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Pickelfarmer

South Dakota camping

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I have never been to south Dakota camping but my wife has been to the black hills area to visit. she stayed at a hotel and did not camp. My question is other than Mt Rushmore is there alot of other activitys there? If so what? any help would be greatly appreciated.We have 2 young boys so please keep that in mind of you are so kind as to reply.

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There are TONS of things to do around the Black Hills and lots of campgrounds. It's especially a good trip if you've got kids along. Do some searching online and I'm sure you'll find plenty of information. Plan to take a whole week if you go, you'll need the time and still won't see or do everything.

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We were in the Black Hills in July. It was awesome. I want to go back so we can see the things we missed. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch. Very nice campground. Tons of things to do in the area. We camped with a group of 9 adults and 8 kids. Very fun trip. I would recommend it anyone.

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You might want to check out the "camper cabins" available in Custer State Park. We stayed in one there and another up in Shadehill (up near Lemmon, SD) last summer, and they were clean, cozy and very nice. Check out the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks HSOforum for more information.

Rushmore, Custer State Park, caves, the Badlands, Deadwood - there's a whole lot to do.

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bmc    4

My wife, me, and my 2 dauthers then 9 and 14 were out there last summer in June. We had an absolute blast!!!!!!!! We stopped and saw the Terry Redlin museum in Watertown, S.D. UNBELIEVEABLE artwork there. My kid's walked through in awe, as did my wife and I. We spent the first night in Mitchell, S.D. and saw the Corn Palace the next morning. Then westward, stopped at the Missouri River for a break and pics, then to Wall Drug, and into Custer KOA "Camper Cabin" for the rest of the trip. Mt. Rushmore, Mt. Rushmore Caves, a day in Deadwood, Bear Country, Reptile Garden, Badlands Nat'l park, Custer State Park animal viewing (early morning or evening was best). The Needles Highway and Cosmos Mystery Area are must see, espeically with kids. The wax museum in Keystone... I think was neat. Like someone else said a week isn't enough. We're gonna head back in a couple years and do the stuff we missed out on the first time. Beautiful country out there!!!\

Brian

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Like everyone says, this is a great family camping trip. Our family has camped at Custer State Park twice in the last few years. We tent camped up at the Sylvan Lk. campground in the park. Campsites are really kinda crappy, but this area is just beautiful. The temp up this high is usually at least 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding area.It can be beastly hot in summer.

Most of the attractions are kinda spendy in the area. We picked a few attractions that we wanted to see each time, but found there were a ton of things to do in the park for free. The hiking trails, rock climbing, wildlife viewing and fishing were great.

Regarding the traveling, we make a circular loop heading across NoDak the first day and staying in a little town called Medora.It's a cute little western themed town and Theodore Roosevelt National Park is right on the edge of it. Great herd of bison on the wildlife loop as well as elk, mule deer and wild horses.We drive on down to the Black Hills the next day.On the way back we travel across SoDak and hit some of the spots mentioned in other posts.

All in all a highly recomended trip. We're headed back next summer.

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Within a 2 mile radious of Mt Rushmore is a National Forest Campground. We found it 50% vacant when we arrived on a Tuesday late afternoon. There is also a section just for tents, but I didn't see any sites as we had a pop-up. I know many of the tent sites overlooked a beautiful little lake. We were able to get a one of two sites for campers with a water view. The lake provided awesome swimming from rocks. I believe a beach was easily within walking distance on the other side of the lake, but we had fun swimming from the rocks. Awesome hills to explore for kids with tons of builders with fools gold on them. I can't wait to bring my kids back there. It was a highlight of our trip just to stay in this quiet camp in the shadows of Mt Rushmore. We drove to night lighting and were home in 10 minutes after it was done.

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Ditto to what everyone else said....We went in June for a week, and it was perfect. There was plenty to do, and time to relax and enjoy without being rushed. By far the biggest hits for the kids was Custer in the evening to see wildlife, and Mt. Rushmore (make sure you go one night to watch the evening show) This was with my extended family, so 6 adults with 5 kids 11 years down to a 5 year old. They all had a great time.

folke

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Thank you guys so much for the reply's. I think this next summer we will try the SD trip. I'm looking forward to it. I just hope We can follow the same path you guys have takin. I guess thats part of a vacation. To find your own path but still stick to the main road. smirk Thanks again and since there is no bad reports its on.... grin

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We stayed in a KOA cabin several years the weekend after Memorial. It was in town and across the fence was residential. It must have been fun week for the kids as they scattered like wildfire when a parent came home unannounced.

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Don't miss the Crazy Horse memorial and Devil's tower. There are several gold mines you can tour in Keystone, Deadwood, Lead. Sylvan lake is a beautiful place to have a picnic. Badlands, Bear Country USA, Murdo Car museum, Wall Drug, There's a couple "Ghost towns" I'd say 2 weeks of full day touring to see it all, maybe more. Oh, and the Hot springs aren't too far south of Rapid City.

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We too are looking at spending a week out in the Bandlands/Black hills.

Those that have camped (with camper), is it best to stay at one camp ground? Or spend a couple days at different ones?

Also, looking for recommendations on campgrounds.

Thanks!

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You may want to stay at a couple of different camps, one option is to stay down at or by Custer for a couple three days and then pack up and go over toward Spearfish. At Spearfish you have closer access to the west side activities, like Deadwood, Devils Tower etc. Don't forget to take the drive through loop of the Badlands. Also the drive up toward Deadwood and Spearfish can be done in one day(we have done both, moved sites and stayed down in Custer as base camp), I preffered the base camp approach.

There is also a train ride from Keystone to Hill City that is cool, also trout streams, and the lakes of Custer hold lots of Rainbows to catch so don't forget the rod and reel, easy for the kids to catch fish to. We always stay down in Custer cause thats the kind of camping we like more natural, most of the grounds are located around a swimming area and little store facsility, and in the evening you can drive around to see the wildlife sometimes catch seeing the elk in the fields and can hear the bugeling in the eves. Love Custer. Can get Reservations or first come first serve, be early.

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We've stayed at Blue Bell campground(also a horse camp) and Legion Lake campround twice, (both in Custer Park). We liked Legion better cause the lake is right across the road, fishing,swimming,waterbikes,trails etc. It's centrally located in the park, with reasonable driving distance to Needles highway, Monument highway, Rushmore, Wind Cave, Crazy Horse, Mt. Coolidge overlook, and plenty more. Lead, Deadwood and Spearfish Canyon are a full day trip from the park but very scenic drives. Black Hills are like going to Yellowstone, to get your touring done its a lot of driving but worth it.

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You can camp right by Devils tower, very cool. NOT the KOA, but the little campground a little farther down the road, pretty much right past the tower. Also, be sure to check out the Booth fish hatchery in (I think) spearfish. Lots if BIG trout, my girls and I spent like 3 hours there buying fish food and feeding them.

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I would suggest Spearfish City Campground, very well kept and a lot to do around the area as mentioned by other posters. It is also walking distance to the hatchery. The Hills have a lot to offer, i would suggest stopping by a local Forest Service branch and get brouchures on campsites/hikes/etc.

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I go out to Sturgis every year, I never tire of that country. Spearfish campground is cheap and very nice the canyons have many places to pull over and view. Deadwood/lead is interesting. Remember that the closer you get to Rapid City the more expensive it will be. My suggestion would be to camp in spearfish and take in Devils tower, deadwood needles highway, Monuments, custer park. There is a ton of things to do free or cheap. Save the rapid ripoff experience for a later trip. When you are driving around don't be confused because it seems like every road is (14, 14A) pick up afree map of the black hills, every gas station should have a pile of tear off maps available. One more suggestion Stay away from it the last week in July- Aug.14 or so. This is the Black Hills Motorcycle classic. Roads are packed with cycles about 500,000 show up. It is not very fun driving/parking any where at that time.

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This is great advice and I really appreciate it. Turns out we might not be able to go on our trip this summer. It sucks so much!!! Maybe next summer. I guess we are going to New Mexico to see my brother next Christmas and need to save up vacation time. Thanks alot for all the replys and I will look back at this post next year and take all the replys in to acount when we hopefully get to go..

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Since gas prices are down this summer, I think we are gonna head out to SD this summer. Either going to camp in Sioux Falls and spend the day there doing stuff like hitting the zoo and Chuck E Cheese and other things and then head up to Mitchell one day. Aside from the Corn Palace, anything else to see there?

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