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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 were searching for a place to land for the night and after a couple of failed attempts at other places, decided to come here. Sites (many with lake views) are spacious and very reasonably priced ($22 for electric/water and$30 for full hookup). Mid-week was very quiet and peaceful; I imagine that a weekend, especially in the summer might be a different experience. The bathroom was very clean. Didn’t use the shower but were warned by the host that the hot/cold faucets were backward. Awesome sunsets! A nearby veterans memorial is very touching. The only complaint was no recycling bins.
We have traveled in a RV for 6 years and been to 48 states (3 or 4 times each), visited 300 plus small towns and I can say this was one of my favorite camp spots. There are only 4 RV lots, and they are pretty close together, but we stayed before season, so we had the place practically to ourselves. For $30, we had W&E, fire pit (firewood not sold), picnic table and free access to the homestead. Bathrooms were so clean and smelled like cedar wood. There is a dump station but be fore warned it's on a slope, so emptying your tanks completely will be a challenge. Also a sign says grey water only, this is not true, you can dump your black water too. Since we were off season, during the day, they had school trips daily, so there were a lot of children, having fun playing right behind our rig. But it was only for a short period of time during the afternoon. There's a museum right next to the sites, which is always open. There's also is a tower you can climb to get some really great views. Several houses and buildings are on the property you can explore and hay rides are available. They also have a nice country store where you can by your souvenirs. If your a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, like me, this is a must stop, if only for a night! I also want to mention that the camp hosts and gal that ran the store, couldn't have been nicer.
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.
This is a welcoming experience with hosts who are happy to make your stay comfortable. It is near a very small town and close to the Interstate (less than one mile). The pull through sites are somewhat close together with no foliage to offer privacy but it is clean and well kept. We decided to stay in a back-in site further away from the office and pull through sites. Before we were even set up the host had brought us a beautiful, little picnic table and set it out front for us. They gave us leaflets about the area and we talked fishing possibilities with them. They have laundry and showers available as well as bait, ice, and I think even propane. We extended our stay here as it was a great place to just chill and take some exploratory drives. Although there isn't much shade to offer protection from the sun, they do have full hook ups so we could run air conditioning. We would definitely stay here again.