State Parks

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The State Parks of South Dakota provide travelers with some of the most breathtaking scenery, rich history, and fantastic water and winter recreation opportunities in the United States. Regardless of which region you visit, there are sure to be thriving South Dakota parks nearby.

Regardless of the location of the state you are traveling one thing can be certain is there is always a South Dakota state park nearby.

Western Region

The Western Region of South Dakota is one of the state’s most popular destinations for travelers. There are many popular attractions that include Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Deadwood, and beautiful landscapes. The region’s unique geology has shaped some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state, delighting tourists with spectacular views both above and below the earth’s surface.

Western Region visitors can take in Bear Butte State Park. This park provides spectacular scenery, and the opportunity to revisit history and experience the rich Native American culture.

Custer State Park, located in the Western Region of South Dakota, is the second largest state park in America. Known for its unusual geological formations, known as The Needles, Custer State Park attracts rock climbers from around the world. Bison, antelope, bighorn sheep, and elk roam the 73,000 acres of the park’s grounds.

Within the Western Region there are nine State Parks and/or Recreation Areas. Almost all of these areas offer excellent camping locations and provide a short drive to popular tourist attractions in the Western Region.

Find out more about the State Parks and Recreational Areas in the Western Region.

Central Region

The Central Region of South Dakota is home to Oahe Downstream Recreation Area and Spring Creek Recreation Area. With more than 400 miles of waterways, the Central Region is a haven for canoe enthusiasts, kayakers, and anglers.

The Central Region is also home to the Missouri River which crosses the state in a sweeping southeastward arc. The region is loaded with plenty of great fishing, hunting and recreational opportunities.

There are twenty-two State Park Recreational Areas within the Central Region that offer excellent locations to take advantage of the numerous outdoor activities within the region.

Find out more about the State Parks located in the Central Region.

Eastern Region

The Eastern Region of South Dakota is a water-lover’s delight. Lake Poinsett, Lake Thompson, Oakwood Lakes, and Pickerel Lake State Parks are all found in this region. The cool, clear waters of the glacial lakes are favored by sport fishing species such as walleye, large and smallmouth bass, northern pike, perch, white bass, crappies, and bluegill. The fun continues in the Eastern Region long after the snow starts to fly.Ice fishing, show shoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing are popular activities at many of the area’s state parks.

While in the Eastern Region, visitors are sure to enjoy visiting Fort Sisseton State Park. This former 1860’s frontier outpost has been meticulously restored and features interactive demonstrations as well as ample water recreation opportunities.

Also located in the Eastern Region is the Coteau des Prairies, a plateau formed by glacial movement during the last Ice Age. At more than 2,000 feet above sea level, this 200-mile long and 100-mile wide plateau is home to Newton Hills and Palisades State Park. Prairies, thick oak and cottonwood forests, and unique rock formations are prevalent in this area. Water recreation opportunities in the Eastern Region can be found at Lake Vermillion, and at Platte Creek, Snake Creek, and North Wheeler Recreation Areas.

Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, located in the Eastern Region of the state, is one of South Dakota’s most popular destinations. Swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking can be enjoyed at this completely modernized resort park.

Glacial sculpting, breathtaking geological formations, a rich history, beautiful lakes, and the flowing Missouri River characterize the Eastern Region of South Dakota. With the beautiful scenery, rich history, and bevy of outdoor activities the Eastern Region has become a favorite spot for vacationers.

The Eastern Region is home to over thirty State Parks and recreation areas along with two nature preserves.

Find out more about the State Parks in the Eastern Region.