Top 10 Beaches in Nebraska

Published on August 3rd, 2021

What are the Most Popular Beaches in Nebraska

The Great Plains do have great beaches, too — just wait and see! It may be known as the Cornhusker State, but Nebraska is awash with beautiful lakesides well worth exploring. Here are a few to put onto your list next time you’re wandering through the heartland.

Top Beaches in Nebraska

1. Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area Beach

2. Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach

3. Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach

4. Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach

5. Fremont State Recreation Area Beach

6. Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area Beach

7. Pawnee State Recreation Area Beach

8. Louisville State Recreation Area Beach

9. Wagon Trail Lake State Recreation Area Beach

10. Iron Horse Trail Lake Beach

Nebraska Beaches

Here are 10 stunning Nebraska beaches you don’t want to miss!

1. Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area Beach

Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area nebraska
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

With soft, white sands, clear blue waters and endless skies above, a visit to the beach at Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area will make you feel you’ve ventured much further afield than southwestern Nebraska — but indeed, that’s where you’ll find this gem! Along with ample opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and even beach-front camping, this lake is beloved by locals for paddling, kayaking, water skiing, windsurfing, SCUBA diving and more. Because of the soft footing and gentle, shallow waters, this beach is a good one for those traveling with small kids and other not-so-strong swimmers. There’s also an on-site resort with camping cabins… but you RVers won’t have to worry about finding the best digs!

Things to do near the Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area Beach: Only a short drive from the place where Colorado corners its way into Nebraska, this western plains recreation area is fairly distant from any of the state’s big cities. That said, there are still some excellent RVshare vehicles in the area to check out!

2. Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach

Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area nebraska
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

Nestled even further southwest into the state, the Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area is well-known for its beachfront, and enjoys additional prestige as a wildlife refuge in the fall and winter seasons. Because it’s a preserved landscape for waterfowl and other species to enjoy, it’s not as highly developed as some of the other public lands in this area, but it’s still an excellent place to enjoy a beach day, particularly if you’re after a more rugged, untouched look at southwestern Nebraska.

Things to do near the Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach: While the state recreation area itself doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities, it’s right around the corner from a well-manicured 9-hole golf course, and several campgrounds are available nearby. Here are some local RVshare rentals to choose from as you plan your trip to this remote part of Nebraska.

3. Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach

Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area nebraska
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

Another rugged, off-the-beaten-path reservoir in southwestern Nebras, the Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area offers an undeveloped beachfront where golden sands and green grasses merge right at the lip of the lake. Along with classic beach-day activities, like swimming and sunbathing, this area is well loved by boaters and watersports enthusiasts. And although the park itself is fairly undeveloped, there is a nearby waterside restaurant, campgrounds, a ranch with a hunting club, and wilderness hiking trails all around the lake’s perimeter.

Things to do near the Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach: The nearby town of Stratton may be small, but it’s got you covered when it comes to basic vacation necessities — and offers a couple of great down-home restaurants, to boot. Here are some local RVshare rentals to put on your “maybe” list.

4. Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach

Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area nebraska
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

Broad, golden-sanded shores offer plenty of room to spread out a towel or pitch a tent, and windsurfers are commonly spotted along the cerulean surface of the lake. Need more incentive to visit the beach at Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area? Nestled darn near smack-dab into the heart of Nebraska, this beautiful lake wilderness is accessible by a wide variety of Nebraskans (and others, for that matter), and comprises both the 5,123-ace lake and nearly 5,000 acres of surrounding countryside, which is criss-crossed with hiking trails and populated with native grasses and other local flora and fauna.

Things to do near the Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area Beach: As one of the most popular vacation zones in Nebraska, it’s no surprise that this state recreation area is surrounded by tourist-specific amenities, including marine and sports shops, campgrounds, eateries, and  another gorgeous golf course. Here are some local RVshare rentals in the area to consider for on-your-own-terms lodging.

5. Fremont State Recreation Area Beach

Fremont State Recreation Area Beach nebraska
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

Where the Platte River runs through the city of Fremont, it breaks out into a collection of small but scenic lakes — which is what the Fremont State Recreation Area protects and takes advantage of. Along with showers and restrooms, this state recreation area offers guests an enticing lakefront beach for swimming, sunbathing and more, and is especially beloved by parents for its roped-off, shallow section specifically for smaller swimmers.

Things to do near the Fremont State Recreation Area Beach: The city of Fremont is home to Midland University, and like many college towns, it offers more than its fair share of cultural attractions and entertainment options. Wander its quaint downtown to peruse shops and restaurants, or revel in one of the many maintained green spaces and parks that round out the preserve that this state recreation area provides.

6. Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area Beach

Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Beach
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

If you’re looking for the ultimate beach getaway, the Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area Beach is it. This sprawling state recreation area includes tons of sandy shorelines, yes — but also several on-site campgrounds, its very own marina, picnic facilities and more. In fact, this park’s beach is so lovely, it’s landed the number-one spot on many top-10 beaches in Nebraska lists online, and there’s also a playground available to keep your kids entertained once they get sick of splashing. Along the lakeshore, you can see sailors, pontoon boaters, paddle boarders and a variety of other watersports enthusiasts take to the waves.

Things to do near the Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area Beach: Although it’s technically not part of the park, the nearby Branched Oak Observatory is the perfect spot for those who are fascinated by the night sky — which, thanks to this area’s away-from-it-all locale, is dark enough to show even the most distant celestial bodies. Meanwhile, the city of Lincoln waits just twenty minutes away, the perfect combination of urban and rural adventure. Here are some local RVshare rentals and campgrounds to consider.

7. Pawnee State Recreation Area Beach

Pawnee State Recreation Area Beach nebraska
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

Another uber-popular Lincoln-area getaway destination, Pawnee State Recreation Area offers not just one, but two soft, sandy beaches that edge up on the lake’s blue water, along with other developments and amenities to make for a thrilling family beach day (or family beach weekend). The park offers two on-site campgrounds for both tent campers and RVers, hookups included, as well as rental cabins for those who prefer to glamp it up sticks-and-bricks style. The Pawnee State Park Outdoor Shotgun Range is the perfect place to practice your aim and fire, and on-site horse corrals make it easy to camp with your four-legged, hooved family members, too.

Things to do near the Pawnee State Recreation Area Beach: Although this all-inclusive public land offers everything you need to feel truly rested and revitalized in nature, it’s situated only 20 minutes away from downtown Lincoln — which has all its own unique charms to offer visitors and residents alike. Take the kids to the Lincoln Children’s Museum or treat yourself to some fine dining and nightlife. Either way, we’ve got you covered as far as local RVshare rentals and campgrounds are considered.

8. Louisville State Recreation Area Beach

Louisville State Recreation Area beach nebraska While its name might first bring to mind Kentucky, think again! Louisville is also a place in Nebraska — and one characterized by some of the most beautiful Platte River beachside the state has to offer. A well-developed state recreation area with a variety of campsites, both modern restrooms and vault toilets, on-site showers and more, this preserve is perhaps best known for its stunning soft-sand beaches, along with the boat docks that make it easy to launch and access any vessel you might want to sail along its waves. Meanwhile, it’s all surrounded by the deep green Nebraska foliage you expect along the riverside, and only a short drive from both of Nebraska’s major population centers.

Things to do near the Louisville State Recreation Area Beach: Approximately halfway between Omaha and Lincoln, this state recreation area is unsurprisingly a popular option for a variety of big-city Nebraskans looking for a beach day, not to mention those from further afield. It’s also only a few minutes away from Platte River State Park, which offers all its own worthwhile attractions. Here are some local RVshare rentals and campgrounds to consider.

9. Wagon Trail Lake State Recreation Area Beach

Wagon Trail Lake State Recreation Area nebraska
Image via outdoornebraska.gov

Heading further south into Nebraska’s reaches outside of the town of Lincoln, the Wagon Trail Lake State Recreation Area waits, offering stunning scenery as well as perfectly swimmable and sunbathe-able beachfronts. The sandy shore is perfect for sand-castle building, playfully burying your kids or partner (with their consent), and simply sitting back to enjoy the stunning sunsets that so frequently make their presence known above the dappled clouds that form in this part of the state. It’s also the perfect lake for kayaking and other paddle sports!

Things to do near the Wagon Trail Lake State Recreation Area: A half-hour’s drive southeast of Lincoln, this state recreation area is both easy to reach and far enough away to make you feel like you’ve truly gotten away from it all, the perfect combination for a beach getaway destination from the city. Not sure where to stay? We’ve got you covered with the best RVshare rental vehicles and campgrounds in the Lincoln area.

10. Iron Horse Trail Lake Beach

Iron Horse Trail Lake nebraska
Image via visitnebraska.com

Ready to truly get away from it all? Escape to a rugged beachside tucked deep into Nebraska’s southernmost depths, just minutes from both the Kansas and Missouri borders. The blue waters and peachy-white sands are framed by beautiful green Nebraska grasses and overhanging tree branches, and the natural areas around the lake are well-preserved and ready for your family to kick back and enjoy the great outdoors. The park has also installed a volleyball net so you and the family (or a group of friends!) can enjoy a friendly competitive game if you need to work up a sweat after chilling lakeside for a few hours.

Things to do near the Iron Horse Trail Lake Beach: Located about equidistant from the small towns of Pawnee City and Du Bois, this lakeside beach is an excellent off-the-beaten-path choice for those who aren’t into crowds but are into wide-open spaces. Enjoy having your space to yourself — especially when you travel in an RVshare rental, to boot!

Planning an RV Trip to Nebraska

See? Nebraska is a stunning beach state after all — although the beaches certainly aren’t the only reason to visit! An RV trip is the perfect way to see everything Nebraska has to offer, and we can get you all set up with the perfect rental rig and the details you need to make the trip happen your way.

For instance, we’ve covered the best state parks in Nebraska to see and stay in, as well as the top 10 campgrounds and RV parks in the entire state. We’ve also written guides to Omaha and Lincoln for you city slickers — as well as this beach guide, a guide to Nebraska’s must-see landmarks, and more!

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