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 state park in eastern SD is a great t place to camp, there are two modern camping areas, a swimming beach several boat launches, handicap accessible fishing dock. There is a a horse trail and trail campsites.
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.
We had a reservation and told them we would be coming in late due to a family reservation in another campground. The woman I spoke with said that wasn't a problem and that, if the office was closed, she'd be in the house next door. The office WAS closed so I knocked on the door. No answer. I called and left a message that we had arrived and needed help finding our site. No return call. We finally found our site only to discover a truck parked in front of the pull through. Once the owner was found and moved the truck, we had to make a sharp turn between two trees on either side of the drive. We didn't even unhook as we had to be out at noon the next day. The next morning, we discovered the site had dead birds with flies buzzing around them, dog poop that hadn't been cleaned up, and cigarette butts on the ground. The dead birds had been there a while as had the evidence of dogs (we have a dog we always clean up after and follow leash rules). The park is nothing special but it is on the lake and may have some decent fishing access. The neighbors on one side had a dog off leash and it came over to check out our on-leash dog. Rules are not enforced and the hosts apparently don't check on things. We never did hear from them. The campground is a winding ways from I29 but we have Google maps so it wasn't a problem finding it. It just wasn't very convenient at all. We were not impressed with the service or lack of.
There are many sites for both tent and RV camping along with clean wash houses and located within a 10 minute drive to town. Cost was $22 per day.
Large spots maintained very well. RV spots have electric. Many spots have shade, some are near the lake, and some with lake views. They have small cabins for rent, as well as paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes. There is a lower park that’s great for families, with activities on the weekends , a large playground, and easy lake access. The other park is mainly spaces, with a large grassy area in the center. They spray regularly for bugs, which is extremely important to me! The area has many geocaches as well!
Wonderful campground! Very well kept with the grass cut and shower/bath houses cleaned and maintained often. Everyone is very friendly from the staff to the fellow campers. Sites are available on a first come basis and sites are usually available during the week but fills up by the weekend especially holiday weekends or popular camping weekends. The lake is right there and has a wonderful beach area. Also, there is a great Veteran's Memorial on the north edge and an easy walk to it.
Great place for horseback riding and canoeing, plush boating and fishing. In addition to natural beauty there are games to rent, playground, etc.
Yay: Choice of traditional campsites or cabins.
Nay: campsites are very open and unshaded. Only a few are by the water.
Surprise: the park seems small but there is sooo much to do here.
Would go back
Located on Lake Kampeska near Watertown off I-29 in eastern SD. We stayed on site 1 which is a long pull thru with a distant view of the sizeable lake. There are about 70 non-reservable sites all with W/E (50A), a couple of playgrounds, one dumpstation, a boat launch and an impressive Veterans Memorial. The roads are paved while the sites are dirt/gravel.
A few large trash bins spread throughout the cg with bins for drink cans for Disabled American Veterans.