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Nice pebble beach, playgrounds, and walking areas. Flat camper parking. Power was great and showers were clean. Electric only. There is an area to dump waste on the exit. Stopped on Sunday on the way westward and the place was empty, stopped Friday on the way home and it was packed. Lots of kids and families, and almost every spot was full. Happy to see folks having fun. It was just a little busy for us. On the second time through one of the three bathrooms was very dirty, sad before the weekend- the showers remained clean. On the Friday stop there were a lot of people, some spots had 3-4 cars parked in the grass- it was too bad they allowed that. If one was to go here to find some quiet do so during the week or late weekend. It worked just fine as a quick overnight stop on our route. Lots of families having fun. Slept well. Well groomed area. Pretty views of lake. A little windy.
Camp host greeted us upon arrival and helped put water on. We stayed 2 nights, in town for a wedding. Most of the sites were flooded with only 3 available, we were the only TT along with the camp host. Showers were clean and ADA. The beach was mere feet out the rear of the trailer. Watertown is close with plenty to do if one needs to wander.
I’ll admit - I chose this campground because I am a HUGE Laura Ingalls Wilder nerd and it is on one of the lakes where she and Almanzo took their Sunday drives and just a few miles from the LIW Memorial Society in DeSmet. Apart from all that, this is a gem of a campground. We were fortunate to get a site right on Lake Thompson. There are clean and modern restrooms available with free showers. A hiking/biking trail goes along the lake, through the campground and to the swimming beach. Friendly staff - great facilities.
We decided not to stay here because it’s right in town and very visible. There are a few RV spots and room for tents. They have a great playground. If you’re timing is right you can catch a ballgame without leaving you campsite.
Town is a block away. It’s a beautiful small town. They had a burger deal that drew a crowd. Certainly worth some time walking around.
A very cool and unique campsite on the grounds of the Laura Ingalls Homestead near De Smet, SD. Unique in that you can camp right on the open prairie and for only $10 a night. Just pick a spot of grass and you’re good to go. There are some picnic tables you can choose to be near or just head out on the frontier. There are also options to camp in a covered wagon as well as a bunkhouse. RV spots are available and include water and electric hookups. Well appointed and clean bathrooms (electricity and flush toilets) are on site with showers.
The other really cool thing about this spot—especially for families—are all of the fun activities at the homestead itself. There’s a one-room school house with tours, a barn with animals, a covered wagon ride where you (or your kids) can lead the horse-drawn wagon, opportunities to learn how to make a jump rope, twist hay, wash clothes—all things the Ingalls family had to do on a farm from long ago.
A night or two in the summer is great though with no shade for the campsites field, it can get warm but evenings on the prairie are gorgeous. All in all, a great spot to set up that is cheap but with nice facilities and staff.
This is a truly magical place, and if you’ve ever read any of the Little House on the Prairie books and are anywhere near De Smet South Dakota, do yourself a favor and swing by.
The Ingalls Homestead consists of two main parts. First is the "campground," which is a basically a large grassy slope where you can set up your tent for just $10. It includes hot showers, flush toilets, and a few picnic tables and fire-pits throughout the field. There's also fairly basic RV parking for $30 with electric and water hookups and a dump site as well as some basic but cool covered wagons for $60. We arrived just as the sun was setting, found a lovely spot for our tent, and then paid in the shop the next morning. The bathrooms were clean, the showers were a little strange but also clean and hot (basically a large room cordoned off by several shower curtains).
De Smet is where the Ingalls family lived during the "Long Winter" of 1880-1881, and the Ingalls Homestead is a "family run business" that brings to life many activities from the 1880s such as visiting a one-room schoolhouse, making a corn on the cob doll, going on a covered wagon ride, etc. It's truly hands-on and some of our favorite time was spent hanging out in "Pa's" lean-to barn with the barn kitties and riding horses and ponies. My oldest son also learned how to drive the covered wagon to the schoolhouse down the road (another treat). Each station on the self-guided tour has an activity with incredibly nice and informed hosts. Most of the buildings are based on the original plans and descriptions from the Ingalls family, though no original buildings remain on the site. Visiting the homestead is an additional $15 per person over the age of five, and while you could camp without visiting the homestead, it was definitely worth a half or full-day visit.