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Watertown, SOUTH DAKOTA

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Most Recent Watertown Camping Reviews
On the shores of Kampeska

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.

Best Sunset on the Prairie

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.

Upper and lower

Great camp ground with things for everyone to do. Upper and lower campground are both very nice with big sites.

Awesome sunsets; nice campground

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.

Laura would be honored

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.

Camp in a quaint small town

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.

Spacious grassy campground that is lakeside

I spoke with a man who remembered when he used to come here to fish with his Dad. That was enough to encourage a stop here. We followed the signs and ended up at the west campground. There is another one on the eastern shore. It seemed like there are only a few campers here but a group of kids and their chaperones showed up later at night. They were loud enough to be heard but kept together politely- good to see programs bringing people out into nature. It also looks like they had a full weekend due to the reservation slips still on the posts. Well tended grass abounds and the openness leaves room for the breeze. It might be different in a heat wave but the sun and breeze combo is quite relaxing and is keeping the bugs away. 

We walked around camp and found cabins sprinkled throughout. A vault toilet is right next to the shower house leaving me wondering why they’re so close. A book exchange, playground, volleyball and horseshoe pit give entertainment options. A groomed trail leads right out of camp- bug spray needed for the trail. A boat launch and day use area is around the bend. This State Recreation Area has plenty to do and is beautifully maintained. 

This is a great option for tonight!

This place is trimmed to the 9s

Very friendly staff, very well kept. The showers & other facilities we're cleaned every morning. Maybe more. It is clean At 21.00 it is a bargain. The sites all have electricity, picnic tables & fire ring. Lots of firewood available for donations. Nice place on South Dakota side of Big Stone lake.

Very Cool and Unique Campsite on the Grounds of the Laura Ingalls Homestead

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.

Nice quiet park

Despite being close to Brookings this park is quiet and i didnt find it very full. Nice place to go camping, especially if you are looking to go birding for waterfowl or fishing one of the nearby lakes.

Something for everyone!

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.

Quiet, clean state park

Nice, clean campground. A few of the tent sites had lake views with even a few having short paths right to the waters edge. All sites are drive in with not much privacy in between, but it was enough for me. I stayed in site 9, but would probably choose site 14 for better views next time. Even though the dnr website says the office is open daily, the office at this campground is unmanned except for the weekend, and even then, limited hours. Bring change for firewood ($6). Not much for hiking paths. There is another section of the state park that's about 11 miles north. There is a beach and boat landing near the campground, although the lake was starting to look pretty scuzzy when I was there at the end of July.

Magical Must-See for Kids & All Little House on the Prairie Fans

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 Campground

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).

The Homestead

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.

Nice people with helpful suggestions

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.

No contact from host

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.

Clean, quiet, open space right on beautiful lake Kampseka!

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.

Sunrise over the water

Big mowed lots,trees or open spaces if you want.

Border View

We were able to grab a quite corner spot with a great view of the lake looking over to South Dakota. There are canoe rentals an ok trail system and a great swimming beach.

Wonderful Campground

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.

Put down those ipads and play like 1880

Friendly folks and simple camping. Lots of things for the kids to do and play just like its 1880.

Beautiful network of trails along the lakes.

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.

Great

Would go back

Fine place to stay

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.

Hike, Swim, Fish & Camp

Beautiful campground! We rode in to the park on bicycles from Watertown, SD and enjoyed a very relaxing evening at the campground. The hiking trails were very enjoyable and the swimming beach looked very nice. We will return with our kids to this campground!

Great hiking and fishing!

Super cool hiking trail around Scout Island! Great history at Ol Mortimers Cabin and the old military fort. Kayaking, boating, fishing, and swimming are excellent!