Fall Vibes in Keith County!

Fall is here and Keith County, Nebraska is the perfect place to plan a cozy weekend getaway.   Book a room at one of our hotels conveniently located just off I-80, or check out the lodges and cabins that stay open all year.

Nestled on the edge of the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills, Keith County contains two Nebraska State Recreation Areas: Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala.  All camping at the SRAs is first-come, first-served until May 20, 2023, the beginning of peak season.  There are also many local private campgrounds available.

Leashed dogs are welcome at the lakes, so it’s an ideal outing with your four-legged besties.  Miles and miles of sandy shoreline are available for hiking and fat-tire biking.  Lower water levels in 2022 have exposed interesting geographic and historic features for beachcombers. The lakes are also a favorite for kayakers, paddleboarders and canoeists.

Our location on the Central Flyway and proximity to large bodies of water add up to ideal conditions for birds in Keith County.  Fall migration is a good time to spot Sandhill cranes, white pelicans, ducks, geese, and shore birds. Check the Lake McConaughy Birding Trails Map and Bird Species Checklist to start your birding adventure.

The fall bite improves as temperatures cool off at Lake Mac, Nebraska’s largest reservoir.   Anglers find success slabbing for walleye and white bass in deeper waters, between 30-50 feet.  Slabbing is fishing with a vertical jigging motion to imitate dying bait fish, using lead and metal spoons. Lake McConaughy is also famous for its feisty wipers (a white/striped bass hybrid). Catfish can be caught year-round, especially at the west end of the lake.  Thinking of a guided fishing trip with a local expert?  Check the guide list here. 

Grab your favorite latte at one of our hometown coffee shops and stroll through our unique small businesses in Ogallala and Paxton for those perfect fall finds.  From antiques to boutique clothing and gifts, you’re sure to return home with something special.  Enjoy lunch and dinner at a wide selection of local diners and restaurants.  
Ogallala and Paxton are in the heart of cattle country, and delicious beef is always on the menu.  (But you’ll find plenty of other options, too!)

The annual Kayak Big Mac paddle sponsored by Ogallala Rotary will take place Saturday, November 5, 2022 from Divers Bay to Martin Bay.  Meet at 9:00 a.m., paddle off at 10:00 a.m.  $40 registration includes breakfast and lunch. Event proceeds go to local and international water projects.

Local historian Tomas England will host a class on Ogallala’s historic homes Friday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mid-Plains Community College in Ogallala.  Learn the fascinating history behind over 25 homes and the families who lived in them.  $10 to attend – call (308) 284-9830 to register.


Be sure to check out Ogallala’s “little gem” – the Petrified Wood & Art Gallery.  This unique collection contains ancient woods, gemstones, fossils, and Native American arrowheads and artifacts. Open year-round, call ahead for seasonal hours: (308) 284-9996.

If you’re in town during the spooky season, be sure to join all the fun we have planned. The public is invited to visit nearby Ash Hollow State Historical Park & celebrate Halloween in the Hollow with the ghosts of the Oregon Trail on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 2-6 p.m. Mountain Time. Enjoy kid’s games, s’mores, pumpkin picking & decorating, scavenger hunt, hay rack rides and a costume contest. The costume contest starts at 4:30 p.m.

Rotary Club of Ogallala will sponsor Halloween Horror Nights Oct. 21, 22, 28 & 29 from 7 to 11 p.m. at 115 West E, Ogallala to benefit polio eradication efforts. $10 for ages 10+, special “Monsters Repel” bands available for kids under 10.

Ogallala’s annual Halloween Parade will take place Friday, Oct. 28 with a 4:00 p.m. step-off time.  Join local businesses at Rendezvous Pavillion for Trunk-or-Treat.