• Drop in a line
    Drop in a line

    Grand Island's Big Backyard is full of fishing opportunities. Relax with the family and fry up the day's catch over a sunset campfire on the beach. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism.

  • Make Wake on the Lakes
    Make Wake on the Lakes

    Waterskiing, tubing and jet skiing are popular summertime activities on Sandhills lakes. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism.

  • Hard to Beat
    Hard to Beat

    The sunrises and sunsets on the Sandhills prairie are among the best. Enjoy dusk with friends and family around an evening campfire. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism.

  • The Breeze Ever Blows
    The Breeze Ever Blows

    There's almost always a stalwart breeze in the Sandhills, and locals don't let it go to waste. These windsurfers are enjoying a summer day at Calamus Reservoir. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism.

  • Wildlife Watchers Take Note
    Wildlife Watchers Take Note

    Hunting pheasant and deer is a popular prairie pastime. Others bring binoculars and are content to watch the abundant wildlife in our Big Backyard. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism.

Soak in the Great Outdoors

Beautiful reservoirs and rivers lie within an hour or two of Grand Island to the northwest. Boating, fishing, hiking and hunting are abundant in Grand Island’s Big Backyard, the Nebraska Sandhills. Sherman and Calamus Reservoirs are popular destinations during summer months for families from all over Nebraska. Canoeing and the locally popular tanking (floating down a river in a watering tank) are popular in the Loup Rivers; native trout fishing can be had further north in the spring-fed Pine Creek.

Further west, natural, sand-bottom lakes are abundant in the Sandhills. Public access is available through numerous state recreation areas and wildlife refuges, the largest of which is the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. Largemouth bass and northern pike are abundant in these lakes, surrounded by miles of silent prairie. Prairie chickens and shorebirds are also plentiful, and trumpet swans nest in the area.