Nebraska Parks Among Top 100 Family Campgrounds

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska has some of the finest state park areas in the nation. ReserveAmerica’s annual list of the country’s Top 100 Family Campgrounds confirms that.

ReserveAmerica, the nation’s leading recreation reservation service, recently announced its top 100 as a guide to help park-goers plan their trips. ReserveAmerica’s system handles Nebraska park reservations through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Nebraska parks among the Top 100 Family Campgrounds are Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (SP), Fort Robinson SP, and Ponca SP. All eight Nebraska state parks and five of the state’s recreation areas are listed among 15 different categories.

The selection of the Top 100 Family Campgrounds was based on testimonials, campground ratings and feedback provided throughout the year by park rangers, regional park managers, and campers. Almost 4,000 parks were reviewed. The final 100 campgrounds were determined by specific family-friendly criteria, ranging from educational programs and visitor centers to camping amenities and overall beauty and scenery. Factors, including the quality and availability of hot showers, laundry facilities, hiking trails, family beaches, radio-free zones, visitor centers, educational programs, children’s events and location, also were considered.

The award categories, and the Nebraska parks included, were:

Top 100 Family Campgrounds – Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Fort Robinson SP, Ponca SP.

Top 25 Amazing Spots – Fort Robinson SP.

Top 25 Biking Trails – Chadron SP, Platte River SP.

Top 25 Bird-Watching Spots – Fort Kearny SRA, Ponca SP.

Top 25 Canoeing Spots – Ponca SP, Smith Falls SP.

Top 25 Educational and Historical Facilities – Fort Robinson SP, Ponca SP.

Top 50 Fishing Spots – Calamus Reservoir SRA, Lake McConaughy SRA, Lake Ogallala SRA.

Top 50 Hiking Trails – Fort Robinson SP, Indian Cave SP, Ponca SP.

Top 25 Kid-Friendly Parks – Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Fort Robinson SP.

Top 25 Park Beaches – Calamus Reservoir SRA, Lake McConaughy SRA.

Top 25 Picnic Areas – Niobrara SP, Platte River SP.

Top 25 Romantic Spots – Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Ponca SP.

Top 25 Scenic Views – Fort Robinson SP, Niobrara SP.

Top 25 Tours and Events – Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Niobrara SP.

Top 25 Unique Cabins – Fort Robinson SP, Two Rivers SRA.

“We’re pleased to be included among the best parks the nation has to offer,” said Roger Kuhn, the Commission’s assistant director for parks. “With the summer camping season approaching, now is the time to make a reservation and get out and enjoy Nebraska’s wonderful parks.”

To make a reservation at a Nebraska state park, go to the Commission’s Web site, www.OutdoorNebraska.org, then click on Online Camping and Lodging Reservations. The site has easy-to-use maps, photographs and a shopping cart so users can reserve multiple arrival dates or multiple type of units such as cabins, campsites, picnic shelters and lodge rooms.

A visit to a Nebraska state park area requires a Park Entry Permit. However, May 17 is Free Park Entry and Fishing Day, when a permit is not required to enter a park or to fish.