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best camping spot

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Gardiner, Montana...
posts: 8
best camping spot

We will be spending a week in the middle of June near the Badlands and Mt Rushmore. We want to camp in our RV and stay at one centrally located place for the week (maybe move once). We prefer forest service campgrounds over RV parks or KOA's. Any suggestions on the best place to camp?

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,352
reviews: 35
1. Re: best camping spot

Welcome Deborah!

I will start by saying I am not a camper, so I have no direct experience. However, based on your description of yourselves and the opinions of others on this site, I think Custer State Park would be a good match for you. Here's a link to camping the the park:

…sd.gov/state-parks/…

You could maybe choose campground closer to the Badlands for a night or 2 and then move to Custer SP. This way, you could stay closer to the Badlands for a night and catch a sunrise/sunset.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to order the travel planner at travelsd.com.

Please let us know if you have additonal questions.

Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 2,073
reviews: 128
2. Re: best camping spot

Yes, it sounds like what you're looking for is a state park campground. Slrtravelplanner's suggestion of Custer would be a good spot for you. Custer has several campgrounds. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but be warned that only a month away from your travel dates, you may be out of luck for Custer, especially with an RV (tent campers might still find something). Custer is the camping "mecca" of the state park system. From my understanding, the Center Lake Campground in Custer does not take reservations, so that's a possibility if you want to risk it. Should you intend to stay at any other state parks, in or out of the Black Hills on your way going or coming, be warned that weekend spots might also be booked at this point. You should be OK outside the Hills during the middle of the week. What I'm trying to say is, I would get on those reservations as soon as you finish reading this. Go to www.campsd.com to check availability and make reservations. Good luck!

Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 2,073
reviews: 128
3. Re: best camping spot

I wanted to add, if you do not want to do a commercial campground, another place where you might have a shot at getting in is Angostura Recreation Area. It's on a large reservoir, is not centrally located and won't be as scenic as Custer.

Edited: 10:25 pm, May 17, 2013
Stillwater...
posts: 632
reviews: 8
4. Re: best camping spot

We have camped in the Black Hills a lot, and also share with you the preference for Forest Service campgrounds. How big is your RV? Is it a motorhome, or a travel trailer? (Sorry, too many people use the term for both).

Custer State Park is not high on our list as you do have to pay a state park fee, and it gets very crowded there. However, if you need electric, they may be your best choice, as the FS sites do not offer it. But as stated above, Custers' sites may already be booked. (They allow reservations 1 year in advance!)

…sd.gov/state-parks/…

Our favorite cg is quite remote, (Castle Peak), small, only 9 sites, but on a nice stream. One of our other top 10, that is more centrally located is Bismarck Lake, which is technically in Custer State Park, but is an FS CG.

Pactola is a great cg in the fall, but we find it too busy in the summer, you may find it enjoyable. It is centrally located, for day trips to MT. Rushmore and to Spearfish.

As usual, some of these sites are reservable and some are not. Here is a link to the Black Hills National Forest, camping page.

…usda.gov/activity/…

Gardiner, Montana...
posts: 8
5. Re: best camping spot

We have a travel trailer - 27ft. I will look at your suggestions. Have you been to Horsethief Lake Campground by Mt Rushmore?

Stillwater...
posts: 632
reviews: 8
6. Re: best camping spot

We have never camped there, it is a beautiful CG, but is very heavily used. Being that close to Mt. Rushmore, has it's advantages and disadvantages. To us, the travel times around the area are not that great, so staying further out has worked for us. But if you want to be at Rushmore for sunrise/set, and the lighting ceremonies, it is a great location for a couple of nights.

Here is a link I'd just included on another post about travel times in the Black Hills;

travelsd.com/Travel-Professionals/…bhm

A 27 ft, tt is probably too big to tow into Castle Peak.

If you are looking at going to Devils Tower, either on your way to the Black Hills, or on your way home there are 2 FS CG's near there. Reuter is very close to I-90. Years ago we stayed at Bearlodge cg, it was very nice, remote, quiet, but now looks like they lost a lot of trees.(Beetles/fire?)

7. Re: best camping spot

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