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Spotlight on:
Chamberlain/Oacoma

Go fishing or watch a lawn mower race in this laid-back community on the Missouri River

This attractive community is located on the welcoming shores of the Missouri River. The city of Chamberlain was named after the railroad director, Selah Chamberlain, who helped develop the region in the 1800s. As they say here, "One day just isn't enough" when visiting the Chamberlain-Oacoma area. This saying could not be truer.

Upon arriving, one of the first things visitors notice is the extraordinarily intricate Chamberlain-Oacoma Bridge, a national historic site that also serves as an icon for the city. While here, you ought to take a leisurely stroll through the educational Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center to enjoy some fascinating displays depicting Native American history. The art, artifacts and educational displays proudly honor the Lakota-Sioux heritage and culture.

This museum offers free admission, and local artists frequently display and sell their work in the Collector's Gallery. Nearby, you can enjoy the views while taking a scenic bike ride from Barger Park to Roam Free Park. Along the way, you'll inevitably encounter the awesome natural beauty, foliage and wildlife of the area. Stop at Al's 5-cent Coffee for an energy boost and delight in a cup of Joe that's worth every penny.

Enjoy a free tour at the South Dakota Hall of Fame, where visitors can become reacquainted with the influential and famous people from the Mount Rushmore State. The Hall of Fame is located right off I-90 and overlooks the gorgeous Missouri River. Honorees include broadcaster Tom Brokaw, USA Today publisher Al Neuharth and Lakota Sioux Indian leader Crazy Horse.

There are five categories of recognition for which people can be nominated and possibly inducted into the Hall of Fame. The one primary stipulation is that the person has to have lived some portion of her or her life in South Dakota. Every year, the South Dakota Hall of Fame hosts an induction ceremony with fifteen individuals who are then inducted into one of the five categories.

The incredible width of the Missouri River allows for excellent fishing, boating and much more. You can also enjoy the refreshing river by wake boarding, water skiing or kayaking. Not surprisingly, the city of Chamberlain is home to River City Racin', a major light hydroplane race that draws throusands of spectators the banks.

In this Western paradise, visitors enjoy lots of outdoor activities, including walleye fishing in the river's Lake Francis Case Reservoir. Other visitors may want to embark on a family camping trip at one of the many campgrounds, complete with close-by hiking, biking and boating access. The essential wide-open spaces of the region also offer excellent pheasant hunting in the fall.

Abundant Recreation Choices
Other forms of entertainment nearby include golfing, bowling, antique shopping downtown and a theater. Bask in the warm summer sun at the American Creek Beach, where you'll also find picnic shelters for fun family gatherings following an enjoyable day at the beach. Shop Main Street to pick up some unique specialty items downtown or check out the archery range, which offers a scenic hike through the hills as you walk its course. Take in an afternoon of bird watching, with over 400 species of birds from bald eagles to loons or robins. The Dude Ranch also offers boating, fishing, camping and swimming with lots of shoreline and non-stop picturesque views to behold.

If staying over in June, check out the Annual Brule County Horse Show. Also intriguing is the Hot Rod Car Show, a 25-year old attraction that features classic cars lined up on Main Street, with the mayor serving as judge. Many enjoy hunting for turkey, pheasants, deer and geese in one of the many nearby open spaces. Or stop off at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, a state-of-the-art rest area and information center for travelers. The Center provides a quick history lesson that follows Lewis and Clark's journey through South Dakota. The highlights at the Center are the 55 foot replica keelboat and trail you can stroll while enjoying the scenic views of Missouri River.

A comical must-see is the Pukwana Mower races held on Saturday. At this event, competitors race around the track riding—you guessed it—lawn mowers. The next day, hop into your vehicle for a spin along the Native American Scenic Byway, where you'll relish the views of rolling, golden-green hills.

You'll also want to stop off occasionally to see memorial markers, sacred sites, and monuments that provide a historical account from the Native American perspective.

Roaming Free
Before the end of the day, you'll want to head for Roam Free Park, where visitors and locals love to sit, relax and revel in the magnificent view of a South Dakota sunset over the serene Missouri River. If you get there early enough, take a hike, bike ride or simply roam along the trails on the bluffs the surrounding landscape.

Some visitors driving through only wish they could stay a little longer. From a 5-cent coffee to jump start your day to fun free attractions, Chamberlain and Oacoma, along with the Missouri River, dish out ample recreational opportunities, unforgettable picturesque beauty and memories that will last a lifetime.

For More Information:
Chamberlain Convention
and Visitors Brueau
605-234-4416
www.chamberlainsd.org

South Dakota Department of Tourism
800-S-DAKOTA
www.travelsd.com

Places to Visit
Oasis Campground
Chamberlain, SD