Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

One Tank Trip for South Dakota Camping

Map of South DakotaOne of the most breathtaking states in North America, South Dakota offers a complimentary blend of outdoor adventure, scenic beauty, and cultural heritage that delights visitors again and again.

Our one tank trip begins in Rapid City, a city whose central location to the Black Hills Mountains makes it a popular vacation and tourist destination. For the outdoors enthusiast, Rapid City offers a long list of activities including, camping, mountain biking, water sports, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and the list just goes on! No visit to this area would be complete without visiting Bear Country, USA. Home to 20 species of North American mammals, including black bear, cougars, elk, and buffalo, every effort has been made to imitate a wild environment for these amazing creatures, who have been captive born and hand raised. Larger species roam freely throughout 250 acres of drive-thru park, and offer visitors a rare glimpse into the behaviors of not just bears, but many other animals as well. The park can be explored on foot, and for your daily dose of cuteness, make sure you pay a visit to the Babyland area inside the park where you will see black bear cubs and wolf pups romping around. Another must see is the Reptile Gardens. Hope you're not squeamish about snakes! There is something for everyone here, and the Reptile Gardens boasts the finest collection of tropical plants and reptiles in the world. In fact, they have more species and subspecies of these venomous reptiles than any other zoo or park anywhere! For those that favor more of the cultural excitement (and less of the slithering kind), head over to the Journey Museum, an incredible place that will take you on a trek through time where you will witness the saga of the Western Frontier, and the upheaval that formed the Black Hills billions of years ago.

Heading out of Rapid City, take I-90 E to our next South Dakota RV camping destination, Wall. One of the most interesting and unique sights in Wall is the Wall Drug store. What began in 1931 as a tiny drug store that drew passing travelers with a “free water” sign, has morphed into a 76,000 square foot slice of Americana, complete with an animated T-Rex, a chance to pan and mine for fossils and gem stones, an art gallery restaurant, and so much more. There is still a pharmacy inside, and it's the only one for 50 miles, and yes, you can still load up on free water and 5-cent coffee, but it's a place you have to experience to appreciate. Oh, and don't forget to get your picture taken in front of the 80 ft. dinosaur before you go. For the history buff, pay a visit to the Wounded Knee Massacre Museum, a wonderful narrative museum that seeks to educate all visitors about the history of the Native American relocation.

Continuing on I-90 E, we come to our last South Dakota RV camping destination, Interior. Perched at the edge of the ruggedly beautiful Badlands National Park, this small town welcomes visitors from the four corners who are looking to experience this striking, moon-like landscape. Covering 244,000 acres, the park is one of the largest protected mixed-grass prairies in the US, and is home to several species of wildlife. The evolutionary stories of several mammals can be found here among the buttes and formations. For more than 11,000 years, Native Americans have used this site as their hunting grounds, and today the area is of great paleontological importance. Visitors are free to roam the park by car, foot, or on horseback, but be prepared, this prairie is very rugged and you'll need a good pair of hiking boots for exploring, and for the inexperienced hiker, it's best to stay close; it's named “The Badlands” for a reason! Don't leave without stopping by the Visitors Center/Museum located at the east entrance of the park; it's a great place to learn about the ever-changing visual wonder that is this fascinating region.

South Dakota has many different sights and experiences to discover. The Wild West is still very much alive in this region, and as you peer out over the vast prairie, you can almost imagine wagon trains, renegade cowboys, and the early tribes of the great Sioux Nation who roamed this land.

Other Area Sponsors in South Dakota:

Chris' Camp
Crooked Creek Resort
KOA-Mount Rushmore
KOA-Rapid City
Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort
South Dakota Dept of Game, Fish & Parks

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Woodall's Recommended South Dakota RV Campgrounds