Home » Latest Features » An Outdoor Staycation

An Outdoor Staycation

Summit Lake State Recreation Area


Boaters fish at Summit Lake State Recreation Area near Tekamah.

Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Story and photos by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Set down camp on lush, green lawns and manicured campsites. Drop a line from a picture-worthy fishing pier, or slowly work your way across a no-wake lake inside a boat. Then at the end of the day, sit back with a drink to watch the golden light sink below the glistening lake at your feet — it’s like you’ve arrived in paradise without having to hop onto a plane. Find these comforts and more at Summit Lake State Recreation Area near Tekamah, where metro-area Nebraskans can have their summer family getaway just a relatively short drive from home.

The golden light of sunset illuminates the fishing pier. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

Summit Lake SRA is a great place to land, whether you’re a yearlong planner, weekend warrior or a pick-up-and-go adventurer. Campers can snag one of the park’s 33 first-come, first-served basic campsites or 43 electric campsites, half of which can be reserved in advance. Those wishing to stay longer will appreciate the modern, centrally-located shower house. And families with young children will love the newly-built playground.

The 190-acre lake offers bountiful fishing, with crappie, bluegill, bass, catfish and walleye in its waters. And hopefully with spring and summer rains, the park’s swimming beach will return to its former glory; to remove sediment, a lake renovation in 2022 required part of Summit Lake to be drained, said park superintendent Jordan Swenson. Two serviceable boat ramps allow for no-wake boating.

Brett and Chris Naber RV camp with their dog, adding an outdoor rug to make their staycation even more comfortable. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

Hikers, cyclists and horseback riders will enjoy the surrounding 345 acres of gently rolling land. New this year, the park’s former two miles of multi-use trail has been extended to nearly 10 miles, thanks to the Nebraska Trailriders Association who spearheaded the project. Another amenity: Bowhunters can keep up with practice at the archery range.

Finally, after a full day outdoors, head back to camp to enjoy a meal by the fire or take advantage of the park’s 73 picnic tables, 64 grills and two picnic shelters. Or, if you don’t feel like cooking, visit Way North Restaurant and Lounge, which you can’t miss, as the restaurant picturesquely overlooks the lake on County Road G.
Summit Lake SRA is the staycation you wish you knew about sooner.

No-wake boating is permitted on Summit Lake State Recreation Area near Tekamah. Hungry park visitors can enjoy food and drink at Way North Restaurant and Lounge across the road. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

About Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley is Nebraskaland Magazine's associate editor. She enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking.