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Reservations???

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minneapolis
posts: 23
reviews: 3
Reservations???

We're taking the week of 4th of July to hike. Starting in South Dakota Badlands then headed towards the North Dakota Badlands. Everyone keeps saying how gorgeous Custer State Park is so we'd probably like to stay there in between. We'd be there probably Tues-Wed July 2-3. The park looks HUGE with many, many campgrounds but do you guys think I need to make reservations because of the holiday? Also then we'd be headed to N. Dakota Badlands on the 4th, 5th, leaving to come back home (Minneapolis) on Saturday the 6th. If we stay IN the park there are no reservations (but no showers :) but if we decided to try and stay in Medora (for amenities) should I make reservations? I've heard the Blue Bell and French Creek campgrounds in Custer are beautiful so that's my goal there - any advice appreciated!

9 replies to this topic
Iowa
posts: 1,258
reviews: 277
1. Re: Reservations???

I would definitely make reservations for camping in Custer State Park during that week. We stayed in Blue Bell campground the second week in June, and it was quite full then.

Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 1,312
reviews: 119
2. Re: Reservations???

Fourth of July is a hugely popular time to camp in South Dakota. State park campgrounds, which are more budget-friendly than commercial campgrounds, fill to capacity all over the state. You might even have trouble finding something at this point, so book immediately. If you do find the state park campgrounds are booked, commercial campgrounds tend to fill more slowly. Go to www.campsd.com to check availability for the state parks and to make reservations. I will also give you a heads-up that the state parks often require a minimum three night stay over Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Since the Fourth of July is in the middle of the week this year, they may have different requirements, or none at all.

Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 1,312
reviews: 119
3. Re: Reservations???

Just for kicks, I checked Blue Bell in Custer State Park for campsite availability from July 2-4 and they are full for the dates you mentioned. Try the others and then start looking into commercial campgrounds. I camp a lot, but haven't camped specifically in the Black Hills. There are others on this forum who can recommend some good commercial campgrounds.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,016
reviews: 35
4. Re: Reservations???

Holidays are peak travel times, and the Black Hills is no exception, as 3174 has told you. I"m glad she checked availability for you, as I, too, had a feeling it would be a tough task to get a spot during that time.

I am not a camper, but many on our forum like Rafter J in Hill City. I have also seen positive comments about Palmer Gulch between Hill City and Keystone. Whatever you decide, I'd book very soon.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 14,428
reviews: 233
5. Re: Reservations???

I agree to make reservations. Many people travel to the west to national and state parks around the 4th of July.

minneapolis
posts: 23
reviews: 3
6. Re: Reservations???

Thanks everyone! Shoot about BlueBell - that looked the nicest to me, along the creek...I'll check the Sylvan Lake and such too. Teddy Roosevelt State Park does NOT take reservations so I think we'd be ok getting there early on the 4th and finding a shower in Medora but I'll call the Buffalo Gap Campground to see also. We've never had a problem in South Dakota Badlands even on July 4th because it seems like everybody RV's and we tent - but living in Minnesota where you can only count on nice weather really in July and August I totally understand being booked already. Custer SP looks HUGE and pretty spectacular and we're looking forward to it. Thanks again!

Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 1,312
reviews: 119
7. Re: Reservations???

OK, I just reread your initial post and I didn't see a mention of tent camping so I assumed you were in a trailer or RV. Sorry to have made that assumption. Definitely go back and check Blue Bell. I only checked availability for RV sites with electricity. I know that tent sites do not fill up as fast, so you still may have a shot.

Edited to add: Blue Bell does currently have tent sites open with no electricity for July 2-4.

Edited: 2:30 pm, April 16, 2013
minneapolis
posts: 23
reviews: 3
8. Re: Reservations???

Thank You! Awesome!

Custer, South...
posts: 58
9. Re: Reservations???

Howdy, Lots of great hiking in the Custer area including the Harney Peak trail to the highest point between the Austrian Alps and the Colorado Rockies. And don't forget the Mickelson Trail, a rails to trails through the Black Hills for hiking and bicycles. It was rated as 7th in World's Top 10 Bike Trails in an article Feb. 2, 2013. The State Park campgrounds are usually full all summer but they keep Center Lake for same day reservation and it's a good campground. Call the state park campgrounds at 1-800-710-2267 for details. Except for undeveloped federal forest campgrounds, most others will have full bath houses. Check www.custersd.com for other campground offerings. Let us know if we can help. Come and enjoy.

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