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Ponca State Park RV & Campground Guide

Nebraska

Ponca State Park is located on the banks of the Missouri River in the north-eastern corner of Nebraska. It’s just four miles north of Ponca and covers an area measuring around 2,400 hectares. The region is celebrated for its geological diversity, as visitors can expect a variety of landscapes ranging from scenic mountain bluffs and prairies, to woodland and forested ravines. Ponca State Park is also home to a number of animals, with white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, barred owl, and bald eagles commonly sighted. If they’re lucky, visitors may also see coyotes, red and gray foxes, raccoons and bobcats.

Ponca is just one of eight state parks within Nebraska, but it’s heralded as having one of the state's most comprehensive environmental education programs, inviting visitors to learn about the history, biology, ecology, astronomy, geology and archeology of the area. There’s also plenty of recreational activities to enjoy, including exploring over 20 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, swimming, fishing, boating, horseback riding, and more. In Ponca, the summers are long and warm, while the winters are freezing, dry, and windy. The state park is open year-round for visitors to enjoy, however, so you’ll certainly want to keep reading to ensure you come prepared!

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Weather
Spring 24°F - 74°F
Summer 58°F - 87°F
Fall 24°F - 78°F
Winter 8°F - 36°F
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Nearby Cities
Ponca, NE
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Ponca State Park

If you’re thinking about staying in or near Ponca State Park, why not do so in an RV? Unlike tents, RVs provide you with a soft, comfortable bed, as well as your own private bathroom and fully-stocked kitchen. If you don’t own an RV, you can rent an RV fromRVshare.com to suit your budget or needs. All rentals come with nationwide insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and a world-class team dedicated to helping you succeed.

Ponca State Park has its own camping facilities on-site, including two modern campgrounds with 30/50 amp electrical hookups, paved lots, showers, dump station, fire pits, and more. Due to popularity, these campgrounds tend to fill up quickly, so we’ve also listed some additional campgrounds within the region below.

Sioux City North KOA Holiday

Located 40 minutes’ drive across the border and in South Dakota is theSioux City North KOA Holiday. Full hookup RV sites are available, as well as a wide range of amenities and activities to help you and your family have a more comfortable stay.

  • Water hookup: yes

  • Electrical hookup: yes

  • Sewer hookup: yes

  • Wifi: yes

  • Pet-friendly: yes

  • Other amenities: restrooms, showers, heated swimming pool, jumping pillow, mini golf, laundry facilities, souvenir/gift shop, dog park, bike rentals.

Elk Point City Park and Campground

Elk Point City Park and Campground has 23 campsites with electric hook ups, as well as other amenities such as a water spicket, which is accessible for water usage. No grey water dump station is available, however visitors highly rate the beautifully landscaped park, proximity to the region’s popular destinations, and low rate of just $15 per night.

  • Water hookup: yes

  • Electrical hookup: yes

  • Sewer hookup: no

  • Wifi: no

  • Pet-friendly: yes

  • Other amenities: fire pits, picnic tables, shelters, volleyball court, ball diamonds, park equipment, bathhouse.

Weigand Campground

If you don’t mind staying just over an hour’s drive from the state park, then you’ll feel right at home atWeigand Campground. This highly rated campground provides plenty of amenities for you and your family and is within a recreation area, which is part of the scenic Lewis and Clark Lake.

  • Water hookup: yes

  • Electrical hookup: yes

  • Sewer hookup: no

  • Wifi: no

  • Pet-friendly: yes

  • Other amenities: picnic tables, grills, water, toilets, showers, dump station, playground, trails.

RV Rentals Near Ponca State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Ponca State Park

Inside Ponca State Park

While camping at Ponca State Park is impressive, it’s the activities on offer within the park that has tourists flocking here all year round. With over 20 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, a swimming pool, golf course, boat ramp, and more within its boundaries, you can enjoy all sorts of fun and family-friendly activities. 

Trails : Hiking and biking trails wind through the deep ravines and hilltop ridges of the park. The most popular of these is the Three State Overlook, which offers a scenic blufftop view of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. The Old Oak Trail features a bur oak tree dating back to 1644, while the Education Center Nature Trail is a great trail for all ages and abilities. 

Swimming : In the summer, swimmers can cool off at the park's swimming pool where lifeguards are on duty. There are also water fountains and a water slide for visitors to enjoy. Usually, the swimming pool doesn’t open until the second Saturday of June and is open on weekends only from the middle of August until Labor Day.

Golfing : The Highland Oaks Public Golf Course is a 9-hole course located on the southern boundary of the park. It’s one of the best kept courses in Siouxland and also offers a spacious clubhouse with sprawling views.

Boating : A boat ramp, canoe/kayak launch, and 3 miles of river access offers boaters many opportunities to experience the Missouri National Recreational River. 

Fishing : Access to the Missouri River also gives anglers wonderful opportunities to catch species such as catfish, sauger, walleye, drum, and more. The park also has Youth Fishing Programs twice a week and a Fishing Tackle Loaner Program.

Outside Ponca State Park

When you’re staying at Ponca State Park, it’s also worth spending some time outside of the park to take advantage of the incredible attractions within the region. From stunning sights, to quirky restaurants and must-visit attractions – the north-eastern corner of Nebraska has so much to offer.

Restaurants

La Juanita

For one of the most popular and highest rated restaurants within the region, visitLa Juanita. This no-frills Mexican joint is known for its delicious burritos, tacos, chimichangas, and more. The meals are authentic, yet affordable.

Type: Mexican

Location: Sioux City, IA

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery

Just over the border isPerkins Restaurant & Bakery, a family-friendly food chain celebrated for its baked goods, hearty breakfasts, and late-night bites. It’s also just over a 30-minute drive from the state park, so you won’t have far to travel!

Type: Restaurant / bakery

Location: Sioux City, IA

Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que Sioux City

Thisbarbeque chain is famous for a reason! Set in an American West themed space, this family-friendly restaurant serves some of the best wood-smoked meats and sides in town. Get comfortable, because you’ll probably want to stay here a while!

Type: American barbeque restaurant

Location: Sioux City, IA

Sightseeing

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

Just over a half hour’s drive from the state park is theLewis & Clark Interpretive Center, where visitors can enjoy interactive and animated exhibits exploring the July-September 1804 portion of Lewis and Clark’s famed expedition. Admission and programs are free.

Location: Sioux City, IA

Stone State Park

While you’re visiting the Nebraska-Iowa border, you may as well soak up as much nature as possible!  The Stone State Park is under a 50-minute drive from Ponca State Park and offers additional hiking, biking, fishing, and camping opportunities.

Location: Sioux City, IA

Sioux City Railroad Museum

Experience the local area’s history of railroading and enjoy a short, scenic train ride at theSioux City Railroad Museum. Whether you’re visiting with kids or are simply a railroad enthusiast, this museum will provide you with an afternoon of fun.

Location: Sioux City, IA

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How to Get to
Ponca State Park

The state park is approximately two hours’ drive from Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska. Travel north on I-29 to just south of Sioux City. Take the Highway 20 West turnoff and travel about 14 miles. Turn North (right). It is 9 miles to Ponca from this point. Turn into the town of Ponca - there is a sign on each intersection, and you will dead end into the park.

Entering Ponca State Park

Daily permits into the state park can be purchased for $6 - $8 per day, depending on if you have a Nebraska-registered vehicle or not.

We’re very excited that you’re planning a trip to Ponca State Park. Once you’ve finished exploring all that the park has to offer, there are also some incredible opportunities waiting for you outside of its gates! During or after your stay, we encourage you to tag us in any of your social media posts, or why not share your photos and experience with us at [email protected]? We may even feature your story on our blog or social media channels. Happy camping!

Frequently Asked Questions About Ponca State Park

What is the climate of Ponca State Park?

Ponca State Park can get very warm in the summer and freezing cold during winter. At times, the temperature can drop below 10 degrees between December and February, and there also tends to be significant snowfall during those months.

What is the best time of year to visit Ponca State Park?

For those looking to partake in outdoor activities like hiking, boating, fishing, and golfing, the best times to visit Ponca State Park are between May and September. During those months, the weather is typically at its most pleasant.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Ponca State Park?

Ponca State Park is home to two modern campgrounds with a total of 73 designated RV campsites. These RV camping spots offer 30/50-amp electrical hookups, and other features include a dump station, showers, fire pits, and more.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Ponca State Park?

The park is known as a great destination for bird watching. Some of the avian species that inhabit the park include warblers, scarlet tanagers, northern orioles, red-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Are pets allowed at Ponca State Park?

Visitors to Ponca State Park are welcome to bring their pets along. However, dogs must remain leashed at all times, and their owners need to consistently clean up after them.