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Camping in South Dakota

THE BEST CAMPING IN

South Dakota

About South Dakota Camping

The Mount Rushmore State is home to seven National Park Service sites that range from jewel-encrusted caves to ancient fossil beds. Black Hills National Forest in the western side of the state covers an additional 1.2 million acres that spill over the border into Wyoming and hold the highest peak east of the Rockies. At about 71,000 acres, nearby Custer State Park is one of the largest state parks in the country and home to an annual buffalo roundup that offers a true taste of the American West. The Black Hills, often referred to as the “island in the prairie,” is a perfect spot to start your South Dakota camping trip!

Travelers looking to lounge lakeside will be pleased with the many camping options available near the region’s 17 lakes. With stunning rock formations reaching out from the water, Sylvan Lake is one of the area’s most iconic places to take a dip and do some South Dakota camping. Nearby, Horsethief Lake is tucked into the surrounding ponderosa pines, yet only two miles away from the ultimate road trip stop, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Those looking to pick up some speed can head north to Pactola Lake for a day of water skiing and a night of s’mores.

Prefer solitude? Strap on your backpack and hike the state’s 111-mile Centennial Trail, which provides a north to south taste of the Black Hills through prairie grasslands, dense forests, and high country terrain. Check with the different land management agencies along the way for specifics on where backcountry camping is allowed or where to find established campgrounds. Rather bike? The 109-mile George S. Mickelson Trail runs parallel to the Centennial Trail and is a rails-to-trails, car-free dream.

South Dakota camping is for everyone, and whether you’re exploring by foot or by RV, you’ll be able to find the perfect place to rest your head. Private and public campgrounds near the town of Custer offer RV hookups, and are a quick drive to Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest in-progress mountain carving. Begun in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski at the request of Oglala Lakota Chief, Henry Standing Bear, this memorial is more than a work of art. It is a mission to preserve and honor the culture and tradition of Native Americans.

After camping on the island in the prairie, make sure to head east and watch the landscape roll into waves of grasslands before crashing into Badlands National Park. Head east farther still, and you’ll meet up with the mighty Missouri River. Use The Dyrt to find South Dakota camping options along the way that will open your eyes to the hidden beauties of the heartland.

Recent Reviews In South Dakota

1764 Reviews of 459 South Dakota Campgrounds

Sandra W.
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2021

Lots for kids to do!

Great pool and kid activities. Rv sites are small, similar to other KOA/Jellystone campgrounds. Location is right on interstate and easy to find. Not for nature lovers.

Site423
Month of VisitAugust
Ivana B.
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2021

Very nice and clean

We stayed there for only 1 night in a tent. It was very nice, a lot of people. We stayed there towards the end of October so they had heaters in the bathrooms. Nice, clean and big showers. The staff was very helpful and friendly. You can hear the train yes, but its not too bed. Would stay there…

Site10
Month of VisitNovember
J
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2021

Fall camping

The folks here were more than accommodating still had all facilities available in late october.. Way to go Spokane camp.... Take time and do the entire iron mountain road...

  • just one of the tunnels...say hi george
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Site46
Month of VisitNovember
MThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2021

A forest road hideaway

We rolled into camp a little after 4:30. This time of year it starts to get dark at 530. We came in off Custer Limestone road. The forest road is a little rough, be aware if you are driving a car or a vehicle with bad off roaring capabilities. It took a little imagination where to camp, I’m…

Month of VisitNovember
Bruce B.
Reviewed Oct. 23, 2021

Good place

It’s a real good place to camp with lots of space and year around hookups. The rates are a little high as I stay here because of my work. You are right next to a couple main roads as well so there is a lot of traffic noise. If you want quiet, it’s not the place. Other than that it is a very good…

Site219
Month of VisitNovember
Shawn H.
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2021

Good base camp for our hunting trip.

Place was full for the pheasant opener in October. Electric hookups only. No water or sewer. Has a dump site though and nice showers and bathrooms.

SiteD
Month of VisitNovember
Greg B.
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2021

Sleepy Hollow can get a little noisy

The campground is located directly next to a train track that had traffic on it during our stay. It was only one train in the late afternoon which was fine for us. The campground is a standard commercial campground with simple amenities. Its best selling point is how close it is to the city of Wall…

  • Afternoon Train
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  • Aerial view
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Site51WE
Month of VisitJuly
Greg B.
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2021

Quiet with convenient access to everything the Black Hills have to offer.

Whether you are tent camping, pulling a trailer or want a cabin this campground has it all. The shower facility on site is very clean for a state park. A quick drive to Mt. Rushmore, Iron Mt. Road,  Needles HWY, or Crazy Horse. The unbelievable Custer State Park wildlife loop is less than 15…

  • (5) View All
Site3E
Month of VisitAugust
Greg B.
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2021

Sunrise or sunset, views you’ll never forget!

My wife and I spent two nights here with our Lab and wished we had spent at least two more. It’s a bit bumpy getting in and out, but we were able to do it with a standard SUV and 22ft Airstream. Go for it, it’s worth it!

  • (4) View All
SiteDispersed off grid
Month of VisitJuly
l
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2021

Nice campground

We stayed one night on our way home from pheasant hunting. Park was immaculately clean and very pretty. Restrooms were just as clean and nice. Nearly had the park to ourselves (end of October) and it was wonderful!

Site10
Month of VisitNovember
T
Reviewed Oct. 19, 2021

Biased, but they asked

This has been my home since my dad moved us here in 1970. I love it here. We have great grassland and there are beautiful canyons, and some of the features of the badlands show up in this area. It's a great blend of scenic beauty. We are near the North American Pole of Inaccessibility, making this…

Month of VisitJuly
Michael B.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Oct. 19, 2021

Sturgis ‘17 & ‘18

Only a 5-10 min walk to the rally and a fun party in the big shed each night that sits in the middle of the campground, this is prime real estate!

Month of VisitSeptember
Jen K.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Oct. 19, 2021

Beautiful, well maintained park

This park has many campgrounds located throughout the park, cabins, boat docks, beaches, showers and large campsites. Well groomed green space, playgrounds and bike trails.

Site223
Month of VisitOctober
Ashley L.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Oct. 18, 2021

Beautiful!

This is one of the most beautiful campgrounds I've been to! Clean, amazing water views, fun disc golf course. Hoping to visit again next summer and check out the beach.

  • (6) View All
Site131
Month of VisitNovember
William S.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Oct. 18, 2021

Well, it’s a parking lot

But it happens to be the parking lot of there Great American Tourist Trap, famed in song and multiple billboards across South Dakota. While the three huge lots have no amenities whatsoever, they are large enough for any RV, and of course you’ve got the entire town right there.

  • it’s true. There is parking this way
  • Not quite a jackalope
  • Ah, the scenic view
  • (6) View All
Month of VisitNovember

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