State Parks Near Omaha, Nebraska — Outdoor Adventures
Have you ever wanted to take a camping trip, didn’t want to drive all day? Well your in luck cause today I am going to tell you about some State Parks near Omaha, Nebraska. I am going to tell you everything you need to know about these great places to camp that will take just a short drive.
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
This is the perfect year round state park for a family escape. Families can explore Mahoney’s array of activities like, hiking/biking trails, climb their huge observation tower, you can take the kids to see the aquatic center and take them to play in the indoor playground. When winter shows up you can enjoy some sledding and ice-skating. They have a lodge (Peter Kiewit Lodge) that has 40 guest rooms, most of them balconies with an awesome view of the Platte River Valley. You can have wonderful meal at the lodge while enjoying a beautiful view. After lunch why not check out the arts and crafts center with the kids. They have a lot of cabins or you can just pitch a tent on one of their campsites.
- Swimming: The Aquatic Center has a swimming pool with two water slides, diving area, zero-entry wave pool, sun deck and concession area. The center is open Memorial Day – Labor Day. The pool closes for the season after Labor Day.
- Owen Marina: Paddleboating and fishing are the popular activities at the marina on one of the park’s lakes. The marina offers a concession stand, rental of paddle boats and has fishing and camping supplies and for sale. The marina also has soccer balls, footballs, basketballs, volleyballs, bocce balls, horseshoes, softballs, bats, bases, tennis balls and rackets and fishing rods and reels that you rent-free during business hours.
- Arts & Crafts Center: Located at the marina convenience store, the arts and craft center is a spot where kids can paint ceramics, learn the art of leather tooling and create wood crafts and a bunch other projects.
- Theater: The Denman and Mary Mallory Kountze Memorial Theater has live performance’s year round, you can also rent it for group functions.
- Activity Center & Ice Skating Pavilion: Weather can dictate the outdoor fun at Mahoney, but there is a recreation at the Activity Center that you play at year round. The Activity Center hosts a large indoor playground with fun tubes, slides, net bridges and ball pit. Parents can either join in the fun or sit and relax while enjoying food and beverages from the on-site concession. This is a popular spot for birthday parties.
- Golf, Miniature Golf & Disc Golf: You can rent golf clubs for the driving range. They have a miniature golf course that has 18 holes of family fun. They also have an 18-hole disc golf course and occasional have tournaments and other events throughout the year.
- Dining & Concessions: Caddy’s Parkside Grill opened inside Peter Kiewit Lodge on March 1, 2018. The owners also own and operate the Salty Dog Bar and Grill in Council Bluffs. The Salty Dog is well-known for its wings and burgers, homemade fries. The Caddy’s Parkside Grill menu will provide a family dining menu similar to that of the Cadwalladers’ other restaurant.
- Go Ape Rope Course: Get ready for a unique outdoor experience. Way more than just zip lines, Go Ape is a 2-3-hour journey through the forest canopy. The high-ropes adventure course features suspended obstacles, breathtaking zip lines and incredible views.
- Horse Trail Rides: The park offers horse trail rides May – mid-October for adults and children age 6 and over. Trails begin at the John Wayne Stables. Pony rides are available for children age 3 to 9.
- Winter Activities: Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside, you can enjoy some sledding, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, ice fishing, special holiday activities and many other family events are all available during the winter months, depending on the weather.
PLATTE RIVER STATE PARK
Platte River State Park is nestled halfway between Nebraska’s two largest cities – Lincoln and Omaha. Before it was a state park it was two separate camps – Harriet Harding Campfire Girls Camp and Camp Esther K. Newman – and a tract of woodlands. The charming, vintage cabins that once housed campers today provide cozy accommodations for park guest’s. While the quaint cabins draw many guest’s year after year, the park’s teepees are perhaps its unique lodging option. Other popular draws are the park’s picturesque waterfall, scenic hiking and biking trails and two observation towers that allow those who climb to the top a spectacular view of the Platte River Basin.
- Hike/Bike Trails: The park offers miles of beautiful trails, which are extremely popular with mountain bikers, as well as hikers, trail runners and bird watchers.
- Splash Pad: Opening in 2018, a two-tiered splash pad and squirt gun center is designed for use by preschoolers all the way up to young teens.
- Outdoor Heritage Education Complex: The complex offers both beginners and experience shooters the opportunity to practice their archery and firearm shooting skills. The complex features an outdoor archery range with 3-D and other targets and a shooting tower, a 50-yard small-bore rifle range, a trap range with five-stand feature, an indoor 10-meter pellet gun range, tomahawk throwing and slingshots. There are instructors that are available for one-on-one instruction, and the complex often features classes and special events the whole family can enjoy.
- Dining: The Walter Scott Jr. Lodge Restaurant serves delicious meals the whole family will enjoy.
- Other Activities: The park offers guided horseback rides, fishing and paddle boating on the lake, concessions, a covered picnic shelter that is available for rental, and an amphitheater that hosts free movie nights Saturday evenings during the summer months.
Two Rivers State Recreation Area
One of the most popular recreation areas in Nebraska. Two Rivers is a great spot for fishing, camping, swimming and picnicking west of Omaha in Eastern Nebraska. Perhaps the unique draw of this area are the 10 Union Pacific cabooses that have been refurbished into cabins that sleep six.
- Swimming: Unsupervised swimming is available at lake #4. The beach is open Memorial Day Weekend – Labor Day.
- Fishing: Two Rivers ever-popular trout lake which is lake #5 normally opens to pay fishing on the second Saturday of March and remains open until July 1. Those with physical disabilities can enjoy the trout lake too, as an easily accessible fishing pier is located at the south end of the lake. The restrooms located near the lake are also wheelchair-accessible. Regulations governing the trout lake, including fees and fish allowed per tag, are posted on the area. A valid Nebraska fishing permit is required in addition to the trout tag.
- Boating: Only non-powered boats are permitted at Two Rivers.
- Hiking: The park offers one mile of hiking trails.
- Picnicking: With it being so close to Omaha, Two Rivers is a popular day-use spot that offers many options for those looking for a great spot for a picnic or an afternoon of grilling. The area has two picnic shelters in the day use area and one picnic shelter south of the Lakeside Campground.
- Horseback Riding: The park offers two miles of equestrian trails and an equestrian area for camping. Horseback riding is also allowed on the 342-acre adjacent wildlife management area from Feb. 1 to Aug. 31. Guided rides and horse rental are not offered. Equestrian use is not permitted in the other campgrounds.
- Concessions: Snacks, short-order food, bait and other items are available at the newly remodeled concession area that is located at the park entrance.
- Hunting: A 342-acre adjacent wildlife management area is open to hunting during open seasons. Unless otherwise posted, the wildlife management area is open to hunting during open seasons. Archery and shotguns loaded with non-toxic shot are allowed. Target shooting and the use of BB-pellet guns, paintball guns, rifles of any caliber and handguns, as well as the use of shotgun slugs, are prohibited.
Waterfowl hunting is permitted on the wildlife management area and SRA. Temporary blinds may be used but must be removed from the area at the close of hunting each day-permanent or seasonal blinds are not allowed. In addition to waterfowl, species available include turkey, quail, pheasant, squirrel, and cottontail. Archery hunting for deer is permitted on the wildlife management area. Please use caution while hiking on the wildlife management area during open hunting seasons. Check with park staff for more information.
These are the 3 main state parks near Omaha, Nebraska. As you can see all 3 have a ton of things to do. So if you don’t want to drive all day to go to camping, these parks are just minutes away, but they will feel like you all day to get to them. If you have any questions or comments, just leave them below in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for stopping by.