Windmill State Recreation area is one of the jewels of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in the state’s unique chain of lakes along Interstate 80. Situated at the Gibbon Interchange between Kearney and Grand Island, the area draws its name from the old-time windmills situated in the park. The oldest windmill is a 1880 Standard that was used to pump water for steam locomotives in Fleming, Colorado. All have been restored to working order.
Located on the northeast portion of this state recreation area, this archery range hosts six targets from 10-60 yards.
Windmill SRA has six lakes, all of which provide angling opportunities. Species include largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, yellow perch and common carp. Additionally, catchable rainbow trout are stocked in Lake 2 in October and March. This lake also offers a handicap-accessible fishing pier.
For more information on fishing opportunities here and at parks across the state, visit the interactive public fishing areas map. This map provides detailed information on available species, regulations, public boat ramps, fish cleaning stations and ADA-accessible boat ramps and docks, among other features in reservoirs, lakes, streams and rivers statewide. Lake contour maps are available for some lakes, as well.
Only electric motor and non-powered boating is permitted at Windmill SRA. No docks or ramps are available.
The area has one designated swimming beach. No lifeguards are on duty. Sand volleyball is also available on the beach.
A scenic, two-mile nature trail winds through the park.
This area’s close proximity to Interstate 80 makes a popular and welcome stop for travelers. The area has 128 picnic tables, 100 grills and four picnic shelters, one of which has electricity.
Windmill State Recreation Area offers Electric Plus, Electric and Basic camping. Windmill SRA offers 69 camping pads with 20-, 30- and 50-amp electrical hookups, as well as 20 non-pad Basic campsites without electricity. The area offers drinking water, two modern restrooms, two shower houses, a dump and fill station and laundry.
Reservations may be made for half of the campsites at Windmill SRA and the remainder are available first-come, first-served. Those camping first-come, first-served register their nightly camping fees in a raised, locked box called an Iron Ranger. Self-service envelopes are provided at each Iron Ranger station. Check or cash only. Iron Rangers are generally located near the park entrance or in the campground area. On-site camping informational signs are provided to help guide campers with the self-registration process.
A park entry permit is required and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors or in advance of your arrival online. Daily permits are $6 for residents and $12 for non-residents.