Get off of I-80 in Nebraska

I mean I get it if you are trying to get somewhere quick but want to see what Nebraska has to offer in all reality? Take highway 2 through the Sandhills. You’ll see Nebraska isn’t flat. Plus you can see the largest man made forest too. Go further North and take US highway 20 across the northern plains of the state and see the beauty of the Pine Rodge and the Niobrara.
There are great places to camp across the state. From forested lands and lakes to historic spots and near the weird.
So what are some of your favorite Nebraska spots to camp?


I’m a huge fan of Niobrara State Park. They have great tent camping and several cabins, but it’s all very secluded and a relatively small campground. Beautiful views of the Niobrara river merging with other water ways. It’s a great pit stop before or after a float trip. Lots of hunters (deer and pheasant) use the campground as home base. They can’t hunt in the State Park so they head out to the surrounding area. Bonus if heading west, you can drive through the Black Hills!


The highway 2 route is amazing! Our family travels that route whenever possible when heading west from Omaha. Smith Falls is a favorite of ours for camping. Just beyond peaceful even with all the people floating by, and you can’t beat Chadron State Park either!

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I forgot about the campgrounds in Alma, NE! Opposite direction (southern border of NE instead of northern). There is a city campground for those looking to RV camp and two large camp sites around the lake that are suitable for RV or tent camping. The flooding was really bad last year and much of the sites were shut down, but it sounds like they have recovered nicely. I’ll be checking it out for the 4th of July.

I like the part about getting off I-80 and taking HWY 2. I love coming into Crawford from the south. One minute you are in farm land the next you are careening down a rugged gully with the Pine Ridge before you.

Other places off 1-80- Check out Harlan County Reservoir in Southern Nebraska on the Republican River. USACE camping, so clean flush toilets, hot showers, full hookups, nice setting, $16!

Hey, I just wanted to say thank you to the original poster of this thread (@Justin_R)!!

We took Neb 2 from Ansley westbound, stayed 2 nights at the Bessey Rec Complex, then 5 nights at Chadron SP. Enjoyed every minute of it. The drive was very scenic, and we floated the Middle Loup River near Thedford. The stay at Chadron SP was very nice, a beautiful park with an awesome swimming pool.

Sure glad I found this thread. Next time we travel west, I’ll head up towards the Valentine, NE area for a bit.