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Make plans for a fun camping getaway

With Memorial Day weekend and summer coming up, campers should think ahead to find their perfect site.

While many popular reservation-only spots already have been booked, many more sites are available first-come, first-served at state parks across Nebraska. Find a park, plan a trip or make a reservation at There you also can use the ”Find a Park” tool to discover parks with amenities or activities that match your interests.

Once you’ve popped your tent or parked your recreation vehicle, follow these Nebraska Game and Parks reminders to keep camping fun and safe this summer:

  • Arrive early. Consider arriving early in the week before Memorial Day weekend to claim a first-come, first-served site that meets your needs.
  • Be patient. Memorial Day weekend is a historically busy one in state parks. Practice patience and understanding with fellow campers and park staff.
  • Wear life jackets when boating or swimming and only swim in designated beach areas.
  • Pack a fishing pole! Fishing is fun for all ages. Youth ages 16 and under don’t need a permit to fish. Adults can buy a one-day or annual fishing permit online.
  • Practice campfire safety. Guests should call park areas before arrival to determine whether a burn ban is in effect. Where campfires are allowed, use designated fire rings, never leave a fire unattended, keep water nearby, and extinguish completely before leaving. 
  • Do not bring firewood with you. Transporting firewood can spread diseases and harmful insects such as the emerald ash borer. Buy local firewood and leave any unused firewood at the campsite for others.
  • Try to arrive at your campsite well before dark. This gives you time to set up camp while it’s still light out. And when possible, don’t pack up and leave too early in the morning.
  • Don’t cut through occupied campsites; stay on paths or roadways and give all your camping neighbors some privacy.
  • Observe quiet hours, which in many campgrounds are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day.
  • Check the weather forecast and stay aware of changing conditions. Many parks have restrooms that double as tornado shelters, but don’t be afraid to pack up to avoid a storm.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at or 402-471-5008.

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