Secret Gems for Camping in South Dakota

Camping in South Dakota is a popular activity for both tourists and locals alike. But have you already done the wildlife loop at Custer State Park, played in the water wonderland of Lewis & Clark Recreation Area, and hit your favorite launch point to catch walleye on Lake Oahe? Add one of these 3 hidden camping gems to your family’s end-of-summer bucket list:

Hartford Beach State Park

Created over 10,000 years ago by melting glaciers, this picture-pretty spot on Big Stone Lake near Milbank, SD, has rocky bluffs and timbered shorelines. Hartford Beach State Park is one of the first state parks in South Dakota and has 5 hiking trails that feature the area’s historic trade importance to Native Americans, French and English explorers, and territory settlers. And the fishing is fantastic!

Shadehill Recreation Area

Want to get away from it all? Really away from it all? Enjoy sprawling scenery in peace and quiet at Shadehill Recreation Area, near Lemmon, SD. There’s a 5,000 acre reservoir lake – one of the largest in western SD – that’s great for fishing, boating, and kayaking. We promise you won’t get mauled by a grizzly bear here, like Hugh Glass did in 1823 and famously recounted in the novel Lord Grizzly by Frederick Manfred.

Pease Creek Recreation Area

This secluded park near Geddes, SD, has nearly 600 acres with lots of shaded camping areas and easy access to the Missouri River. A true western recreation spot, Pease Creek Recreation Area has horse campsites and 3.5 miles of multi-use trail – including horseback riding – through wooded terrain on the rolling bluffs with scenic overlooks of Lake Francis Case.

Did we miss your family’s choice for the best kept secret camping spot in South Dakota? Share it with us to add to our list!