BUY A PERMIT         MAKE A RESERVATION MENU

Park FAQs

Following are answers to questions frequently asked by park visitors.

Do I need a Park Entry Permit to enter any State Park, State Historical Park or State Recreation Area?

Yes, a Park Entry Permit is required for any motorized vehicle to enter any Nebraska State Park, State Historical Park or State Recreation Area.

Are pets permitted?

Yes, there is a $15 one-time pet fee per unit for pets staying in cabins. Service animals are exempt. Pets are not allowed in the lodge rooms, however pets are allowed in campgrounds. All animals within the park must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, crated or caged.

Can my dog swim in the swimming areas?

No, public buildings, designated swimming beaches and pools are off-limits to all animals except Seeing Eye and service dogs. At select park areas such as Lake McConaughy SRA, dogs must be maintained on a leash to protect endangered species nesting areas (Least Tern and Piping Plover).

Are ATV’s allowed?

ATVs are not permitted. Golf carts and motorized scooters are allowed if you have a Motorized Transportation Device Permit.

Is alcohol permitted?

Alcohol is permitted at all areas except at Lake McConaughy and Willow Creek State Recreation Areas. Consumption of alcoholic beverage is prohibited on state property from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., which are the designated quiet hours in campgrounds, parking lots and designated beaches. No containers over one gallon are allowed.

Which parks allow fireworks?

Typically, seven SRAs allow fireworks in designated firework areas. These areas are Branched Oak, Fort Kearny, Memphis, Fremont, Two Rivers, Pawnee and Wagon Train. This is dependent on conditions and local fire department authority. Only fireworks approved for sale in Nebraska by the State Fire Marshal are permitted to be brought into the SRAs that allow fireworks.

Can I build a fire anywhere?

No, fires can only be built in designated areas.

Does Nebraska offer any discounts for veterans, handicapped or senior citizens for camping/lodging?

No, Nebraska does not offer any camping/lodging discounts for veterans, handicapped or senior citizens. Nebraska does offer a 30 percent discount on lodging/camping in our parks during the non-peak season (when the water is shut off). Nebraska also has a Free Park and Fish Day for residents and nonresidents.

Do I need a permit to host a special event in a park?

Yes, a Special Occasion Permit may be requested by individuals or groups who would like to utilize our areas for events including but not limited to: weddings, fishing tournaments, 5k runs, fundraisers, Boy Scout events, scientific studies, commercial filming, geocache placements, etc.

How do I pay for camping and my park entry permit if I arrive after hours or there is no office at the park?

Self-service boxes are available for depositing fees when the entry station is not staffed.

How do I make reservations for camping/lodging?

You may make reservation by calling 402-471-1414 9 a.m.-6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. Online reservations may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except state holidays.

Lodging reservations and designated camp sites may be reserved up to a year in advance on a first-come, first-served basis. Year to date reservations begin at 9 a.m. CT. For more information regarding our reservation policies, please visit our reservations page.

What is the difference between a State Park, State Recreation Area and a State Historical Park?

State Parks are public use areas of significant scenic, scientific and/or historical values and of sufficient
size to allow adequate development. From our standpoint, State Parks are destination areas. They have many amenities available daily to guests, ranging from swimming and paddle boating to horse trail rides and jeep rides. Entertainment is offered and it is up to the guest how much or little they would like to participate.

State Recreation Areas are areas that possess resource values primarily associated with active outdoor recreation pursuits, day-use activities and camping. All the state’s major water-oriented areas fall in this
classification. State Recreation Areas are mainly situated along bodies of water. Guests provide their own entertainment, primarily fishing and boating.

State Historical Parks are sites that have notable historical significance to the State of Nebraska. State Historical Parks offer a chance for cultural interpretation. Living history demonstrations are periodically staged and guests can tour the historic grounds and buildings.

How do I apply for a job at a park?

Visit our careers page to view open jobs at state parks and recreation areas, as well as throughout the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.