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Wind Cave National Park, SOUTH DAKOTA

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Camping South Dakota Wind Cave National Park
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Most Recent Wind Cave National Park Camping Reviews
KOA near Mount Rushmore, SD

This KOA campground was fantastic!  It was near the Mount Rushmore National Park in SD & it was easy to travel to the national park.  We stayed in a basic cabin & ate breakfast here before heading to Mount Rushmore NP (which I did not find all that exciting).

Because of the great experience here, we decided to stay at other KOA campgrounds on our way home (AZ to CT).

Photos forthcoming!

Partially open and free in off-season

Stayed here two nights for free right after Labor Day weekend.

They had the second gate to the larger campground closed, but allowed access to the first few RV pads and about 5 tent sites. There was no check-in box, but we stayed anyway considering its National Forest it must count as dispersed.

Typical

There's no getting around that this is a well-maintained park. We stayed here in 2018 for a over a month. October 2019 stay was for three weeks. Everything was fine until a rouge storm was predicted to come in the last week we were to be there. We decided that it might be best for us to head back home. So, I went to the owner and told her what our intentions were and wondered if we might be able to get a few nights credit(not a whole week) with them for 2020 as we were going to come back again. She said she would have to discuss it with her husband and let me know. Two days later still no answer. My wife saw them together while she was walking the dog and again asked if we could get some days off for the 2020 stay, we were planning with our grown kids. They were very rude about it and said they would not do that. We were not asking for any money back. But since we had been with them the year before for over a month, we hoped they would like to get a little more money out of us the following year. I guess they feel that they are the best place in Custer, and they don't have to be worry about any lost revenue. The day we left it snowed up to 6 inches that night and stayed in the teens for the next 3 days. Our propane tank in the motorhome would have run out the first night. So, if you have a problem while you're there don't look for any understanding from these people. Most of the bad reviews I saw after this encounter was how rude the owners were. There are other nice RV parks in Custer. We will give them our money.

Dog breed discrimination

We called around to campgrounds in the area same-day. Good thing we called in advance, because their pet policy forbids any "pit bull" breeds. Our dog is a senior mixed breed that we rescued from an LA shelter. During our cross-country roadtrip from Southern California to Massachusetts, this was the only campground that discriminated against a dog by their breed, rather than by their actual witnessed behavior. We've never had an incident at any campground during the dozen of times we've camped with our dog; in fact he usually becomes friends with other neighboring camp dogs and interacts with them very well off-leash (where allowed). I understand that campgrounds are trying to ensure the safety of all guests, but dog aggression is better detected by observed behavior, not breed. (For example, I was bitten by a black lab while biking in northern Minnesota). This policy is not KOA-wide, but rather on a site-by-site basis. If you are traveling with large dogs, there were a few other breeds on their restriction list, so make sure to check before you make a reservation.

Fine place to camp last minute

We were looking for a campground in the area for a same day reservation on a Friday. We called in the early evening and they still had some spots left, very friendly staff. The forecast predicted some rain, so we wanted to find a campground that had some roofed structures at each site. The roofed shelters at each site don't cover the tent area, but we were able to connect our tarp to the side of the shelter and spread it over our tent for some extra protection from the wet. It worked really well. The campground has shower onsite for no extra charge, they were very clean and functional. The drinking water tasted strongly of chlorine to us, which was unfortunate. Another downside is that the sites are quite close together and not very scenic, so the experience feels more like a  place for vacationing families.

Good site

Free dispersed camping is nice. Fire is not allowed. I had issues with the tent pad being about a foot too short for my tent (3 person tent) but that's more a personal issue. It was a pretty busy spot while the sun is out. We definitely had an intense hail/thunderstorm so ended up sleeping half the night in the car. Where nice places for morning hikes.

Basic and convenient campsite

Stayed here one night on my way to Mt. Rushmore. The actual campground is open late Oct-April I think. But there are 5-6 sites outside the access gate to use when it’s not open. Has a pit toilet that was clean. Easy place to stop for the night.

Eclectic mix for just about anyone

This campground is right next to the road and is only 3 miles from Crazy Horse and a few miles from the town of Custer. It makes it easy to hop on and off the highway (which also makes it a bit loud). It is a perfect spot to be able to get to Crazy Horse for Sunrise or if Sylvan State Park is full and you are trying to find a site nearby (our situation). 

Sites include, picnic table, fire pit. Showers are hot and free to campers. However you should wear shower shoes in them. 

There is also a heated pool and a laundry room. 

Tent Sites: 5 People per site,$25 per night 

RV Sites:$50 per site 

There are also cabins and a deck house that fits more people.

Great Stopover for Late Night Drives

We were in and out late night and early morning so we didn't get to see it in the daylight but it fit the bill for an overnight stop. 

Nice grassy spots next to the highway. 

Not a lot of privacy.

$20 a night. 

Pit toilet bathrooms, fire rings and picnics tables.

Ranger Review: Banner and Oak Mug at Sylvan Lake Campground

Campground review: This lake is amazing! It makes the busyness of the road and the cost of the state park. We were staying there for a day and had to pay for a 7 day pass which was$20 just to enter the park. The campground is across the road from the lake and it is the perfect distance to there in about 2-3 mins.

 The sites are well covered but the campground is right next to the road so it is a bit loud on busy weekends. The general store at the lake was basically empty when we were there because it was a busy weekend but typically it is stocked with food and basic essentials. 

Gear review: As a ranger we often get to review fun gear! This trip I was able to bring along the Steel Camping Mug from Banner and Oak. 

https://bannerandoak.com/collections/gear-we-love/products/steel-camper-mug-white 

This mug is perfect for a casual campground mug. It radiates the temperature of the drink so be careful with hot beverages. The design on it is perfect for starting the day with the intention of trying something new! It holds about 8 oz of liquid. 

The one thing I would be aware of is the lip on the mug. It is a bit of a dip on the underside so if you don’t drink out of it just right, it will spill down your chin.