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Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska



Road Trip Adventures | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska | Featured

Are you looking for fun activities to engage in when camping near Valentine NE? This ultimate guide lets you in on all the exciting activities available in winter and summer.

This way, you can prepare in advance for an exceptional experience.

RELATED: Best Campgrounds In Nebraska

An Ultimate Guide for Camping near Valentine NE

Group outdoor camping teepee tent and night light | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Fun Winter Activities When Camping near Valentine NE

1. Ice Fishing

Ice fisherman holding northern pike | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

With a ton of lakes in Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, you will certainly be spoiled for choice with numerous ice fishing spots.

Box Butte Reservoir and Merritt Reservoir are common lakes for ice fishing. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of fish including largemouth bass, black crappie, walleye, bluegill, channel catfish, northern pike, and pumpkinseed.

If you are early enough, you might have a chance to participate in an ice fishing tournament.

2. Hunting

Winter hunting for hares at sunrise | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Besides fishing, the wildlife refuge is also a great hunting habitat. It is well-known for its prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse populations. Waterfowl, pheasant, and deer hunting are also allowed in season.

You will also enjoy coyote and dove hunting when camping near Valentine Ne. Or white-tailed deer and mule if you are a muzzleloader, archery, or rifle hunter.


  • Waterfowl hunting is limited, hence the need to check with the refuge for game regulations.
  • Also, license requirements, hunting seasons (except for coyotes), and bag limits are the same as the rest of the state.

3. Sight Seeing

Forest and waterfall at Ton Nga Chang Waterfall | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

A little snow doesn’t mean outdoor activities come to a halt when camping near Valentine NE. The winter transformation of the Nebraska landscape turns it into magnificent sight.

One of these attractions is the Smith Falls which is the tallest waterfall in Nebraska. You can hike to it or enjoy the scenic view from your car camping spot or Rv park along the Niobrara River.

Fun Summer Activities When Camping near Valentine NE

4. Stargazing

Couple stargazing together with a astronomical telescope | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Remote locations don’t get better than camping near Valentine NE, which is renowned for its remarkable visibility of the Milky Way.

Whether you are a photographer or an astronomer you will love gazing upon the bright night skies.

Stargazing is amazing all-around Valentine, but the Snake campground, on Merritt Reservoir offers one of the best views. What’s more, this campground also hosts the annual Nebraska Star Party at the end of July.

5. Water Sports

Couple kayaking together | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

The Niobrara River is perfect for all your water adventurers be it kayaking, canoeing, tubing, or floating. These adventures are more enjoyable when paired with unique waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, riverside campsites, and pine-tree-covered hills.

On the other hand, deep pools on the Merritt Reservoir allow you a cooling swim whenever you need to escape the blazing sun. It's no wonder Valentine NE attracts hundreds of tourists each summer especially because RV parks make car camping easier.

RELATED: Tent vs. Hammock Camping: And The Winner Is…

6. Hiking & Biking

Male mountain biker at sunset in the mountains | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Is enjoying the peaceful nature is your speed? Camping near Valentine NE avails more than enough space for hiking and biking on self-guided trails. One of such trails is the Cowboy Trail which is the longest “rails-to-trails” trail in the world.

It is currently open and stretches out for almost 200 miles from Valentine east to Norfolk from where it will further extend to Chadron. Its crushed limestone terrain and wooden bridges offer expansive views of wildlife and Sandhills.

One of the best parts of this trail is the old train trestle that crosses the Niobrara River outside of Valentine at 150 feet high. You will find other great hiking trails in:

  • Samuel R. Mckelvie national forest
  • Valentine city park
  • Smith falls state park
  • Snake river falls also make great hiking zones

7. Bird Watching

Young woman looking through binoculars at birds on the lake | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Spectacular bird watching also awaits you when camping near Valentine NE. During birds' annual migration, you will be lucky enough to witness thousands of geese and ducks stop to feed.

In April and May, photo blinds are placed on prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse booming grounds. You can enjoy this at the Valentine national wildlife refuge and Samuel r. Mckelvie national forest.

8. Golfing

Man playing golf on a golf course in the sun | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Camping near Valentine NE comes with the Prairie Club that offers top-notch golf courses and a Horse Course – a challenging par 3 course. The Dunes Course features wide fairways and sand traps and offers a challenge to all levels of golfers.

On the other hand, you will love the Pines Course that weaves in and out of the Snake River valley if you like a course with more trees. Once you are done golfing, you can enjoy a great dining experience at the Prairie Club Lodge.

9. Scenic Drives

Scenic of the abundant trees mountain view and curve | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

You cannot camp near Valentine NE and not experience the renowned Sandhills of Nebraska. Covering up to 19,000 square miles, the Sandhills are undoubtedly the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

The lush foliage is nourished by an Aquifer resulting in 400 feet grassy hills that can extend up to 20 miles. The Sandhills are no doubt a sight to behold.

10. Fishing

A fly fisherman fishing for Atlantic Salmon | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Fishing is as fun in summer as it is in the winter when camping near Valentine NE. Luckily, there is no shortage of fishing spots – from the hatchery in Valentine city park to Valentine national wildlife refuge, to the Merritt Reservoir.

Whichever spot you choose, you can rest assured that you will end the day as a happy camper with a variety of seafood to whip up on your cast iron skillet.

11. Campgrounds and RV Parks

Sun going down at the Rv park with lights on the motor home | Camping Near Valentine NE | Valentine Nebraska

Whether you are RV, car, or primitive camping, Valentine area has no shortage of camping spots. All you need is your sleeping bag or double sleeping bags if you are primitive camping and you are good to go.

Watch this video by Journey Unbound for a closer look at the Niobrara River:

There you go, preppers. Camping near Valentine NE opens you to an endless world of outdoor fun. From fishing to hunting to hiking, the list of things you can do is almost endless, which is what we are all looking for when we go camping. Luckily, there are enough campgrounds and RV parks to help you prolong your trip.

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