The best camping near
Ainsworth, NEBRASKA

29 Reviews 28 Campgrounds
EXPLORE
Most Recent Ainsworth Camping Reviews
Just Gorgeous!

The family was here this past weekend and all I can say is BEAUTIFUL! The falls are majestic, the river is serene, the camp spots are big, quiet nights, stunning stars, just a real treat for the family! This is a new favorite for us and we will be back for sure!

Pit stop

Smith Falls State Park in NE is a good stop over while floating on the river. An awesome waterfall to hike to and some interesting roads to drive in on. Not good for RV’s unless you have 4 wheel drive and a high clearance type camper. This is the typical basic campground. There was a group present on a float trip and I learned that this is the highest waterfall in NE, which just goes to show how flat the state is :) Seeiously though it is worth a look.

Base camp

Wacky West Travel Park had very nice and helpful owners. Make sure you have the phone number because their office hours are limited so that they can keep up the park. It’s small and a little crowded but serves the purpose of a base camp or overnight location.

I attended a “Sisters on the Fly” event in Valentine, NE and this is were we all met and camped. The owners squeezed us all in and gave us a discount for our stay. One nice thing is you are in the middle of town right off the main drag so you can walk anywhere in town pretty easily.

The restroom and shower are keyed which you receive when you check in. Down side to that I forgot to drop my key in the mail slot when I left and had to go back to do so.

There is electric/water hook up at each site, not much in the way of shade , limitedfire rings and picnic tables. You could tell several of the sites were more towards permanent dwellings and some of the sites sat right on the entry road so you step out your camper door into the road. These sites were stacked so two of our group didn’t even try to unhook their campers.

If you’ve never experienced sand burrs Nebraska has them and they are horrible on dogs feet. The owner of the campground made extra efforts to keep the burrs out of the immediate camping area but my dogs still picked up several. There is a cattle yard directly behind the campground so I’m not sure how it smells when it’s hot, we were there in cold weather so it was not an issue.

Valentine has events going on and the Niobrara River is a main attraction, several of the group did a kayak float and explored the waterfalls along the river. We also walked to dinner within 1/4 mile at an excellent restaurant, Peppermill Steakhouse, worth a visit.

The three stars is due to the location, cramped accommodations and no recreation in the immediate area. However the owners were very accommodating and the facilities were well maintained. I would stay there again. Also I lost the pictures of the campground and Valentine but included the nearby recreation areas.

Useful

Valentine City Park in Valentine, NE is not a vacation destination per-say. That being said it is a highly useful place if you are passing through or in the area for an event/family get together,etc.

Down a side street off the main “drag” of Valentine, you drive through a neighborhood and down the hill to a nice, shaded typical city park. There is a creek that meanders through the middle of the park with several bridges, vehicle and foot, that connect a nice little trail and disc golf area and also a rentable venue(there was a wedding/reception going on when we visited). A playground, restroom and parking areas. The sites are basic, fire ring, maybe a picnic table and run along the creek. Once again this is a city park so there are more passerby’s then at regular campgrounds but for the most part it was quiet.

There is a “lake” across the road but it doesn’t really seem to be a recreation type place, or maybe it was just a slow week because other things were going on. (A Cowboy event and cattle roundup) So, functional and things to do but there are better recreation areas nearby if your are looking for a destination to camp and fish, explore.

I lost all my pictures of Valentine and the park but have included the nearby recreation areas. Valentine has the usual, fuel, truck stop(showers), food and entertainment. There were several excellent restaurants but some have limited hours.

Wonderful Park along Niobrara

Perfect hiking areas. Primitive camping. Wonderful and well built trail up to the tallest waterfall in Nebraska

Almost backwoods

Right along the Niobrara River you can truly emerge yourself in the wonders of Nebraska wildlife. Have to go through a lot of ranch land to get there, but in the end there's no service, no running water and all stars

WiFi kinda sucked

This is a very nice campground. I was here for an overnight stay. Staff was very friendly. Sites are large pull through a with full hookups. They state there is free high speed wifi, However, while I was there I was unable to connect and it is not secure! The campground is well maintained and offers a quiet stop for those traveling through. It could also make for a better location for bigger rigs to stop and unhitch so that you can explore the area without a big rig on your back. I will certainly return here again!!

Not for RV's

per se..I was considering staying here, but after a visit without my rig on my back, I decided it wasn't for me. A very long, graded, extremely bumpy road to the State Park. Also a couple of 7-8% grades along the route. Campground is small. Seems to be mostly for people in tents, floating the river. I did see one pop-up trailer camped there. most sites are what I would call walk-in, as the signs indicate "no vehicles beyond this point". So glad I did'nt pull my rig down here. And, while I didn't stay here, I think my review can be helpful to others with RV's. Especially rigs bigger than my 27 foot travel trailer.

Great outfitter on the Niobrara

I have been going to Sharps for 15+ years. We tent camp and the sights are always clean. Best spots along the river! We will continue to go for years to come and wont stay anywhere else. Great staff…great location…great outfitter!!!

Tent Camping

We have tent camped at Sharps for the last 10 years. The campsite is always clean and the staff is warm and friendly. They make sure we have the best possible experience. We will only tent camp here.

Hospitable and diverse

There are different campgrounds for different people! There is a separate campground for more quiet people and a campground for people who like to stay up late and listen to music (my friends)! We have been going for almost 5 years know and they us every time we come!

nice

close to town but quiet

good

a great place for get togethers

fun

such a pretty spot!

great

a nice little park

nice

a good place for gatherings

nice little store

the starting place for tubing down the river, has station with bathrooms, very helpful.

cute little cabins!

stayed here after our wedding reception, and good place to get away with everything you could need provided!

Pretty!

a fun place to relax in a cute little town, faaar from cell reception!

So much fun!

We have went tubing here multiple times over the years, Smith Falls is a great place to grab lunch halfway and cool off!

tiny and cute!

Such a gorgeous little area. Liked it so much we got married in Long Pine!

Love it!

Secluded with lots of shade, a fun place to get away! Far from town, so bring everything you need!

Best Spot after a river float

This is by far my fave area to stay after a day on the river. Great for groups, best for when you want to get away from all the people. The second half of the river is the best so it’s a great spot since it is also a take out.

Friendly Outfitter right on the Niobrara River

Rocky Ford is one of many outfitter and private campground choices in stunning Northwest Nebraska on the Niorbrara River. We chose to tent camp here for it’s club house amenities and location on the river down stream from Smith Falls State Park. You’ll have close neighbors at this camp but every one is there to enjoy a float down the river and respectful of the 11pm quite time. Honestly we stayed up later than that playing music at a reasonable level and the river drowns out any noise from nearby campers. You’ll sleep like a baby with the rapids creating wonderful soothing sounds. We had beautiful sunny skies and some famous midwest thunderstorms on each of our two day, two night stays here. Be ready to get sandy here, you will be way up in the Sandhills and the 7 eccosystems in the area. There are basically minimum maintenance roads in and out of the camp so we had our fingers crossed getting out of really sloppy roads pulling a trailer with a Nissan Rogue but we made it. The club house is really close. Expect typical restroom conditions with lots of sand. You’re on a river float trip if you are staying here, not a 5 star resort. They charge $8 per person to camp but children 9 or younger are free. You must be using them for a booked float down the river to stay here. They offer many choices for how you float and for how long. They will drop you off up steam and you just get out at the camp at the end of your float. Pay attention to the bus driver for directions on the river to must see nature opportunities and where to get out at. I’d definitely stay at Rocky Ford again.

Childhood Memories

I visited this place back in the late 90's.  I figured it was time I reviewed it.  My fondest memories were of the mosquitos.  Bring some high percentage deet bug spray for your protection.  The waters of the Niobrara are some of the best in the world for recreational canoeing or tubing.  The frequent sandbars of the river make it perfect for those who want to take a break from time to time.  Smith Falls itself is very beautiful and worth it for the quick cold shower. 

Primarily, this area is for those who wish to take a day or two to canoe the river.  I would prefer the guided tour so you don't miss things like the 45 degree water that naturally feeds the river from underground springs. There are usually just class one rapids on this river, so anyone should be able to enjoy the waters the whole trip.

Family fun

This is a small park right on the Niobrara River. We had a great time playing in the falls and wading close to shore in the river. We were there during the week so it was not very busy with campers but before lunch time there was a wave of tubers that took over the falls area for a brief time before moving on. This area is amazing for stargazing because it is incredibly dark at night but bring a lot of bug spray, the mosquitoes could carry away small pets.

Nice little find!

Our family along with my parents stayed three nights at this campground in July. Unfortunately, we chose the hottest weekend of the summer to get away for a few days. Fortunately, we stayed in this area as the creeks are natural spring fed thus super cold. We spent time at this park and at Long Pine State Park (and in Long Pine actually - a different review for another time but not a bad place to spend some time).

The electrical at our campsite didn't work and we reported this right away and then moved to the next site over. We saw an electrician come out the same day but he didn't get it fixed. The first site would have been shadier but all the sites out there are spacious and we had good privacy.

This park isn't manned by the State and it's self-check-in. There are bathroom houses that weren't horrible. There seemed to be an abundant amount of water hydrants. It was a nice area to walk through in the morning and evenings. (It was just too hot during the day!) The creek was fun to play in during the day. The creek moves very quickly and it is steep getting down to it. We all made it safely back and forth though.

There were some ponds that were interesting though I'm not sure how useful. You cannot canoe or kayak them. I would guess that you can fish in them but we were too hot to do any fishing. And the water was quite still so I'm guessing bugs would have been an issue.

This would be a great place to stay if you are in the area for any reason and have a camper that needs hookups. Pine Ridge State Park doesn't have hookups but it's a quiet, pretty park as well.

There isn't a lot to do but for general hanging out and sleeping purposes, it was quite suitable.

Rural Nebraska River Camping

I have camped in this campground multiple times in different configurations including tent camping in a lager group of friends, with a small group of friends in a pop-up camper, and tent camping with small children and pets in tow. Camping here is primitive, so expect to get dirty and be ready for mosquitoes.That said, every time I have visited, I have had a blast. The area is beautiful Nebraska sand hills and prairie. You can even hear coyotes at night. The main attraction of course is tubing/canoeing the river. Local outfitters work with you to ride the shallow Niobrara river to the campground, and then will pick you up further down the river the next day. There are other campgrounds in the area, but I prefer to stay here because of the waterfall. The campground can be busy, but that has never disrupted our stay. Bathrooms and pay showers are basic, but clean. There is a general store at the main entrance and staff are helpful.

Smith falls

This campground is awesome with a waterfall. There is no RV camping. There is tables water, restrooms and showers. There is hikes but only stay on designated trails.