Nebraska’s largest reservoir, Lake McConaughy offers outstanding boating, fishing, swimming and camping. The area boasts beautiful white sand beaches perfect for swimming, building sandcastles or just soaking up the sun. The beach is also a popular spot for camping, as tent campers can pitch their tent right on the water’s edge. All together, the area totals more than 40,000 acres, 34,700 of which are water acres, and has more than 100 miles of shoreline. Alcohol is prohibited at Lake McConaughy.
Fishing has long been a favorite activity at Lake McConaughy, with its cool, clear, deep waters. Game fish species include walleye, channel catfish, Northern pike, wiper, smallmouth and white bass, among others. The area has three fish cleaning stations located at Martin Bay, Otter Creek and Cedar View. The area offers several boat ramps with docks, depending upon water level. Contact the Visitor’s Center for ramp availability. Fuel and boat rental are available from vendors around the lake.
The area’s white sand beaches make it a popular destination for swimmers and those who want to hang out on the shore and soak up the sun. While the entire shoreline is open to swimming, a designated swim beach is located at Martin Bay. Lifeguards are not on duty.
Parts of the area are open to hunting during certain times of the year. View the Public Access Atlas for details.
Wind surfing, water skiing, scuba diving and sailing are also popular activities at Lake McConaughy. The annual Kites and Castles weekend is a very popular event featuring a sandcastle building contest under a sky dotted with kites always taking place the last Saturday in July.
Lone Eagle Campground
Lone Eagle Campground is located on the north shore of Lake McConaughy SRA. The campground can be accessed through the Arthur Bay Entrance from Hwy. 92, and follow the Shoreline Road west, or you can access the campground through the Sandy Beach Entrance from Hwy. 92, and then follow the Shoreline Road east.
All 84 camp sites at Lone Eagle are Full Service sites. A dump and fill station is also located on Shoreline Road adjacent to the campground.
Little Thunder Campground
Little Thunder Campground is located on the north shore of Lake McConaughy. The campground can be accessed through the Martin Bay Entrance from Hwy. 61, and then follow the Shoreline Road west, or you can access the campground through the Arthur Bay Entrance from Hwy. 92, and follow the Shoreline Road east.
The restroom and shower facility offers public restrooms and seven unisex private shower cubicles, each with a dressing room and shower stall. The showers are coin-operated. A dollar bill change machine is on site. Between Oct. 15 and May 1, only vault latrines are available, weather permitting.
Little Thunder Campground has eight Full Service sites and 34 Electric Plus sites. Water is available at the restroom and shower facility. A dump and fill station is located at the Arthur Bay Entrance and in the Martin Bay area.
Cedar View Campground
Cedar View Campground is located on the north shore of Lake McConaughy. The campground can be accessed through the Cedar View Entrance from Hwy. 92 and then follow Cedar View Road into the park area.
The restroom and shower facility offers public restrooms and six private shower cubicles, each with a dressing room and shower stall. Between Oct. 15 and May 1, only vault latrines are available, weather permitting.
Cedar View Campground has 85 Electric Plus sites and 17 Basic sites. Water is available at most camp sites and at areas throughout the campground. A dump and fill station is located at the Cedar View Entrance.
Designated primitive camping areas are located at the following locations. Individual Camp Sites are undesignated and space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Some picnic tables and ground grills are located throughout these areas.
Martin Bay camping area can be accessed through the Martin Bay Entrance off Hwy. 61. A modern restroom is available between May 1st and October 15th, weather permitting. Water is available in the camping area. A fill and dump station is located nearby on Shoreline Road. Primitive restrooms are available seasonally. A restroom and shower facility is located south of Martin Bay camping area at the Martin Bay Day-Use Area along with a vault latrine.
Theis Bay camping area can be accessed through the Arthur Bay Entrance or the Sandy Beach Entrance. A fill and dump station is located east of the camping area at the Arthur Bay Entrance and west of the camping area near the Lone Eagle Campground. Primitive restrooms are available seasonally. A restroom and shower facility is located at the nearby Lone Eagle Campground.
Sandy Beach camping area can be accessed through the Sandy Beach Entrance. A fill and dump station is located west of the camping area at the Lone Eagle Campground. Water is available year-round at this area. There is a vault latrine on site and additional primitive restrooms are also available seasonally.
North Shore is home to a Walk-In Access Area which is open to day use and walk-in tent camping and can be accessed through the North Shore Entrance and by continuing west. Primitive restrooms are available along with nearby concession, North Shore Lodge.
Spring Park camping area can be accessed from the Spring Park Entrance and offers excellent primitive camping. It’s a small, quality area with a mature stand of cottonwoods and nearby Walk-In Access Areas with hiking/biking and equestrian trail opportunities. Water is available year-round and the area has a vault latrine.
Otter Creek camping area can be accessed from the Otter Creek Entrance and also offers excellent primitive camping. It offers a Fish Cleaning Station, concrete boat ramps and seasonal primitive restrooms. Water is available at the Fish Cleaning Station seasonally. Nearby Otter Creek Lodge concession provides multiple amenities.
Omaha Beach is located at the western end of Lake McConaughy on the north side and can be accessed from the Omaha Beach Entrance. Omaha Beach offers a more secluded, primitive camping experience. Seasonal primitive restrooms are available in the area but there is no water availability.
Beach Access Areas
Beginning in 2016, the Commission began implementing a “beach zoning” concept that created five types of beach areas at Lake McConaughy SRA as a part of a management plan that was developed for the area. The concept will be implemented throughout the next 20 years. Different beach areas are designated via signage at each park location. The absence of signage designating a beach use, generally means it is Undesignated Beach Access Area. Zones are as follows:
Managed Vehicle Access Areas
These areas are generally open to vehicle traffic, day-use and overnight RV and tent camping. Some Managed Vehicle Access areas may have a carrying capacity on the number of RV or tent campers that can occupy the area, depending upon space availability.
Walk-In Access Areas
These areas are generally open to foot traffic only and can be utilized for walk-in tent camping.
Day-Use Access Areas
These areas are generally open to foot traffic only and overnight camping is prohibited.
Threatened and Endangered Species Areas
These areas are created to protect critical habitat for natural resource protection and any public access is generally prohibited.
Undesignated Beach Access Areas
If a beach area is not signed or otherwise designated as a specific “zoning type” it is open to recreational uses as defined in Nebraska State Park Regulations.
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