Nebraska boasts plentiful dedicated dog parks featuring play ponds, reservoirs, as well as parts of the North Platte River, which offers natural recreation areas. This easygoing state is perfect for exploring and enjoying the great outdoors with your best furry, four-legged friend. Book a stay at an incredible Nebraska vacation rental near these popular dog-friendly beaches.

1. Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area

The Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area is located in Papillion, south of Omaha and part of the metro area. This park is a 450-acre green space, with more than three of those acres set aside for off-leash dog fun. The dog area is fenced in on three sides with a lake on the fourth side, so your pet can frolic along the beach and in the water to his heart’s content. After play, go for a walk around the rest of the park, as long as your dog is properly leashed. There’s a lake, hiking trails, equestrian trails, and even fishing. There are several pet-friendly vacation rentals nearby. In fact, if you book one near the Chalco Hills Recreation Area, you and your pup can explore both areas. Chalco also has a dog park located within it, but it does lack a swimming area. While you’re in the area, stop at Cabela’s, the perfect store for the outdoor enthusiast. The store has a special outdoor area where dogs can play while you play too (inside). The store has an aquarium, shooting gallery, and conservation mountain as well as a deli and toys for the adults.

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2. Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Located in western Nebraska, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is just north of Ogallala. The lake itself covers over 35,000 acres with natural areas such as Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area, Clear Creek State Waterfowl Management Area, and Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area on top of that. Dogs are allowed as long as they’re kept on a 6-foot leash, so they can enjoy the beaches and swimming areas. Aside from the miles of pet-friendly trails, there are plenty of other aspects that make this area a great place to grab a vacation house for the week. There are pet-friendly houses available, a few of which are even located on the lake, giving you private beach and water access. After your dog romps through the wet sand, let him nap as you try some water sports at Big Mac Parasailing or explore some of the shore-side canyons. This lake boasts the best fishing in the state, with trophy-sized walleye, catfish, rainbow trout, and white bass. If you visit in late summer, Lake Ogallala Recreation Area sponsors a Dog Tails on Lake Trails event, where you can go hiking with your dog, participate in dog competitions, and get dog treats for your pup as door prizes.

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3. Holmes Lake Recreation Area

Within Lincoln is Holmes Lake Recreation Area, which has an entire 26 fenced-in acres just for dogs with a small dog area for tiny pooches who are too shy to venture near the bigger ones. The park offers wooded stands, fields, and even a creek. Your dog can swim in the water as much as he wants. If you put your pooch on a leash, you can enjoy the rest of the recreation area together. Holmes Lake is surrounded by walking trails, bridges, and lookout points. Come at night to watch the stars from the Hyde Memorial Observatory. For an even bigger adventure, jump on MoPac, Rock Island, or Homestead Corridor Trails. These trails are for dogs, horses, hikers, or bikers, and they’re made from old railroad lines, giving you and your pooch an interesting perspective of Lincoln.

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4. Platte River State Park

Platte River State Park lies along the southern loop of the Platte River in Louisville. The 519-acre park includes rolling hills, bluffs, and forest, an oasis of natural beauty not far from downtown Omaha. Not only can your dog play in the water – as long as it’s not a designated beach or swim area – but he can go on a hiking adventure as long as he’s leashed and away from food service areas. Let him join you on a boat trip with Bryson’s Airboat Tours, or just relax at the river with your pup while you do some fishing. If you have any alone time, head to the archery range or shooting range.

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5. Two Rivers State Recreation Area

Also near Omaha, just to the west, is the Two Rivers State Recreation Area along the Platte River in Waterloo. Other than river access and 302 acres of woodlands, there are seven sandpit lakes covering 320 acres. Keep your dog leashed, but otherwise, he can participate in the water fun. If you visit during hunting season, your pup can enjoy off-leash frolicking as long as he’s under voice control. If you want to take a break from the outdoors, head to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, where you can enjoy free kenneling for your dog.

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