Best Campsites in South Dakota
South Dakota State in the United States offers plenty of diverse landscapes and many great campgrounds that one can explore. It features natural wonders such as colorful forests, scenic lakes, gorgeous buttes, and prairies, which provide great outdoor adventures and memorable camping experiences. Depending on the kind of camping experience you seek from this state, there are varieties of options available. You can choose between national parks, state parks, private or forest campgrounds, all equipped with facilities and amenities that cater to people of all ages. Once you go camping in this beautiful state, you may never want to leave. Below, we have highlighted 15 of the best campsites in South Dakota that offer a memorable camping experience.
1. Sylvan Lake Campground, Custer State Park
This campground can be found at 13329 U.S. 16A, Custer, South Dakota, and is one of the biggest state parks in the country. Sylvan Lake Campground features 39 campsites with a wide array of overnight camping options to choose from. The most popular camping spot here is located in the northern end of the state park in the Sylvian Lake campground. They are located close to the Sylvian lake Lodge, with access to showers and flush toilets. From this state park, you can also get access to nearby attractions such as Sylvan Lake, where you can indulge in water-based activities as well as a mile-long shoreline with scenic views.
2. Lake Francis Case
Lake Francis Case is located in the state of South Dakota provides a wonderful campground that is ideal for a fun family camping experience. It features plenty of recreational areas and facilities such as picnic areas, scenic hiking trails, and boating ramps, which surround the lake. The main draw to this campground is the opportunity to view the many bald and golden eagles, which dwell here especially during the winter season.
3. Sage Creek Campground, Badlands National Park
The Badlands national park features a variety of campgrounds to choose from, but the crown jewel, which offers the best overnight camping experience, is the Sage Creek Campground, which lies on the Northwestern side of the park. This campground, which looks like a cul-de-sac, offers primitive campsites encircled by a road and parking area. It is best suited for small camper units, and tent camping since big RVs cannot navigate the unpaved Sage Creek Rim Road. The campground offers free camping with minimal amenities, which include vault toilets and picnic tables.
4. Gavin’s Point Campground, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area
The Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is found at 43349 SD-52, Yankton, South Dakota and is a popular camping spot for many Midwesterners. It comprises of three different campgrounds, featuring more than 400 campsites. The Gavin’s Point Campground is the favorite of the three campgrounds in the area and offers 10 cabins and 90 RV sites. It offers playgrounds and restrooms with running water as well as a bike path. The main point of attraction in this campground is the Gavins Point Dam, which blocks the Missouri River to create a massive reservoir and the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area.
5. Spearfish City Campground
Located at 404 S Canyon Street, Spearfish, South Dakota, this campground features plenty of natural space and offers plenty of activities that everyone can enjoy. The Spearfish City Campground is located a short distance away from downtown Spearfish and contains 61 reservable electric campsites as well as 100 primitive campsites offered on a first-come, first-served basis. From the camp, you can easily get access to nearby attractions such as the Spearfish City Park and the neighboring Spearfish Creek, which offers the best trout fishing in South Dakota. Amenities such as flush toilets and showers are scarce, so campers have to share.
6. Lake Vermillion Recreation Area Campgrounds
Located at 26140 451st Ave, Canistota, South Dakota, Lake Vermillion Recreation Area Campgrounds features the 500-acre Lake Vermillion, situated in the eastern side of South Dakota. It is an ideal campground for water-based activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating, especially during the summer. It features 94 electric campsites spread along with three different campgrounds. It also offers a boat ramp for access to the lake water and visitors can bring along their vessels or visit the concessionaire to rent the available kayaks, canoes, or paddleboats. All the campsites can accommodate any kind of camping units and offer basic amenities such as showers and restrooms.
7. Pactola Campground
The U.S Forest service owns and operates the Pactola campground and is located at Rapid City, South Dakota. It is nestled along the shores of the majestic Pactola Lake, with 14 miles of shoreline that visitors can explore. The campground offers plenty of land and water activities such as scuba diving, boating, and hiking on the scenic two-mile Osprey Trail. It features more than 80 non-electric campsites, which can comfortably accommodate camping automobiles up to 35 feet in length. It offers basic amenities such as potable water, vault toilets, and a full-service marina from where you can eat, relax, or rent boats for use.
8. Roubaix Lake Campground
The Roubaix Lake Campground is located in the middle of the Black Hills National Forest and is operated by the U.S Forest service. It offers 56 sites and features one of the best fishing and swimming holes in South Dakota. Other popular activities that visitors can indulge in this campground include hiking, non-motorized boating and exploring the Black Hills National Forest. Fresh drinking water and shared communal vault toilets are the main amenities in the campground.
9. Horse Thief Campground and RV Resort
Located at 24391 SD-87, Hill City, South Dakota, the Horse Thief Campground, and RV Resort is nestled between Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore, and provide a lot of overnight camping options. They range from primitive non-electric tent campsites, RV sites, to fully furnished cottages that can accommodate three people. The campground is also conveniently located because it is located close to Black Hill’s most popular attractions such as the Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer state park, and Mount Rushmore. Amenities you can expect here are a tiled bathroom, wireless internet access, and a small on-site camp store.
10. Blue Bell Campground, Custer State Park
The Custer State Park is located at 13329 U.S. 16A, Custer, South Dakota and boasts of having 9 different campgrounds set in 71000 acres of land. Blue Bell Campground is the most popular of the 9 campgrounds and is an ideal destination for wildlife spotting as it offers the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road situated on the southern end of the park. It features 23 cabins, 32 tent and RV campsites set in a tranquil pinewood setting complete with hot showers and shared restrooms.
11. Lake Park Campground & Cottages
This campground is located at 2850 Chapel Lane, Rapid City, South Dakota and offers a variety of campground and cottages that every visitor can enjoy. It features tent and RV sites as well as cottages, which range from deluxe two bedrooms to studios all equipped with full-service restrooms and fresh drinking water. At the park, you can go fishing in Rapid Creek, explore the 7-mile bike trail, or rent a boat to relax on the pristine waters of the adjacent Canyon Lake.
12. Badlands National Park
The Badlands National Park is a popular camping destination in South Dakota that attracts visitors from across the globe. It features scenic views, formed by geological deposits and provide for a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The Badlands National Forest is also located in this campground and visitors can indulge in mountain biking or hiking along the scenic trails.
13. Palisades State Park Campground
Located at 25495 485th Ave, Garretson, South Dakota, the Palisades State Park Campground provides its visitors a chance to explore the unique environment found in Eastern South Dakota. It features over 37 campsites and 6 cabins, split between electric and non-electric grounds. They are either RV accessible or Tent only sites. At the campground, you can spend your day hiking the Creekside trails as well as rock climbing if you have the right gear. All the campsites have access to nearby natural attractions, communal flush toilets, and running water.
14. Big Sioux Recreation Area Campground
The Big Sioux Recreation Area Campground is set along the banks of the massive Sioux River and 10 miles east of the cascading Sioux Falls. It features 50 campsites, a few of which are set aside for Tent only and non-electric. They can easily accommodate RVs with 50-amp service. All campgrounds have access to potable water spigots, warm showers, and flushing toilets. Big Sioux Recreation Area also features 5 miles of a hiking trail, an 18-hole disc golf course, and a unique environment that visitors can enjoy. From the campsite, you can get easy access to the Sioux River and the Jay health canoe and Kayak trail.
15. Bear Butte State Park
If you are looking to camp in the quiet and serene environment of a mountain region, look no further than the Bear Butte State Park. It features a sacred mountain where campers can pitch a tent while admiring the stunning views of the surrounding area. From the state park, you can get a chance to view wildlife like the bald eagles and buffalo that don the area. If you are lucky, you can even witness the Native American Spiritual Ceremony in action.
The diverse landscape of South Dakota provides great natural wonders such as Lakes, woodlands, rivers, prairies, and wildlife that make it ideal for an amazing camping experience. Most of the campgrounds offer tent, RV, cabins, and cottage camping sites that are equipped with many of the basic camping necessities and amenities. If you intend to visit South Dakota and experience its unique environment while sleeping under the stars or exploring its various natural attractions, the 15 listed campsites will help you have a great camping experience in this beautiful state.