From cascading waterfalls to vast grasslands, Nebraska's state and national parks are home to amazing natural beauty. Many of them are off the beaten path and showcase the diversity of the state's landscape.
Box Butte State Recreation Area
The Box Butte Reservoir State Recreation Area north of Hemingford offers camping and water-related recreation.
Pine Ridge National Recreation Area
The Pine Ridge National Recreation Area near Chadron offers 6,600 acres of land filled with wildlife and opportunities for outdoor activity.
Snake River Falls
Southwest of Valentine, Snake River Falls presents a powerful and beautiful display of nature.
Ashfall Fossil Beds
Blanketed with mystery and volcanic ash, Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park near Royal depicts the life and death of creatures nearly 12 million years ago.
Johnson Lake State Recreation Area near Lexington is a favorite fishing spot for its abundance of walleye.
Nebraska National Forest
The Bessey Ranger District of the hand-planted Nebraska National Forest stretches along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.
The Nebraska sunset over Lake McConaughy paints the sky in a wash of color.
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area
Bighorn sheep are a common sight for visitors at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering.
Go for a swim, cast a line, or simply float your boat in the refreshing waters of Calamus Reservoir near Burwell in the Sandhills.
Agate Fossil Beds
At Agate Fossil Beds National Monument south of Harrison, you can view ancient mammals that once roamed the plains.
Bridgeport State Recreation Area
There’s plenty of fun to be had on the waters of the sandpit lakes at Bridgeport State Recreation Area.
Buttes tower above the yawning prairie along the western edge of the Nebraska Panhandle.
Cub Creek Recreation Area
Travel a few miles east of Fairbury and you’ll stumble upon the Cub Creek Recreation Area, a haven for hunters, fishermen and boaters.
Chadron State Park
Hikers will enjoy a picturesque setting and an invigorating climb at Chadron State Park.
Gavins Point Dam
A fisherman enjoys the quiet solitude at Gavins Point Dam near Crofton.
Courthouse and Jail Rocks
Courthouse and Jail Rocks break the expansive Nebraska prairie near Bridgeport.
Part of the Jeffrey Canyon State Wildlife Management Area, Jeffrey Lake near Brady is a fisherman’s haven.
Toadstool Geologic Park
The peculiar lunarlike landscape of Toadstool Geologic Park near Crawford is the perfect backdrop for hikers and bikers.
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge is a popular place to begin a canoeing expedition down the scenic Niobrara River.
Nestled between Saddle Rock and Lover's Leap buttes, Legend Buttes Golf Course near Crawford promises an enjoyable golf experience with fantastic views.
Louisville State Recreation Area
Towering trees shade the camping and recreational spaces at the Louisville Lakes State Recreation Area in eastern Nebraska.
Ponca State Park
Visitors to Ponca State Park are greeted by the Towers of Time, an impressive artistic interpretation of the history of nature and people in the area.
Platte River State Park
A moderate hike through the Platte River State Park leads visitors to the picturesque Stone Creek Falls.
Scotts Bluff National Monument
Once used as a landmark for Native Americans, fur trappers and pioneers, Scotts Bluff National Monument near Gering rises high above the horizon.
Indian Cave State Park
Indian Cave State Park, located north of Shubert, is known for its numerous hiking and biking trails with spectacular views of the Missouri River.
Niobrara National Scenic River
From early spring to late fall, the Niobrara National Scenic River is a top destination for canoeing, tubing and kayaking.
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area
The rugged and scenic Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area draws hikers, campers and shutterbugs to the Gering area year after year.
Lewis and Clark Lake State Recreation Area
Located near Crofton, Lewis and Clark Lake State Recreation Area is a popular spot for all kinds of water recreation.
Halsey Lookout Tower
Originally built in the 1940s, the Scott Lookout Tower at Nebraska National Forest near Halsey is Nebraska’s only working fire lookout tower.
Smith Falls State Park
Smith Falls State Park near Valentine is home to Nebraska’s highest waterfall as well as diverse ecological systems that exist nowhere else in North America.