Home to rolling prairies, the dramatic Black Hills National Forest, and towering granite peaks from which the historical monument of Mt. Rushmore is carved, South Dakota packs a punch when it comes to the great outdoors. National and state parks and recreational areas all over the country have a plethora of campsites that offer all kinds of camping from backcountry and primitive camping to deluxe RV camping with water, electricity, and cable television. Boasting a rich Wild West history that incorporates American Indian culture with off-the-beaten-path treasures to explore, here are some of the best spots in South Dakota to head into the wild. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Angostura State Recreation Area

Angostura State Recreation Area
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Nestled on the eastern side of Angostura Reservoir in Fall River County, Angostura Recreation Area is a water-lover's haven with 36 miles of shoreline lined with beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, breathtaking, scenic views, and an array of water sports and summer fun activities such as camping, hiking and mountain biking. The area has several campgrounds with sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water. There are also rustic log cabins available with heating, air-conditioning, electricity, and a porch. Amenities at Angostura Recreation Area include a marina, a children’s playground, a picnic shelter, and a visitor center.

13157 N Angostura Rd, Hot Springs, SD 57747, Phone: 605-745-6996

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2.Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park
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Badlands National Park is a national park in southwestern South Dakota that is renowned for its dramatic rock formations, towering spires, steep canyons, and sprawling grasslands teeming with bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs. The 242,756-acre park features several attractions, including the Fossil Exhibit Trail, a boardwalk displaying fossils uncovered in the park; the Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240), which winds past numerous scenic lookouts; and interesting hiking trails near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. The park features several campgrounds, including the Cedar Pass Campground, which is located near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and offers 96 level sites with scenic views of the surrounding rock formations; the Sage Creek Campground, which provides first-come, first-served primitive camping sites, pit toilets, potable water and covered picnic tables. Backpackers are allowed to camp anywhere in the park.

25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, SD 57750, Phone: 605-433-5361

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3.Buryanek State Recreation Area

Buryanek State Recreation Area
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The Buryanek Recreation Area is spread along the Missouri River and boasts breathtaking scenic beauty. The area is popular with water-lovers and offers an array of water-based activities such as boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. Famous for an area that the world-renowned Lewis and Clark expedition traveled through, the area has 50 RV and trailer camping sites with electricity and water hook-ups, as well as tent sites with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water. Three cozy overnight cabins have heating, air conditioning, and electricity, as well as an outdoor fire grate and picnic table, and the area has several amenities such as a boat ramp, beach, a fish cleaning station, a dump station, a children’s playground, and a day-use picnic shelter.

27450 Buryanek Rd, Burke, SD 57523, Phone: 605-337-2587

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4.Custer State Park Game Lodge Campground

Custer State Park Game Lodge Campground
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Tucked away in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. South Dakota's most significant and first state park, Custer State Park, encompasses 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain is one of the last remaining wild sanctuaries in the country where buffalo roam freely. Custer State Park Game Lodge Campground has numerous sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water. Enjoy a variety of recreational activities from hiking to hay wagon riding, horseback riding, or mountain biking and soaking up the natural beauty of the area from your camping chair.

13399 US-16A, Custer, SD 57730, Phone: 800-710-2267

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5.Custer State Park Stockade North Campground

Custer State Park Stockade North Campground
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South Dakota's largest and first state park, Custer State Park encompasses 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain is one of the last remaining wild sanctuaries in the country where buffalo roam freely. Named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer, Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve tucked away in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota. Custer State Park Stockade North Campground features 43 sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets, and potable water. Custer State Park is packed with fantastic recreational activities, from hiking to hay wagon riding. Hit one of the many trails on foot, horseback or mountain bike and soak up the natural beauty of the area. Buffalo Jeep Safaris travel through the park in open-air jeeps in search of buffalo, elk, and pronghorns and can be combined with a Chuck Wagon Cookout at the end of the safari.

12655 US-16A, Custer, SD 57730, Phone: 800-710-2267

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6.South Dakota Camping: Echo Valley Park Campground

South Dakota Camping: Echo Valley Park Campground
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Echo Valley Park Campground is within a short drive from Custer City in the Black Hills and offers wilderness camping at its best. The private campground is set on a property that has multiple hiking and mountain biking trails, tranquil ponds and a lake and offers scenic, family-friendly camping with breathtaking views. The campground has shaded tent sites and RV sites with water, electricity, and sewerage hookups, as well as picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms with hot showers, potable water and flushing toilets. Other amenities on the property include overnight cabins with electricity, coin-operated laundry services, and a children’s playground.

12129 Echo Valley Rd, Custer, SD 57730, Phone: 605-673-3368

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7.South Dakota Camping: Iron Creek Horse Camp

South Dakota Camping: Iron Creek Horse Camp
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Iron Creek Horse Camp offers a peaceful setting for camping in Southeastern South Dakota's Black Hills National Forest. Located 13 miles south of Custer, Iron Creek Horse Camp is set along the banks of Iron Creek and makes an ideal base for both hikers and horseback riders to explore the local historical sites and wilderness areas. The campground has nine equestrian sites and corrals for up to three horses and boasts picnic tables, campfire rings with grills, and vault toilets. There is no electricity or potable water at the sites, however, there are water tanks specifically designed for horses. Black Hills National Forest boasts a variety of diverse landscapes ranging from deep blue lakes and tumbling streams to rugged rock formations and rolling grasslands, which are home to a myriad of wildlife. The surrounding area offers a multitude of year-round recreational opportunities such as hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, as well as snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling in the winter.

Custer, SD 57730

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8.Lake Herman State Park

Lake Herman State Park
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Lake Herman State Park is a state park in Lake County that surrounds the 1,350-acre glacial Lake Herman, which is open for year-round recreation, including boating, camping, picnicking, and swimming. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and camping at 72 campsites with electric hook-ups, picnic tables, campfire rings with grills, potable water, and restrooms with showers. There are also two overnight cabins and recreational activities such as disc golf, horseshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The park features rolling prairie grasslands and native oak woodlands, which teem with birds and wildlife and make for excellent bird and wildlife watching.

23409 State Park Dr, Madison, SD 57042, Phone: 605-256-5003

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9.Lake Louise State Recreation Area

Lake Louise State Recreation Area
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Created in 1932 from the damming of the south fork of Wolf Creek, Lake Louise is a 164-acre reservoir with a maximum depth of 25 feet that offers excellent fishing, boating, canoeing, and kayaking. Surrounding the lake is the Lake Louise Recreation Area, which features year-round camping, hiking, mountain biking, wildlife watching, and seasonal hunting for pheasant and duck. Campsites cater for tents, RV and trailers and come with or without electricity and water hook-ups, picnic tables cooking fire grills, and potable water. Rustic overnight cabins have comfortable furnishings, porches, and picnic tables, as well as air-conditioning and heating. Recreational activities in the area include the Pheasant Run Trail, Frisbee golf, horseshoes, and several Indian burial grounds that can be visited.

35250 191 Street, Miller, SD 57362, Phone: 605-853-2533

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10.Lake Poinsett State Recreation Area

Lake Poinsett State Recreation Area
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Lake Poinsett Recreation Area is set along the shores of Lake Poinsett, one of the largest lakes in the state. Named after former U.S. Secretary of War, Joel Poinsett, the lake and surrounding area offer a wide range of recreational activities, including excellent camping opportunities. Two campgrounds in the park at the park provide both electric and non-electric sites, along with comfort stations featuring hot showers, flushing toilets, and potable water. Camping cabins have air-conditioning and heating and are furnished with beds and outdoor fire grates. The Lake Poinsett Visitor Center and Museum offer insight into the history of the area, and recreational activities include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, boating, and canoeing on the lake.

45617 S Poinsett Dr, Arlington, SD 57212, Phone: 605-983-5085

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11.Lake Vermillion State Recreation Area

Lake Vermillion State Recreation Area
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Located 27 miles west of Sioux Falls, Lake Vermillion Recreation Area is famous for its beautifully clear waters and abundant fish. A haven for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, the lake and its surroundings offer a wealth of outdoor recreational activities, ranging from boating, fishing, canoeing, and swimming to hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching. The area has several campgrounds with sites for tents, RV and trailers, and comes with or without electricity and water hook-ups, picnic tables cooking fire grills, potable water, and a dump station. Campground amenities include children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, comfort stations, fish cleaning stations, and swimming beaches. Lake Vermillion Recreation Area is open year-round.

26140 451st Avenue, Canistota, SD 57012, Phone: 605-296-3643

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12.South Dakota Camping: Lewis & Clark Recreation Area

South Dakota Camping: Lewis & Clark Recreation Area
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Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is a popular resort park in southeastern South Dakota near Yankton. Located on the northern shore of the 31,400-acre Lewis and Clark Lake, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area features three separate campgrounds called the Yankton Section, Midway Section, and the Gavins Point Section, all of which are set along the shores of the lake. Facilities in the park include day picnicking, overnight camping, marinas, and boat launching ramps, an archery range, and a disc golf course, and activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and several nature trails. Other activities include archery, basketball, canoeing, kayaking, disc golf, horseshoes, snowshoeing, soccer, and volleyball.

43349 SD-52, Yankton, SD 57078, Phone: 605-668-2985

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13.Mina Lake State Recreation Area

Mina Lake State Recreation Area
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Nestled along the wooded shores of Mina Lake, Mina Lake Recreation Area is a water-lover's paradise with an array of lake-based activities to enjoy from boating and fishing to canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. The park has a spacious campground with sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with or without electricity, water, and sewerage hookups and offering picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water. A three-bedroom lodge with a kitchen and a private deck is available for up to eight guests, and amenities in the Mina Lake Recreation Area include modern comfort stations, a fishing dock, a children’s playground, and a variety of games.

402 Park Ave, Mina, SD 57451, Phone: 605-626-3488

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14.Newton Hills State Park

Newton Hills State Park
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Newton Hills State Park is a 1,063-acre state park in Lincoln County that rests at an elevation of 1,309 feet and is open for year-round outdoor recreation, including boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and camping. Named after 1850 settler William Newton, Newton Hills State Park features spectacular natural landscapes that include dense forests and rolling hills, vast open prairies, and the geological formation of the Coteau des Prairie. Facilities in the park include a campground with tented sites and overnight cabins, boat ramps, fishing docks, horse camps, bicycle rentals, event tent rentals, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and paddleboard rentals. Activities range from boating, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking to hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, cross-country skiing, bird-watching, and cross-country skiing.

28767 482nd Ave, Canton, SD 57013, Phone: 605-987-2263

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15.North Point State Recreation Area

North Point State Recreation Area
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Located on the shores of the Missouri River just above Fort Randall Dam, North Point Recreation Area is a state park and natural sanctuary that is famous for being visited by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804. The beautiful park offers an array of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, camping, boating, canoeing and kayaking, photography, and fishing. Facilities include barbecue grills, a marina with boat ramps, comfort and dump stations, equipment rentals, restrooms with showers and toiletries, and drinking water. North Point Recreation Area has several campgrounds with sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water.

8400 North Point Rd, Edgemere, MD 21219, Phone: 605-487-7272

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16.South Dakota Camping: Oakwood Lakes State Park

South Dakota Camping: Oakwood Lakes State Park
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Oakwood Lakes State Park is a pristine park surrounded by eight connecting glacial lakes northwest of Brookings that provides a wealth of activities throughout the year. Oakwood Lakes State Park has several shaded campgrounds with 136 campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water, and six overnight cabins. The park also offers recreational pursuits such as hiking, mountain biking, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing, as well as fishing, boating, swimming on Johnson Lake, and Lake Tetonkaha. The park also has camping facilities for horseback riders and wranglers and a disc golf course, as well as equipment rentals for canoes, kayaks, fishing, and snowshoeing.

20247 S Oakwood Shoreline Dr, Bruce, SD 57220, Phone: 605-627-5441

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17.South Dakota Camping: Palisades State Park

South Dakota Camping: Palisades State Park
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Palisade State Park is located just outside the small town of Sterling in Utah is features the spectacular Split Rock Creek, which is lined with striking Sioux quartzite formations and shelves, and breathtaking 50-foot cliffs. Estimated to be around 1.2 billion years old, the Sioux quartzite spires attract climbers to the park to test their rappelling and scaling skills on the cliffs and formations, as well as other outdoor enthusiasts who flock to the park to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, non-motorized boating, fishing, and swimming. Palisade State Park has several campgrounds with sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water. Other activities in the park include picnicking, photography, bird-watching, canoeing, and kayaking and snowshoeing in the winter.

2200 E Palisade Rd, Sterling, UT 84665, Phone: 435-835-7275

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18.Rafter J Bar Ranch

Rafter J Bar Ranch
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Nestled in the Black Hills near Hill City, Rafter J Bar Ranch is a 160-acre working ranch that features six camping areas surrounded by vast grassy meadows and shady forests of ponderosa pines. Each campsite offers something different for all needs, including tent and RV pull-through sites with or without hook-ups to cozy log cabins, bathhouses with hot showers and flushing toilets, and remote sites that offers peace and tranquility. Each bathhouse has a laundromat equipped with coin-operated washing machines and dryers, and guest services include satellite television hook-ups, a dump station, a snack bar, and ranch store, complimentary wireless Internet around the camp, and full-time security.

12325 Rafter J-Bar Rd, Hill City, SD 57745, Phone: 605-574-2527

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19.Randall Creek State Recreation Area

Randall Creek State Recreation Area
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Randall Creek Recreation Area is a state recreation area set along the banks of the Missouri River just below the Fort Randall Dam in Gregory County. Spanning 184 acres downstream from the Fort Randall Dam, which was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the mid-1900s, the area is home to a wealth of bird and wildlife, including the majestic bald eagle. The area where the eagles roost is a designated National Natural Landmark, and motorized traffic in the regions with winter bald eagle roosts is prohibited. The lake also attracts an array of waterfowl and other bird species, which make for excellent bird-watching, and other activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and nature walks.

Pickstown, SD 57367, Phone: 605-487-7046

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20.Rocky Point State Recreation Area

Rocky Point State Recreation Area
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Located on the 8,000-acre Belle Fourche Reservoir, Rocky Point Recreation Area offers a wealth of year-round recreational activities both on the lake and in the beautiful surrounding landscapes. Created after the Orman Dam was built for water storage, the Belle Fourche Reservoir is stocked with a variety of fish species and is a popular spot for fishing, leisure boating, and canoeing. Rocky Point Recreation has a campground with sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets and potable water. There are also rustic cabins with heating, air conditioning, and electricity in scenic locations around the park, and land-based activities include hiking the George S. Mickelson Trail, which winds its way through the beautiful Black Hills.

18513 Fishermans Rd, Belle Fourche, SD 57717, Phone: 605-641-0023

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21.Roy Lake State Park

Roy Lake State Park
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Roy Lake State Park in Marshall County is divided into two sections on Roy Lake and offers year-round recreation, including camping, excellent fishing, boating, hiking, and swimming. The park has two campgrounds with electrical and primary sites, modern comfort stations with showers and flush toilets and dump station and is also home to the Roy Lake Resort & Lodge for those wanting additional comfort. Park amenities include lovely beaches with safe swimming, picnic areas, several hiking and mountain biking trails, and playgrounds for children, as well as boat ramps, fishing docks, and fish-cleaning stations.

11547 Northside Dr, Lake City, SD 57247, Phone: 605-448-5701

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22.Sheps Canyon State Recreation Area

Sheps Canyon State Recreation Area
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Nestled along Sheps Canyon Bay in Hot Springs, Sheps Canyon Campground is a large campground at Angostura Recreation Area. The Angostura Recreation Area is a water-lover's haven with 36 miles of shoreline lined with beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, breathtaking, scenic views, and an array of water sports and summer fun activities such as camping, hiking, and mountain biking. Sheps Canyon Campground has sites for tents, vans, trailers, and RVs with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets, and potable water. Amenities at Angostura Recreation Area include a marina, a children’s playground, a picnic shelter and a visitor center.

28150 S Boat Ramp Rd, Hot Springs, SD 57747, Phone: 605-745-6996

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23.Walker's Point State Recreation Area

Walker's Point State Recreation Area
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Tucked along the shore of Lake Madison, Walker's Point Recreation Area is a small park overlooking the 2,800-acre lake that attracts campers, anglers, and boaters. Boasting picturesque views, the campground has sites for tents, and RVs with or without hook-ups, along with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets, and potable water. There are also rustic cabins with heating, air conditioning, and electricity in scenic locations around the park, and amenities include canoe and kayak rentals, fish cleaning stations, a beach with safe swimming, a children’s playground, and a ski beach.

6431 Walkers Point Dr, Wentworth, SD 57075, Phone: 605-256-5003

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24.South Dakota Camping: West Whitlock State Recreation Area

South Dakota Camping: West Whitlock State Recreation Area
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Named after the pioneering family that once owned the land, West Whitlock Recreation Area is a year-round recreational area that offers a wealth of outdoor fun from hiking and horseback riding to fishing and swimming. Once a popular stopover site for the Arikara and Mandan people, today, the area draws campers, anglers, and hikers who come to enjoy the spectacular natural surroundings and stock up on fish. The West Whitlock Recreation Area has a campground with sites for tents, and RVs with or without hook-ups, along with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers, and flushing toilets and potable water. There are also rustic camping cabins with heating, air conditioning, and electricity in scenic locations around the park and amenities such as modern comfort stations, a boat ramp, a fish cleaning station, a ski beach, picnic shelters, and a playground.

16157 W Whitlock Rd # A, Gettysburg, SD 57442, Phone: 605-765-9410

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25.Wrinkled Rock Climbers Trailhead

Wrinkled Rock Climbers Trailhead
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The Wrinkled Rock Climbers trailhead allows climbers to wind their way up Mount Rushmore and offers primitive camping sites and vault toilets. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a famous site that is centered around the world-renowned sculpture of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone. Carved by Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln and completed in 1941, the 60-foot-high granite sculpture represents birth, the growth, the development, and the preservation of the United States. The 1,278.45-acre park features a museum with interactive exhibits telling the story of the sculpture and attracts more than two million visitors annually. 16157 W Whitlock Rd # A, Gettysburg, SD 57442, Phone: 605-765-9410

2000 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505, Phone: 575-421-0128

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25 Best South Dakota Camping Spots



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