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Tucked in northeastern Nebraska, on the scenic banks of the Missouri River just two miles from the town of Ponca is one of the most mesmerizing recreation areas in the Cornhusker State. With its lush oak and elm woodlands and grassy hilltops, the park beckons mountaineers, bikers, and RV campers from Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. To see the park's colorful wildflowers in bloom, the best time to visit is from May to June, when the ridgetop prairies and forests are filled with the aromas of yucca, prairie larkspur, shell-leaf penstemon, bloodroot, and blue phlox.
The park and town are named after Ponca Chief Standing Bear, who also has a place in Nebraska’s hall of fame, as he triumphed in a court battle for native rights. Thanks to Chief Ponca, Native Americans were finally granted the status of a person.
The park protects an area of 2,400 acres and is an amazing place to unwind, watch wildlife, fish, hike, and camp in an RV. Due to its proximity to other states and towns, guests should have little to no trouble finding an RV rental. You can search for an RV in Dixon County, Sioux City in Iowa, or South Sioux City in Nebraska, as both of these cities are around 20 miles away from Ponca State Park.
Missouri River is one of the main attractions at Ponca State Park. Many anglers come here to fish in hopes of catching catfish, drum, sauger, walleye, as well as other species that live in the river. It's also a place where you can learn to fish as the park hosts weekly youth fishing programs. Apart from fishing, the river is also used for kayaking and canoeing, whereas hikers and wildlife observers frequently roam about the coastal area. Those who are absorbed in the surrounding area are likely to see bobcats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, opossums, and barred owls.
Ponca State Park is a place where you can try exciting activities that involve your coordination and accuracy. You can either learn or polish your skills with throwing weapons like tomahawks, shooting from a firearm, or using a bow and arrow. These activities are permitted within The Eric Wiebe Shooting Complex, which is why thrillseekers and ranged weapons enthusiasts love camping at Ponca State Park.
If you want to have fun and test your accuracy in a more benevolent fashion, there's a golf course nearby. The Highland Oaks Public Golf Course is on the southern edge of the park and has a nine-hole course that sports scenic landscapes. Once you're done playing, make sure you visit the clubhouse.
Ponca State Park's campground provides great RV camping conditions, with more than 50 sites that welcome motorhoms. You can park your vehicle on a paved campsite that offers 30 and 50-amp electrical hookups. You'll also enjoy access to other camping amenities like picnic tables, showers, water spigots, dump stations, fire pits, as well as a playground where you can play with your kids. The maximum RV length allowed is 60 feet.
Alternatively, you can opt for primitive camping, which is available throughout the year. If you prefer a more modern accommodation option, there are camping cabins you can rent. Your dog is welcome to join you for your Ponca State Park camping trip as long as they're on a leash.
As Ponca is located near the state park, you'll have easy access to grocery stores and gas stations. The selection of restaurants in the near vicinity leaves much to be desired, so if you'd like to have more cuisine options, you'll have to drive to one of the other towns in the county. However, while you're in Ponca, you can visit the Adams House Museum and learn about the Adams family and how they fit into the history of Ponca. Exhibits include antiques and artifacts.
Sioux City is the nearest urban area with an amazing selection of restaurants, and it also boasts a number of attractions. If you want to spend quality family time with your kids, make sure you visit the Children’s Museum. This is a huge arcade where kids can play, throw parties, and have fun learning new things.
Some 25 miles from the state park is the town of Vermillion in South Dakota. Vermillion is an amazing place to visit, especially if you're passionate about music, as it's home to the National Music Museum. Here, you can check out an extensive collection of over 15,000 instruments. The museum also has an awesome gift shop and offers a variety of educational lessons and books related to music and instruments.