10 Under-Appreciated State Parks In South Dakota You’re Sure To Love

There’s so much to see and do in South Dakota that it can be easy to overlook some of our lesser-known hidden gems. Take a look at these ten amazing under-appreciated state parks and you’ll find fewer crowds and just might decide that these are your new favorite spots!

Which of these state parks have you visited? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments! Looking for more great state parks in South Dakota to visit? Take a look at these 7 South Dakota state parks that will knock your socks off!

Address: Newton Hills State Park, 28767 482nd Ave, Canton, SD 57013, USA
Address: 20250 SD-79, Sturgis, SD 57785, USA
Address: Good Earth State Park Visitor Center, 26924 480th Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57108, USA
Address: Hartford Beach State Park, 13672 Hartford Beach Rd, Corona, SD 57227, USA
Address: Sica Hollow State Park, 44950 Park Road, Sisseton, SD 57260, USA
Address: 23409 State Park Dr, Madison, SD 57042, USA
Address: Adams Homestead and State Nature Preserve, 272 Westshore Dr, North Sioux City, SD 57049, USA
Address: 35250 191st St, Miller, SD 57362, USA
Address: Spirit Mound State Historic Prairie, 31148 SD-19, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA
Address: Oakwood Lakes State Park, 20247 S Oakwood Shoreline Dr, Bruce, SD 57220, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

State Parks to Visit in South Dakota

February 16, 2022

What are some of the best state parks in South Dakota?  

South Dakota is home to an impressive 63 state parks, each of which is lovely and well worth a visit on its own. Our sibling state of North Dakota is home to just 13 state parks, so we feel pretty special down here in our little corner. Some of our picks for the best state parks in all of South Dakota include the incredibly popular Custer State Park, which is the largest, oldest park in the whole state. It attracts more visitors every year than most parks in this region, with an impressive 1.9 million people coming through annually. Palisades State Park is a good one if you’re a fan of intriguing geography; marvel at the 50-foot-tall quartzite spires jutting up from the earth surrounding a crystal-clear creek you’ll want to dip your toes into. Lake Herman State Park is smack-dab in the middle of Lake Herman, which is a beautiful, natural glacial lake that dates back tens of thousands of years. Finally, we love Hartford Beach State Park, because lake beaches need love too! Need a little more inspiration? These seven state parks in South Dakota will blow you away. 

What are the most popular hiking trails in South Dakota?  

With lots of land to roam around and explore comes lots of hiking trails; South Dakota is no exception. There are more than 300 trails to choose from, each of which comes with its own pros, cons, challenges, and sights to see. Perhaps our favorite is the Notch Trail, at Badlands National Park. It’s a 1.5-mile hike featuring mind-blowing canyon views and is rated as moderate in difficulty. Then, there’s Black Elk Peak Loop, a 7.1-mile moderately challenging trail within Custer State Park that takes you up to the highest point in the entire state for some truly spellbinding views of the Black Hills. Another can’t-miss hiking trail in South Dakota is the amazing Cathedral Spires Trail, whose geology will blow you away. It’s a 1.6-mile trek through some absolutely unreal landscapes. Finally, take the Door Trail at Badlands National Park if you’re looking for an easy hike under one mile in length that still features awesome badlands views.  

Address: Newton Hills State Park, 28767 482nd Ave, Canton, SD 57013, USA
Address: 20250 SD-79, Sturgis, SD 57785, USA
Address: Good Earth State Park Visitor Center, 26924 480th Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57108, USA
Address: Hartford Beach State Park, 13672 Hartford Beach Rd, Corona, SD 57227, USA
Address: Sica Hollow State Park, 44950 Park Road, Sisseton, SD 57260, USA
Address: 23409 State Park Dr, Madison, SD 57042, USA
Address: Adams Homestead and State Nature Preserve, 272 Westshore Dr, North Sioux City, SD 57049, USA
Address: 35250 191st St, Miller, SD 57362, USA
Address: Spirit Mound State Historic Prairie, 31148 SD-19, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA
Address: Oakwood Lakes State Park, 20247 S Oakwood Shoreline Dr, Bruce, SD 57220, USA