While it might not seem like it, western Nebraska is a great place to take a relaxing vacation. The beautiful prairie setting will help to take the stress out of your routine. The area has much to offer in terms of entertainment. This guide provides ideas for activities, lodging and restaurants near Lake McConaughy. Links are provided when they are available to help make your planning easier. I hope you enjoy your vacation to the Old West!
Things to Do
First and foremost, you need to spend some time at Lake McConaughy. Nebraska’s largest lake is twenty miles long, with over one hundred miles of shoreline! There is excellent fishing here, and on the smaller Lake Ogallala on the other side of the dam. In addition to angling, you will find many people boating and jet skiing for fun during the summer. Click here to find a place to rent a boat or jet ski.
If you are a wine connoisseur, there are two wineries near the lake. The 5 Trails Winery is located in Paxton, and the 17 Ranch Winery is located in Lewellen. Stop in and sample some fine Nebraska wines!
For a truly unique golfing experience, play a round at Bayside Golf Club. Designed by Dan Axland and Dave Proctor, this course is challenging and beautiful. The rough here is truly rough, and you will probably want to carry an iron for protection if you want to retrieve a ball.
History buffs will want to check out the Ash Hollow complex. It was a stopping point for many settlers on their journey west. You can still see the original Oregon Trail!
Where to Stay
If you want to rough it, you can camp on the beaches of Lake McConaughy. There are also some campsites around the lake. You will need to pay a small fee to camp. There are also pay showers available. If you have a camper, there are a few places to set up shop for a few days. Van’s is a favorite for many families throughout the summer.
If you prefer a warm bed and indoor plumbing, you can drive eight miles into Ogallala. This town of 5,000 people offers several choices for lodging. Drive out toward Interstate 80 to find major chains.
Where to Eat
If you are staying in Ogallala, there are several restaurants near the interstate and in town. There are also a few bars if you need to wet your whistle. My one recommendation for a fun dining experience is Front Street. You will find standard steakhouse food and drink here, but the main attraction is the show. The Crystal Palace Review offers an old west gun fight, dancing girls and music. It is a truly memorable experience!