South Dakota State Parks make a great summer vacation. The variety of activities offered at these parks guarantee that every family member will be happy. The state parks in South Dakota are known for history and scenery.
Campers may not bring in firewood from other states. Bringing in firewood is an ecological risk that can destroy the natural diversity found in South Dakota. Visitors are expected to buy and use firewood in the state park where they are staying.
Many South Dakota State Parks also act as nature preserves. When in a state park visitors may find it helpful to keep your camera ready for unexpected photo moments. As with any state feeding the wildlife can be dangerous and is strictly prohibited.
There are 6 regions in the South Dakota State Park system. Each one is different from the next. Entrance fees are charged. If you are thinking of visiting frequently an annual pass may be a good option. With the annual pass you gain free admission to state parks for a year. The cost is $28.00 annually.
Listed below is a short review of one park in each region. Use it to begin planning your next vacation to any of these top South Dakota State Parks.
South Dakota State Parks – Northern Hills Region
12 miles S of Lemmon off SD 73
Phone (605) 374-7114
The 1874 expedition of George Custer passed through this park as did other notable figures. Now, the area serves to offer leisure and recreation activities. Camping is one of the primary activities at this South Dakota State Park. Visitors can kick back, relax and enjoy the lake and scenery.
Wildernet.Com lists the coordinates of this park to be LAT: 45.7827286387 and LONG: -102.167701721
South Dakota State Parks – Oahe/Sharpe Region
Little Moreau Recreation Area
Wildernet.Com lists the following coordinates LAT: 45.3549800881 and LONG: -101.080913544
For more information contact the Shadehill Recreation Area
Phone: (605) 374-5114
The prairie lands of this area were used by cattle ranchers in the southern states as grazing territory for their herds. Today, visitors can watch for wildlife and birds. This small state park offers camping on a first come first served basis.
Amenities include a softball field, picnic shelters, swimming beach, boat ramp and fishing.
South Dakota State Parks – Glacial Lakes Region
11907 434th Avenue
Lake City, SD 57247
This 1864 prairie fort was used during the middle of the civil war to provide protection from Indian attack. Now, the site is a state park that is used to reveal much about the history of this part of South Dakota.
Today the historic fort offers a visitor center, camping, cabins, boating and canoe rentals, fishing, an equestrian trail and hiking trails, picnic area, interpretive programs, events and more.
South Dakota State Parks – Southern Hills Region
Custer State Park
13329 US Hwy. 16A
Custer, SD 57730
Visitor Center Phone (605) 255-4464
LAT: 43.7002643 and LONG: -103.4379714
Custer State Park in Custer, South Dakota is one of the state’s most popular parks. There are many campgrounds and resorts to choose from. The French Creek Natural Area offers hiking and camping. Choose from several hiking trails and many other activities. The park is known for the wildlife that roams through the area the many natural photo opportunities.
South Dakota State Parks – Heartland Region
Spirit Mound Historic Prairie
ON Hwy 19, 5 miles north of
Vermillion, South Dakota
For information visitors should contact Newton Hills State Park
The Lewis & Clark expedition visited here on August 25, 1804. The area has been charming visitors ever since. Visitors today can enjoy history, a hiking trail with historic interpretive markers, scenery, bird and wildlife viewing and photo opportunities. There are no fees for this historic area.
South Dakota State Parks – Lewis and Clark Region
Pierson Ranch Recreation Area
Off of Highway 52
c/o Lewis and Clark Recreation Area
Yankton, SD 57442
This park is sandwiched in between the South Dakota State Parks of Lewis and Clark and Chief White Crane. The paved hiking trail connects this state park with the Lewis and Clark State Park. Other recreation opportunities include basketball, camping, softball field, picnic areas, volleyball and tennis.
The Pierson Ranch Recreation Area is one of the most popular state parks and has the oldest campground in the area. For more information please contact the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area at the number above.
To see a full list of all South Dakota State Parks click this link
For more articles in the state park series by this author please visit this link.
South Dakota State Parks
Southeast South Dakota Tourism