Things to do while visiting South Dakota state parks

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– The outdoors are a big part of what makes South Dakota a great state to explore.

South Dakota state parks and recreation areas offer more opportunities than just camping. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities ranging from hunting to geocaching and everything in between.

The South Dakota State Park System includes 13 state parks, 43 recreation areas, five nature areas, one historic prairie, 69 lakeside use areas and 10 marinas/resorts, according to the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks website. There’s also the 114-mile Mickelson Trail, the snowmobile trails program and 240 public water access sites, which provide fishing opportunities.

Cold weather activities

Cross-country skiing:

There are multiple state parks that offer cross-country ski trails during the winter months, allowing visitors to wander off the beaten track and discover the beauty of a South Dakota winter.

Cross-country ski trails are available at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Custer State Park, Farm Island Recreation Area, George S. Mickelson Trail, LaFramboise Island Nature Area, Lake Herman State Park, Newton Hills State Park, Oakewood Lakes State Park, Pelican Lake Recreation Area and Union Grove State Park.

Snowmobiling:

Across South Dakota, there are over 1,500 miles of snowmobile trails. SD Game, Fish & Parks has an interactive snowmobile map that includes trail information, current trail conditions and live camera feeds.

Snowshoeing:

South Dakota State Parks offer free snowshoe check out for a day or a weekend so visitors can boost their winter workout and build up endurance throughout the winter.

State parks that offer snowshoeing include Big Sioux Recreation Area, Custer State Park, Farm Island Recreation Area, Fort Sisseton Historic State Park, George S. Mickelson Trail, Good Earth State Park, Hartford Beach State Park, LaFramboise Island Nature Area, Lake Herman State Park, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, Mina Lake Recreation Area, Newton Hills State Park, Oakwood Lakes State Park, Palisades State Park, Pelican Lake Recreation Area, Richmond Lake Recreation Area, Spearfish Canyon Nature Area and West Whitlock Recreation Area.

Warmer weather activities:

ATVs & off-highway vehicles:

Two recreation areas offer areas for ATV’s or off-highway vehicles (OHV), Oahe Downstream and Revheim Bay. When in the OHV areas, vehicles are not required to be licensed or have park entrance licenses.

Archery and Shooting Ranges:

Several parks throughout South Dakota offer opportunities for archers to practice, from endurance-testing archery trails to traditional ranges of several targets.

State parks with archery and shooting ranges include Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Big Sioux Recreation Area, Farm Island Recreation Area, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, North Point Recreation Area, Oahe Downstream Recreation Area, Pelican Lake Recreation Area, Revheim Bay Recreation Area, Rocky Point Recreation Area and Shadehill Recreation Area.

Biking:

Biking is a great way to get outside and explore. Some state parks offer bike rentals: Farm Island, Lake Vermillion, George S. Michelson Trail and Newton Hills.

State parks that have biking areas include Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Big Sioux Recreation Area, Chief White Crane Recreation Area, Cow Creek Recreation Area, Custer State Park, Farm Island Recreation Area, George S. Mickelson Trail, Indian Creek Recreation Area, LaFramboise Island Nature Area, Lake Thompson Recreation Area, Lake Vermillion Recreation Area, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, Newton Hills State Park, North Point Recreation Area, Oahe Downstream Recreation Area, Oakwood Lakes State Park, Pease Creek Recreation Area, Pelican Lake Recreation Area, Revheim Bay Recreation Area, Richmond Lake Recreation Area, Snake Creek Recreation Area, Spring Creek Recreation Area and Springfield Recreation Area.

Birdwatching:

South Dakota offers a wide variety of habitats and provides plenty of opportunities for birdwatching throughout the state parks. South Dakota offers many birding trails throughout the state parks, recreation areas, GPA’s and more. You can find maps for bird watching on the Game, Fish & Parks website.

Boating:

South Dakota has acres of lakes and miles for rivers, which are great for boating, waterskiing or tubing. Game, Fish & Parks offers more information on where access the fishing and boating sites.

Canoeing and Kayaking

The rivers and lakes throughout the state provide plenty of opportunities to canoe and kayak. There is a newly developed Jay Heath Canoe and Kayak Trail to navigate water trails along the Big Sioux River.

The Game, Fish & Parks offers more information on canoe and kayaking in South Dakota.

Disc Golf

Disc golf is a growing sport, and South Dakota has 12 state parks that offer disc golf courses and discs available for check-out. Through the Game, Fish & Parks partnership with Kids in Parks TRACK Trails program, kids can earn prizes when they play disc golf in the state parks.

State parks that offer disc golf courses include are Angostura Recreation Area, Big Sioux Recreation Area, Hartford Beach State Park, Lake Herman State Park, Lake Louise Recreation Area, Lake Poinsett Recreation Area, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, Oahe Downstream Recreation Area, Oakwood Lakes State Park, Pierson Ranch Recreation Area, Randall Creek Recreation Area, Richmond Lake Recreation Area and Roy Lake State Park.

Fishing

Fishing a year-round activity throughout the state. Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the country. Game, Fish & Parks provides information on purchasing fishing license, fishing areas and more.

Geocaching

Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt, which is a great way to explore state parks. The geocachers hide and seek “treasures,” which are in waterproof containers that typically include a pencil, small notebook to serve as a logbook for finders and several small trinkets.

To begin your geocaching adventure, explorers need to enter the coordinates that can be found on the Game, Fish & Parks website.

Hiking

Whether it is sunny or snowy, hiking is a great way to not only exercise, but get outside and experience all the beauty the state has to offer. Here is a list of all the state parks that offer hiking areas.

Horseback Riding

There are 13 horse trails in South Dakota’s state parks. There are also horse campsites that offer horseback riders a place to bed down their horses after a day of riding.

State parks that offer horseback riding include Bear Butte State Park, Custer State Park, George S. Mickelson Trail, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, Newton Hills State Park, Pease Creek Recreation Area, Pelican Lake Recreation Area, Richmond Lake Recreation Area, Shadehill Recreation Area, Sheps Canyon Recreation Area, Sica Hollow State Park and Union Grove State Park.

Hunting

Renowned world-wide for its pheasant hunting, South Dakota provides the perfect hunting destination.

Game, Fish & Parks provides more information on purchasing hunting licenses and the hunting areas within the state.

Stargazing

Over 80% of people can’t see the stars where they live. However, South Dakota provides plenty of opportunities to experience the beauty of the stars in the night sky.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Continuing The Conversation
See Full Weather Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss!

More Don't Miss