Nebraska April 14, 2017
11 Under-Appreciated State Recreation Areas In Nebraska You’re Sure To Love
Nebraska only has eight state parks, but we have tons of state recreation areas, wildlife management areas, state historical parks, and other outdoor spaces in which to enjoy nature. There are the big, well-known areas that draw tens of thousands of visitors every year, and then there are the lesser-known spots that deserve way more attention and appreciation than they get.
1. Gallagher Canyon State Recreation Area, near Cozad
This breathtakingly beautiful site is a bit of a challenge to get to, but it's absolutely worth it. This is the perfect spot for a day of boating, fishing, and picnicking while enjoying the pure beauty of Nebraska.
2. Faucus Springs Wildlife Management Area, Morrill County
Located just east of Chimney Rock, this absolutely beautiful area is 433 acres of freshwater and saltwater marsh. It provides important habitats for waterfowl and shorebirds. It also offers excellent deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunting. There are also opportunities for hiking and primitive camping in this unique area.
3. Rockford State Recreation Area, near Beatrice
Half of this 300-acre recreation area is taken up by a scenic lake that offers decent fishing and boating. The swimming beach is probably the most popular attraction in the summer, and after you swim you can make a tasty meal on one of the 88 grills scattered around the site.
4. Pibel Lake Recreation Area, near Ericson
The relatively small 72-acre recreation area includes a 24-acre lake. There's a whole lot of fun packed into this little area, including great fishing, a playground, primitive camping, boating (for smaller boats) and picnicking.
5. Bridgeport State Recreation Area, near Bridgeport
Not far from the most iconic rock formations in western Nebraska, this recreation area includes five sandpit lakes with a combined total of 78 acres of water. The trees and shrubs here are particularly lush and beautiful, making this place feel a bit like paradise.
6. Keller Park State Recreation Area, Near Ainsworth
Keller Park is a uniquely attractive spot for anglers because it's one of only a few spots to offer both rainbow trout and warm weather species fishing. This is a wildlife-lover's paradise, with tons of untamed land for hiking, primitive camping, and birdwatching.
7. Box Butte Reservoir State Recreation Area, near Hemingford
The 1600-acre lake here makes for perfect fishing and boating opportunities. But there are also plenty of land-based activities including camping, grilling, and some of the best birdwatching in the state. There's even a swimming beach for those hot summer days.
8. Liberty Cove Recreation Area, near Lawrence
Liberty Cove shines all year round, but there's a surprisingly robust list of winter activities here that includes cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice skating. Take advantage of the archery range and equestrian trails for a unique day out.
9. Danish Alps State Recreation Area, Hubbard
This incredibly picturesque little recreation area features a 219-acre lake and 520 acres of park. The area was designed to offer excellent boat and shoreline fishing, and it features an ADA-accessible fishing pier. Equestrian camping facilities also make it possible to camp and relax with your horse.
10. Maskenthine Lake Recreation Area, near Norfolk
This lovely spot is managed by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District. You'll find excellent fishing here along with hiking, biking, and equestrian trails and tons of other outdoor activities. There's even ice skating when the weather is super-cold.
11. Lone Star Recreation Area, near Ohiowa
Take advantage of lots of trails here, along with a floating dock, fishing pier, RV camping, a swimming beach, and picnic shelters. It's a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon.
Whether managed by Nebraska Game and Parks, the Natural Resources Districts, or any of the many organizations dedicated to protecting and promoting our natural spaces, all of these areas are worth a visit. Check them all out, but don’t forget about our
eight official Nebraska state parks as well.