s okay! Head to The Tow Line Restaurant located on Victory Lake. This grill and convenience shop serves breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, and seafood.
8. Johnson Lake
If you’re looking for some water recreation, come to Johnson Lake. Even though this recreation area is only 68 acres, it still packs a lot of outdoor fun. From fishing and swimming to boating and water skiing, Johnson Lake has got it all. Plus the two campgrounds and a golf course, you’ll definitely want to stay a while. The main campground is on the southeast side of the lake and has 82 camper pads with electrical hookups and 30 additional non-designated campsites.
9. Mormon Island Recreation Area
Named for the winter stopover used by Mormon emigrants heading westward, Mormon Island State Recreation Area is part of Nebraska’s unique “Chain of Lakes.” It’s a fantastic place to watch the annual Sandhill cranes migration. Each spring, over half a million Sandhill cranes congregate on the Nebraska Platte River. A variety of geese, ducks, and other waterfowl also come here before heading farther north. This recreation area was created in the 1960’s to add some recreational opportunities to the area, like the swimming area and fishing and boating areas.
10. Oliver Reservoir
Oliver Reservoir in western Nebraska is the ultimate playground for all water enthusiasts. Come here to fish, water ski, boat or swim. Located 8 miles west of Kimball, it’s the only water-based recreational facility in the southwest Panhandle. Most of the recreation facilities are on the north shore of the lake. The south side of the lake has been left in its primitive state for hiking, fishing, and hunting. Because Oliver Reservoir is a two-story lake, it can support both cold-water and warm-water species meaning there are great fishing opportunities. With 175 camping spots, you can stay overnight, or maybe even for a few days.
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