The Best Custer State Park Camping

The Best Custer State Park Camping

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When you hear South Dakota, not many people associate it with the jaw-dropping nature. However, South Dakota is full of stunning views, peak and rolling plains.

Custer State Park is one of the natural wonders tucked away in South Dakota. Encompassing 71,000 acres in the Black Hills, Custer State Park is home to thick vegetation and abundance of wildlife where people are able to camp, hike, bike, swim, relax by the lake or go fishing.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll love exploring Custer State Park.

Camping in Stockade Lake

Where can I camp in Stockade Lake?

Custer Mountain Campground & Cabins

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Custer Mountain Campground & Cabins

Black Hills, South Dakota
South Dakota Black Hills by Jerry and Pat Donaho is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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If you’re looking for convenience, this is a great campsite as it’s located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, 1.5 miles east of Custer City and 2 miles west of Custer State Park. Thus, you’re placed perfectly in between both city and nature, giving you plenty of options to do throughout your stay.

Though it’s close to the city, you’re kept in the tranquil and peaceful forest of Custer State Park. The campground is located on 50+ acres of Ponderosa pine forest and meadows which are nestled in the mountains.

The campground has sites for both tents and RVs. In addition, they also offer fully equipped cabins as well. The RV sites come with full hook-ups with plenty of shade provided by Ponderosa pine. The tent sites range from primitive and remote sites to fully equipped sites close by laundry facilities, restrooms and showers.

Though, in general, the sites are simple, they do offer campers free wifi regardless if you’re in an RV or tent site. In addition, the area is surrounded by wonderful attractions such as Custer State Park, Bear Country, Evans Plunge, Mammoth Site and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Visit Custer Mountain Campground & Cabins

Custer KOA

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Custer KOA

Custer State Park, South Dakota
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If you’re looking for amazing views, this is another campsite in the Lake Stockade area you need to consider. Custer/Mt. Rushmore KOA is in a central location for those looking to explore nature but also witness some of the historical areas.

The campground is in the centre of five major attractions: Mount Rushmore National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, and Custer State Park which are all 6 to 22 miles away from the campground.

The campground is designed for either tents and RVs. The tent sites can have 20-amp electric/water if desired, however, primitive sites are also offered.

The tent sites are located either on open and grassy plains or shaded. RV sites are equipped with full hookups and wifi. The entire campground is equipped with restrooms, showers, swimming pool, snack bar and a dog park.

Thus, it’s ideal if you have children or large groups as there’s something for everyone. In addition, the city of Custer has a variety of restaurants and entertainment throughout the summer evenings.

Visit Custer KOA

Custer’s Gulch RV Park and Campground

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Custer’s Gulch RV Park and Campground

View from Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota
Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota by Sharon Mollerus is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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The Custer’s Gulch RV Park and Campground are in the middle of the wilderness where you’ll frequently see elk and deer leisurely roaming the campground. The area is historical as General Custer also camped in the very same area during his expeditions to the Black Hills.

The Custer’s Gulch is one of the newest RV parks in the Black Hills with over 60 spacious campsites which are mostly adjacent to National Forest with pine and aspen trees. It’s located at the west entrance to Custer State Park and is less than 3 miles to Custer City allowing you easy access to grocery stores and entertainment.

The campground offers a full site of amenities such as hot showers, laundry, full hookups, restrooms and wifi. In addition, they also have a variety of activities for both adults and children to use such as volleyball, horseshoes, clubhouse, and UTV rentals.

You’re close to Custer State Park, thus, if you want to spend days exploring the wilderness, you have full access. Other attractions around the campground incluse Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, Sturgis, Wind Cave National Park and Mammoth Site. The campground is located perfectly if you want to fully explore the area.

Visit Custer’s Gulch RV Park and Campground

What’s there to do in Stockade Lake ?

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Stockade Lake

Stockade Lake
Stockade Lake by iuk is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Stockade Lake is the largest of Custer State Park’s five lakes and is full of campgrounds and amenities for outdoor enthusiasts. From those with RVs or tent camping, there’s a spot here for everyone. In addition, it’s the only lake in Custer State Park which allows boats.

In addition, the lake is great for swimming hiking and fishing. The lake also sits near historical points-of-interests for campers such as Gordon Stockade and the site of the first gold discovery in the Black Hills.

Camping in West Custer

Where can I camp in West Custer?

Beaver Lake Campground

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Beaver Lake Campground

Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota
Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota by Sharon Mollerus is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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The Beaver Lake Campground is a family-friendly campground which is well-designed for all campers whether you’re tenting, RVing or staying in one of their cabins.

The grounds are levelled, shaded and spacious, suiting any type RV. The tent sites are all equipped with picnic tables, fire rings and rain shelters, however, most of the tent sites are well shaded.

The RV sites are fully equipped with hookups and also come with picnic tables and fire rings as well.

There’s also a variety of activities to do on the campground such as a volleyball court, tetherball, a horseshoe pit and lawn games. A playground is also on the grounds, so children have a range of activities to engage in.

Bicycles and ATVs are allowed on the premises as well, so, you’ll be able to bring your own outdoor equipment and explore the surrounding nature.

In addition, if you’re travelling with your pet, you’ll be able to take your dog to several animal designated areas. However, due to the amount of wildlife on the grounds, such as rabbits, they ask that your dogs remained leashed at all times.

As this campground is located perfectly for exploring nature, it’s a great option for wildlife enthusiasts.

Visit Beaver Lake Campground

Big Pine Campground

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Big Pine Campground

Bison around Custer State Park
Custer State Park by Jason Swadley is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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If you’re looking for seclusion from people and the busy city life and want a camping trip that’ll bring you relaxation, then this is a great option.

Nestled under whispering pines, is the Big Pine Campground. It’s a wooded campground, with a great balance of shade and sun, allowing you to enjoy both elements of nature. Both accepting tents and RVs, this campground ensures that both accommodations are well supported.

Tent sites are primitive, however, on the grounds, there’s bathhouses with hot showers, laundry services, and restrooms. For RVs, they’re equipped with full hookups and a dump station as well.

Though the campground is well secluded from busy traffic, there are tons of activities offers on the grounds. For children, there’s a playground, game room with video games, free wifi, horseshoes and volleyball.

However, there are also many activities off the ground to enjoy as well such as the numerous hiking and biking trails offered through Custer State Park.

In addition, you’re situated closely to Wild Life Loop Road, Needles Highway, Bear Country USA, Mount Rushmore and the Custer County 1881 Courthouse Museum.

A great option if you’re camping with family or as a couple who’s looking to explore the trails in the Custer area.

Visit Big Pine Campground

Broken Arrow Campground

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Broken Arrow Campground

High Granite Needles Seen from Needles Highway
Needles, Mood Lighting (2) by Jarl Anderson is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This campground is ideal if you’re looking to explore the area by horseback as the Broken Arrow Campground also offers equestrian services. There are a variety of horse trails for you to explore as the campground allows you to also house your horse in their barn.

The campground offers tent pitches, RV, and motorhomes, they also offer bunkhouses and cabins as well. The tent sites are primitive and offer no water, electrical or sewer.

They do feature all sites shaded by pine trees and equipped with a public bathhouse nearby for all campers. The tent sites come with picnic tables and a fire ring as well.

The RV sites come with full hookups, picnic table, dumping station and drinkable water, so you’ll be fully prepared.

On the general campground, there’s free wifi access, a playground for children, stall rentals for up to 100 horses, laundry facilities and an outdoor group pavilion.

It’s well supplied and in a great location as you’re only four miles away from the Custer State Park and five miles away from Custer City. So, you’re close enough to everything, however, still fully immersed in nature so that you have a relaxing experience.

Visit Broken Arrow Campground

What is there to do in West Custer?

The Best Custer State Park Camping - West Custer

West Custer
IMG_4971 by kegger is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Just like the surrounding areas, the general area of Custer offer many of the same attractions. The city of Custer is close by, allowing you to witness and experience American history while you’re also situated in the middle of many natural attractions such as Custer State Park, Jewel Cave, Wind Cave National Park and Mount Rushmore.

These areas are filled with a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, bike and horseback riding. Whether you’re an adult, elderly or a child, there’s something for everyone.

Custer City

Where can I camp in Custer City?

Custer Crazy Horse Campground

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Custer Crazy Horse Campground

Driving in Custer State Park
Road in Custer State Park, South Dakota by Road Travel America is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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If you’re looking to be situated nearby Custer City then the Custer Crazy Horse Campground is a good option as it’s located one mile north of Custer City. It is family owned and operated and is both family and pet friendly. It’s also open all year round! The campground prices are consistent throughout the year, regardless of season or events.

The campground is situated in beautiful South Dakota wilderness and offers campers a variety of experiences whether they choose to camp in tents, RVs, one of the 25 sleeper cabins or the deck house.

Each campsite is supplied with a fire pit and picnic table whereas 49 RV sites offer full hookups and 27 sites are equipped with water hookups.

Most tent sites have electricity at each site and water nearby and are shaded with lush trees and are situated nearby the amenities on site.

Since it’s close to the city, you have the ability to check out some historical sites nearby while also being close enough to natural gems such as Custer State Park, Mammoth Site, Bear Country USA, Reptile Gardens and Cave of the Winds. It’s a great campground if you’re looking for a relaxing and peaceful experience.

The campground also offers a small convenience/souvenir store with a pool table, a playground and a heated swimming pool open from June through to September. There are also two clean restroom facilities, a coin-operated laundry facility and a public dump station.

Visit Custer Crazy Horse Campground


Fort Welikit Family Campground

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Fort Welikit Family Campground

Custer State Park in Fall
flickr-45 by Chris Heald is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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The Fort Welikit Campground is great for families and it’s fully equipped with everything you need and in a great location. The campground itself is very interesting as it’s situated under 100 tall, cool pine trees, creating a warm and natural atmosphere.

The campsites range from tent sites and RV sites, however, offer a couple different options for those that prefer full service to rustic service. In addition, you can choose whether you’d like your site private, family-friendly or for groups, thus, everyone has their preferences tailored to their needs.

The campground is a family-friendly site which means they have amenities for children as well. There’s a spacious play area with a playground, a pavilion if campers wish to celebrate any special events and many wild animals which roam the grounds freely to watch.

If you have a dog, there is also a dog park in the campgrounds where your pooch can stretch their limbs and have a fun in the sun.

The campground is fully equipped with laundry facilities, bath houses, full hookups, and an RV dump station.

Around the campground, you have a full list of attractions to explore such as Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Jewel Cave and as well as Custer City.

Visit Fort Welikit Family Campground


French Creek RV Park and Campground

The Best Custer State Park Camping - French Creek RV Park and Campground

Quiet Moment in Custer State Park
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Well, you couldn’t get a better location to Custer City even if you tried – it’s literally right across the street. They’re surrounded by two city parks as well as the well-known French Creek, hence their name.

If you’re into hiking, you’ll be happy to know that the Mickelson trail passes in front of the campground, allowing you the option to either hike or bike the entire trail.

The campground itself is luscious and well shaded with local wildlife spotted throughout the day, roaming the campground.

The campground is very community oriented and loves to host spontaneous BBQs on their patio which is always a nice experience. They’re open year round, thus, you’ll be able to enjoy what the campground has to offer any time of the year.

The tent sites are grassy, shaded sites along the French Creek and come supplied with free firewood and showers. The RV sites are supplied with full hookups and picnic tables.

A couple nice features of the campground are that they offer free wifi and are completely animal-friendly as long as they’re leashed.

Though you’re a stone’s throw away from the city, you’re also close to all the natural attractions including Custer State Park.

Visit French Creek RV Park and Campground


What is there to do in Custer City?

The Best Custer State Park Camping - Custer City

Custer City
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Custer City is very historical and considered one of the oldest towns established by European Americans in the Black Hills of South Dakota. What makes this area historical is that gold was first founded here in the 1800s on an expedition led by Colonel George Armstrong Custer who started the Gold Rush.

The city itself is small and quaint, however, is filled with history, so if you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy it. Plus, it’s located in Black Hills, thus, you’re also surrounded by wonderful natural attractions such as Custer State Park if you’re into hiking, biking, swimming, camping or fishing.


I can’t wait to go back to Custer State Park! If you are taking your pets with you, you might find my guide to the best pup tents helpful!

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