Lake McConaughy will amaze you! It's a sizable chunk of Caribbean-like beachfront and turquoise water surrounded by the semi-arid landscape of southwestern Nebraska (55 miles west of North Platte).
Midwest Living Contributing Editor George Hendrix, an expert on that area, writes: "The lake appears as a vast, sky-blue gem, as you crest the gentle, treeless bluffs rising above the North Platte River Valley north of Ogallala." A broad band of white sand beach surrounds the waters of 22-by-4-mile "Big Mac."
Sailing enthusiasts especially love the 61-year-old reservoir and the constant prairie winds. Crafts range from nimble sailboards to cruisers. Anglers fish for white bass and walleye or for trout in smaller Lake Ogallala below Big Mac's Kingsley Dam. A new visitor center recently opened just south of the dam along State-61.
Secluded spots for tent camping sprinkle the shore (permits required). In most areas, you can drive right onto the beach, pitch your tent and bury your toes in the sand. Lakeside lodgings also include fishing camps, modern campgrounds with hookups, and rustic cabins and rooms at lodges. You can choose from an abundance of motel rooms in Ogallala, too (eight miles south of the dam).
Ogallala/Keith County Chamber of Commerce (800/658-4390). Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (308/284-8800).