Custer State Park is one of America’s most exciting state parks for seeing lots of wildlife and picturesque landscape scenery. Travelers seeking a fun outdoor adventure will have the best experience while RV camping near Custer State Park. Rent an RV
to explore the vast outdoors - see just what kind of wildlife you might encounter amongst other exciting things to do in Custer State Park.
Custer State Park is a destination for everyone. And since it’s open all year round, it’s always ready to welcome new RVers to one of the nearby Custer State Park RV sites
Ready for an adventure in Custer State Park? Check out our ultimate guide to RV camping in Custer State Park before you hit the road!
Custer State Park Facts
Home to verdant rolling plains and crystal clear mountain waters, there’s more to know about Custer State Park than meets the eye! Check out these Custer State Park facts to learn about the park before your visit.
- Custer State Park was founded in 1912 in South Dakota’s Black Hills region as the state’s first state park.
- The state park covers over 71,000 acres, making it the largest wildlife reserve in South Dakota. It’s one of the top places to see wildlife year-round, including buffalo, pronghorns, and eagles.
- Visitors can enjoy outdoor recreation and sightseeing in the park’s diverse landscape. It has several miles of hiking trails, boating and swimming in the lakes, and scenic drives.
Best Custer State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
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Custer State Park RV camping is one of the best ways to experience its beautiful scenery. While visiting, check out one of the nearby campgrounds
to enjoy the outdoors with scenic views, leisure activities, and modern camping.
Bluebell Campground is one of the largest Custer State Park RV campgrounds. It has 30 sites open seasonally from May to mid-October.
The campsite is located approximately a dozen miles away from Custer State Park – less than a half-hour drive from the camping grounds. It’s situated in a pine forest to provide lots of tree shade.
Each of the sites includes electricity hookups with multiple amp voltage available. The staffed campgrounds have facilities such as a bathroom, showers, and picnic tables. There is also an onsite restaurant and a stable with horses for horseback riding and hayrides.
More information: Bluebell Campground
Center Lake Campground
Center Lake Campground is situated alongside Center Lake, located less than 10-miles north of Custer State Park. The campground has 71 sites available for same-day reservations that offer a close, budget-friendly stay near the park.
Visit Center Lake Campground between May and the end of September to enjoy the shaded RV campsites. Although none of the sites have electricity hookups, the campground has a few visitor facilities, including a shower and toilets.
It’s a great campground option for enjoying boating on the lake. Boat rentals are available, and visitors can enjoy several other activities, including swimming and fishing.
More information: Center Lake Campground
Legion Lake Campground
Legion Lake Campground is one of the earliest established campgrounds near Custer State Park. It features updated amenities and facilities to make it an excellent option for staying near the park.
Located less than 15-minutes away from Custer State Park, Legion Lake Campground is a staffed campground with 26 RV sites suitable for large RVs. Some of the sites include electric hookups, and all visitors have access to the toilet and shower facilities.
Legion Lake Campground is open annually from May to mid-October. It’s adjacent to Legion Lake, which is open to the public for boating, swimming, or hiking around it on the Centennial Trail. Boat rentals are available at the campgrounds.
More information: Legion Lake Campground
Stockade South Campground
Stockade Lake is located just east of Custer State Park, which has two campgrounds surrounding it. Stockade South Campground is the smaller of the two sites but a favorite for visitors or the state park.
Stockade South Campground is open between mid-May to early October providing modern RV camping for mid-sized rigs. It has a total of 23 RV sites, with many including electric hookups for multiple amp capabilities.
The campground visitors have access to clean toilets and shower facilities. Many people enjoy leisure activities on Stockade Lake, like boating and swimming. Rentals are available. There is also an onsite restaurant.
More information: Stockade South Campground
Sylvan Lake Campground
Sylvan Lake Campground is located approximately a half-hour drive from Custer State Park that offers lots of outdoor experiences while staying at the campgrounds. It’s ideal for smaller RVs and has 39 spots available from mid-May until the end of September.
A campground host attends the campsites. Some of the sites offer electric hookups, and visitors are allowed access to the bathroom facilities. The campgrounds include an onsite restaurant, boat rentals for use on Sylvan Lake, and a convenience shop.
The campground has a very high elevation of 6,200-feet above sea level, so there are incredible views of the surrounding landscape. It’s also nearby many popular hiking trails.
More information: Stockade South Campground
Best Time to Visit Custer State Park for RV Camping
Thinking about RV camping in Custer State Park? Well, the best time to visit Custer State Park is anytime! It’s open all year long and is just as fun in the colder winter months as it is in the summer. The park offers a variety of activities depending on the season you visit.
Wintertime is the coldest time in Custer State Park, where it’s likely to have snowfall and short, cloudy days. The most snow the park sees on Average is in February, with roughly five inches of snow. Plus, the temperatures in Custer State Park during the winter can dip as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit!
Wintertime is the low travel season, so visitors can have a more tranquil experience. It’s one of the best times to see wildlife and other seasonal activities, including skiing and snowshoe hiking.
Custer State Park hosts group snowshoe hiking excursions, holiday dinners in the cabins, and a special ice fishing program for the public.
Many of the RV parks near Custer State Park are closed during the winter season, so alternative accommodations are available in cabins in the park.
Custer State Park already has a picturesque landscape, but springtime is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the park. For the season of rebirth, visitors can marvel at the lush, blooming vegetation and baby bison!
The temperature begins to warm up to the mid-60s in the spring, so it’s ideal for going on hikes. Spring is also when more rain begins to fall in the park, with an average of three inches of rain in May. Also, the RV parks start to open at the end of the season.
Summer is the peak travel time in Custer State Park. Temperatures peak in July at 86 degrees on average. Summer is also the time when Custer State Park sees the most daylight and sunshine! In June, Custer State Park sees a daily average of 13 hours of daylight.
Overall, this cozy climate makes summer the best time to visit Custer State Park to enjoy the outdoors and lots of sunshine all day long. Hiking, fishing, boating, and wildlife sightseeing are just a few of the popular activities to do.
Since it’s the busiest time of year, be sure to make reservations at the nearby Custer State Park RV parks to guarantee a spot during your visit.
One of the most famous events happens in Custer State Park during the fall—the Buffalo Roundup. It’s one of the rare chances for visitors to see most of the large herd gathered together, accompanied by the local arts festival.
Temperatures in the fall are slightly cooler than in the summer, dipping into the mid-70s and low 60s. This makes early fall ideal for hiking for those who prefer cooler temperatures. Mid to late fall is also when Custer State Park begins to see snowfall. With a high average of three inches of snow in November, snowfall continues to climb as fall turns to winter. Additionally, RV parks at Custer State Park remain open until mid-season.
Things to Do in Custer State Park
Custer State Park RV camping is only the beginning of the unforgettable travel experience. The park is one of the best outdoor destinations in South Dakota. It’s home to an abundance of wildlife and incredible scenic viewpoints of the diverse landscape. Whether spending one day in the park or a few days, these are some of the best things to do in Custer State Park.
- Wildlife Loop: The Wildlife Loop is the most popular activity in Custer State Park to see many iconic animals up close. The loop extends for 18-miles, where visitors drive through the park’s grasslands to see animals such as bison, coyotes, pronghorns, prairie dogs, deer, and several bird species. Guided tours are also available.
- Needles Highway: Needles Highway is considered the most scenic drive in Custer State Park. It’s named for the rock formations resembling needles that lined the highway. The scenic drive winds through the mountainous landscape to offer the best scenic lookouts in the park. One of the unique experiences is driving through the narrow rock tunnels.
- Hiking Trails: Custer State Park is a favorite destination for outdoor recreation, and hiking is one of the top activities. The park’s landscape makes it perfect for hiking as visitors can explore everything from mountains to flat grasslands. The park’s top hiking trails are Black Elk Peak Trailhead to reach the highest peak in South Dakota or the Cathedral Spires Trailhead.
- Buffalo Roundup: Every year in late September, Custer State Park hosts the Buffalo Roundup. The event is one of the most popular local events where visitors can see the annual roundup of the massive herd of 1,300 buffalo. The roundup coincides with the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival, which features local vendors selling handicrafts and artwork and live entertainment.
Tips on Visiting Custer State Park
You’re almost ready to have a blast at Custer State Park! Before you begin your adventure, check out these tips on visiting Custer State Park and make the most out of your vacation.
- Custer State Park has a visitors’ center that’s a great place to start any visit to the park. It provides interesting Custer State Park facts and details, route locations, maps, and access to various sightseeing tours.
- All visitors require a park license when visiting. The license is designated for each vehicle and permits passengers to enjoy experiences like the wildlife loop and the park’s scenic drives.
- When traveling on the wildlife loop or Needle Highway, be sure to drive slowly and be aware of the wild animals. The animals roam freely and can cross the road at any moment or get close to your vehicle.
- Custer State Park has many accessibility features, from its venues to the outdoor activities to make it an enjoyable destination for all ages.
RV Rental for Custer State Park
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