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7 of Nebraska’s Best Beaches

Beaches and Nebraska – two words you don’t tend to associate with one another. Think again, though: thanks to the Sandhills, we have several natural white-sand beaches to enjoy. Many more inviting beaches and lakes can be found throughout the state. If you’re ready to explore Nebraska’s beach scene, here are a few places you should make a beeline for.

Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (west-central NE)

Boaters on Lake McConaughy

With its pristine white sand and cool, clear waters, Lake McConaughy would fit anyone’s definition of a beautiful beach. Recreation opportunities are abundant: you can go camping, fishing, boating, water skiing, wind surfing, scuba diving – you name it.

Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area (southwestern NE)

Boaters on Enders Reservoir

Enders Reservoir SRA is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s a family-friendly, mom-and-pop kind of place, where you can enjoy camping, fishing and water sports. Its white sand beaches are perfect for a family outing.

Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area (central NE)

The beach view at Calamus.

“You will have a blast at Calamus,” commented one recent visitor. Located in the Sandhills, Calamus Reservoir SRA is a great place to get away from it all. The clean water extends for more than 5,000 acres, ringed by white-sand beaches. (Water levels change throughout the year; beach land appears toward the end of June or beginning of July.) The spot is a prime one for camping, fishing, boating, hiking and sightseeing.

Louisville State Recreation Area (eastern NE)

Boater at Louisville State Recreation Area.

Louisville SRA is no secret to locals; it’s a popular hang-out spot every weekend. Situated on the south bank of the Platte River, it’s one of only a few places that offer access to the Platte. Louisville SRA has five sand-bottom lakes with some 50 surface acres of water; swimming is available at Lake No. 2. Other popular activities include camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing and non-power boating.

Two Rivers State Recreation Area (eastern NE)

Boy jumping into Two Rivers State Recreation Area.

This well-established recreation area offers a well-maintained sand beach and swimming lake. It’s a scenic spot with a lot of wooded areas, close to the Platte, where you can camp and picnic alongside the river. Two Rivers SRA has always been popular thanks to its proximity to Omaha, its trout lake and its unique lodging opportunities – 10 Union Pacific cabooses that have been remodeled for guests to stay overnight in. It’s a great place for camping, horseback riding, fishing and hunting, too.

Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area (eastern NE)

Beachgoers at Fremont Lakes.

Visitors to Fremont Lakes SRA will enjoy the natural sand bottoms in the 20 lakes. The beaches are well-cleaned and -tilled, and close parking lots provide easy access to the beaches. This is a favorite area with campers, picnickers and water enthusiasts who come for great swimming, boating, fishing and water skiing.

Fort Kearny State Recreation Area (south-central NE)

Canoers at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area.

Fort Kearny SRA has seven lakes, with one devoted to swimming. Many people come out only for the swimming, enjoying the sandy beach and large expanse of clear, clean water. Fishing is good at the other six lakes. Campers will be pleased with Fort Kearny SRA’s offerings: there are 95 electrical camping pads and 25 pads without electricity. Other attractions to the area include sandhill crane viewing during spring migration and the unique Fort Kearny Hike-Bike Trail, which crosses both channels of the Platte River.

What about you? Do you have a favorite beach spot or two?

About renae blum

Renae works for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and has written for NEBRASKAland Magazine and the Lincoln Journal Star.

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