On Jan. 1, 2019, a new campsite fee structure took effect at all Nebraska state parks and recreation areas. The new fee structure consists of five tiers of campsites, which are priced consistently from park to park, with the exception of Lake McConaughy. Because of the high volume of campers at Lake McConaughy, an additional $2 nightly charge for all campsites applies. Camping fees for Smith Falls are $8 per person, per night.
The new fees help offset the cost of the hundreds of improvements implemented to campgrounds and amenities at state parks across Nebraska in recent years. A full list of recent parks projects is available at the link below. They also provide pricing consistency from park to park, which has been a frequent request of campers for years.
The new tiers are as follows:
Primitive campsites are perfect for the adventurous camper who prefers to get off the beaten path. Primitive sites do not have an electric hook up, picnic table, grill or fire ring, and may not have access to restrooms facilities or trash receptacles. Primitive campsites are $10 per night ($12 at Lake McConaughy).
Pull up, start a campfire, and gather around the picnic table at a Basic campsite. Basic sites do not have an electric hook up but do have a picnic table, fire ring or grill, and may have access to amenities such a hydrants and primitive or modern restroom facilities. Look for a blue post at the campsite. Basic campsites are $15 per night ($17 at Lake McConaughy).
Electric sites are great for pop-up campers, travel trailers and other camping units requiring an electric connection. Electric sites have a 20/30 amp connection, picnic table, fire ring or grill, and may have access to amenities such a hydrants and primitive or modern restroom facilities. Electric sites may have grass, gravel, or paved pads. Look for an yellow post at the campsite. Electric campsites are $25 per night ($27 at Lake McConaughy).
Electric Plus sites are ideal for campers with larger recreational vehicles who enjoy some modern amenities while appreciating the outdoors. Electric Plus sites have either a 20/30-amp connection with a dedicated water hook-up or a 50-amp connection that may have access to a water hook-up. Electric Plus sites include a picnic table, fire ring or grill, and may have access to amenities such as hydrants and primitive or modern restroom facilities. Look for a red post at the campsite. Electric Plus sites are $30 per night ($32 at Lake McConaughy).
Sometimes you’ve got to have it all! For ease and convenience, full hook-up sites have an on-site 20/30/50-amp connection, as well as both water and sewer hook-ups. Full Hook-up sites also include a picnic table and fire ring or grill, and mayalso have access to amenities such as hydrants and modern restrooms. Look for a brown post at the campsite. Full Hookup sites are $35 per night ($37 at Lake McConaughy).
Frequently asked questions
Nebraska operates one of the best state park systems in the nation, and periodic updates of fees are needed to maintain and enhance our state parks for all Nebraskans and our visitors. Fee increases will produce revenue necessary to meet operating costs, increase the agency’s ability to address the maintenance backlog and revitalize campgrounds in order to meet the overwhelming public demand.
Nebraska State Parks are funded predominately with user fees, with the majority of operational costs funded through fees on camping and lodging, sale of park permits and admission for activities within the parks. General Fund appropriations from the Nebraska Legislature fund the remainder of our operational budget. However, General Fund appropriations have progressively decreased as a proportion of the budget for state parks, increasing our reliance on user fees for the park system.
Finding the right spot
Click the chart below to view which tiers of camping are offered at various parks statewide.