12 Most Beautiful Lakes In And Near Omaha, Nebraska

lakes in omaha
Ryan Joshua
Ryan Joshua 
| 8 min read

A sprawling city that is both underrated and barely explored, since a lot of travelers only see Omaha as a quick stopover point as they make their way to some of the best weekend getaways from the city. But just give this city a chance and take some time to explore the historic Old Market in the heart of the city, or walk along the Hood River and the Dundee district, and you will find that it is a very interesting place to visit and explore. The Airbnbs in Omaha, as well as some of the area’s top Vrbo vacation rentals, are great accommodation options for its homey interiors and superb amenities in contrast to hotel stays. This city is also known for its very scenic lakes if you’re looking for great lakes to swim in Omaha. There are plenty of shores that are also perfect for a laidback picnic. Keep reading for our list of the most beautiful lakes in and near Omaha, Nebraska.

1. Glenn Cunningham Lake

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JonClee86 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Glenn Cunningham Lake is a 0.6 square-mile (1.6-square kilometer) reservoir and is one of the best campsites in Omaha. It is named after Glenn C. Cunningham, a former mayor of Omaha and also a former US Congressman. So why not book some of the best camper rentals and visit Glenn Cunningham Lake. You can enjoy having a picnic with your loved ones here, boating, sailing, hiking, and cycling on its asphalt trails, exploring nature, and fishing, You can even ride horses, as long as you ride them on the designated trails. You can also camp at any one of their 50 RV pads.

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Glenn Cunningham Lake

Address: Omaha, Nebraska

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2. Carter Lake

Carter Lake, IA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jan Tik used under CC BY 2.5

Named after the famed industrialist, Levi Carter, Carter Lake in Omaha is a very calming nature park, located right next to the Eppley Airfield. While the lake is a very peaceful place for its visitors, the history of the lake wasn’t very peaceful at all, as it is the only lake whose ownership was decided by a Supreme Court case. The park is the perfect place for you to launch your boat, do some fishing, enjoy some watersports, and take in some other recreational activities, such as baseball, basketball, or football.

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Carter Lake

Address: 809 Carter Lake Shore Dr N, Omaha, NE 68110, United States

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

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3. Lake McConaughy

Lake McConaughy Kite Surfing (800485270)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user vicki watkins used under CC BY 2.0

Lake McConaughy in Nebraska is known to be the largest reservoir in the whole state. The lake offers several recreational activities, like boating, fishing, swimming, and camping. Its amazing white sand makes for the perfect place for swimming during the summer season. It is also a great spot to camp. Adjacent to the lake is the Lake McConaughy Visitor and Water Interpretative Center, which features several exhibits, two large aquariums, a theater, and a community room.

Lake McConaughy

Address:Keith County, Nebraska, United States

Website: Lake McConaughy

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4. Lake Manawa

Lake Manawa, IA
Source: Photo by Flickr user Beatrice Murch used under CC BY 2.0

Lake Manawa is a man-made lake made to disperse water from the Missouri River. It is located in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa. Today, Lake Manawa and Lake Manawa State Park offer a lot of recreational activities for families and groups of friends alike. You don’t need to look for restaurants as there are a number of picnic shelters here which can be reserved online. There are also hiking, walking, and biking trails and the lake is also known as a popular boating site, as well as a great spot for swimming and water sports.

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Lake Manawa

Address: 1100 South Shore Drive, Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Opening hours: 4am - 10:30pm (daily)

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5. Lake Wanahoo

The Lake Wanahoo is a 1 square-mike (2.6-square kilometer) lake that features a dam and a recreational area. It’s located in the northern part of Wahoo, Nebraska and it is a favorite place for Nebraskans to have fun outdoors, as the park features facilities perfect for fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, disc golfing, and many other recreational activities.

The lakeside also features camping facilities for a great night with your family and friends. Some of these facilities include electrical hookups, RV camping sites, tent camping sites, restrooms, and showers.

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Lake Wanahoo

Address: Saunders County, near Wahoo, Nebraska

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6. Lewis and Clark Lake

Lewis & Clark Lake and Dam NE
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user U.S. Army Corps o... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Lewis and Clark Lake is a 50.2 square-mile (130-square kilometer) lake and reservoir that is located right between Nebraska and South Dakota, along the Missouri River. Known as one of the biggest lakes in Nebraska, Lewis and Clark Lake offers several recreational activities for everyone. There are beautiful, new, and modern cabins right on the shore, which offer a picturesque view of the lake in case if you want to stay in this place. Besides this, there are also camping facilities available for use.

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Lewis and Clark Lake

Address: Crofton, NE 68730, United States

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

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7. Conestoga Lake

Source: Photo by Flickr user wht_wolf9653 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Conestoga Lake in Denton, Nebraska, is a newly-renovated lake park that offers everything enjoyable for families and groups craving fresh air and the beauty of nature. The state park offers boating ramps, picnic areas, hiking and biking trails, campsites and fishing areas. Conestoga Lake is a popular destination for tourists coming from Lincoln and the adjacent towns and cities.

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Conestoga Lake

Address: Denton, NE 68339, USA

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8. Wehrspann Lake

Footbridge over Lake Wehrspann
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MONGO used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Wehrspann Lake is an artificial reservoir that is part of the Chalco Hills Recreation Area and it was built to control flooding and add to the recreational areas in the area. The lake is surrounded by a number of picnic areas and covered pavilions. There are also several soccer fields, a baseball field, and two playgrounds which are connected to the picnic areas. It is a popular launch site for hot-air balloons and radio-controlled airplanes.

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Wehrspann Lake

Address: Sarpy County, NE, USA

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

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9. Branched Oak Lake

Branched Oak Lake marina 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ammodramus used under CC0

Known to be the largest of all the Salt Valley Lakes, Branched Oak Lake is an artificial reservoir that was once the site of Crounse village in Nebraska. The lake is part of the Branched Oak State Recreation Area and features two beaches for swimming, modern campsites, and trails for hikers. There are also facilities for hunting, shooting, and archery inside the park. A marina is also available inside the park and offers boat rentals, fuel, bait, and a restaurant called the Boat House Bar and Grill.

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Branched Oak Lake

Address: 12000 W Branched Oak Rd, Raymond, NE 68428, United States

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10. Calamus Reservoir

Calamus River at NE96 DS
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ammodramus used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Calamus Reservoir offers more than 7.8 square miles (20.2 square kilometers) of fishing, swimming, hunting, camping, and boating. The reservoir features sandy beaches, modern campgrounds, a fish hatchery center, and a visitor center. If you want to go fishing at the Calamus Reservoir, you can make use of their two fishing stations with water and disposables, five boat ramps, and docks that are available from spring to fall. The hatchery also features self-guided tours and exhibits on how to raise fish and much more.

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Calamus Reservoir

Address: Loup County, NE

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11. Pibel Lake

Pibel Lake is an impressive, 24-acre (9.7-ha) spring-fed lake nestled within Pibel Lake Recreation Area, a facility that’s nearly thrice the size of the lake. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, then you definitely have to experience the lake for yourself. Have a picnic and camp along its shores, or go boating and fishing in the lake. Fish like bluegills, bass, and catfish are abundantly found in its waters. Kids can also enjoy a playground in the area, so it’s perfect for families looking to have a fun-filled weekend retreat in Nebraska.

Pibel Lake

Address: Ericson, NE 68637, USA

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12. Fremont Lakes

Fremont State Recreation Area
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jared Winkler used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Less than an hour’s drive from Omaha is Fremont Lakes, a series of 20 gorgeous lakes located near Fremont City, Nebraska. Covered by picturesque forests, soft beaches, and lush greenery, this entire area is ideal for spring and summer vacations. Many of the lakes are large enough for boating and water sports, while fishing and swimming in incredibly serene waters are also tons of fun. Fremont Lakes is a popular destination for campers of all kinds, from those roughing it in the great outdoors to those who prefer the comfort of an RV. Scenic picnic spots are plentiful, and watching the sunset over the water is a must-see experience.

Fremont Lakes

Address: 3120 State Lakes Rd, Fremont, NE 68025, United States

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Explore the beauty of the lakes in Omaha, Nebraska

TD Ameritrade Park Omaha1
Source: Photo by user Skinzfan23

Omaha is indeed more than just a historic city featuring sports bars and fancy restaurants. It is also home to some of the most beautiful and clearest lakes in Nebraska, United States. Relax and enjoy the beauty of these lakes and make use of the recreational facilities available by visiting them soon.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Ryan is a Computer Engineer with a heart for traveling and writing. Born in Pasay City, Philippines, and raised in Melbourne, Australia, he is now based in the Philippines' City of Smiles, Bacolod...Read more

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