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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.
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!
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.
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.