Camping near Custer/Badlands/Rushmore?

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by Apache05, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. Apache05

    Apache05 Member

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    I want to take the grand kids (13/8)and maybe a friend or two out to see the sites out there. The age difference makes there likes different. Will likely have the dogs with, but not certain. I dont need to be in the park but close to the sites. I would like electric as there are kids..lol. I have never camped out there, I have been to more campsites and parks in Mn over lets just say lots of years. I want more for the older (teenagers). I want something shady as my pop up has no air, and trying to find the best time of year..if something available. Thinking at least 3-4 days and does not need to be a weekend. I have seen prices from like 20 to 60 a nite, sites that are slanted and so on. Any help would be great. Would do tent but they dont have electricity, usually. Thanks
     
  2. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

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    I would recommend staying within the park. You can get electric hookups there. It's beautiful and serene. And cheap.

    We split our time between Stockade (within Custer SP) and the Rushmore KOA. The latter was a parking lot, and expensive, but it had many amenities. The only reason we went there was that Custer was booked up and we could only get part of a week there. It was nice to try both but if I had to choose I'd go with the SP hands down.
     
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  3. theseus

    theseus CamperMod Addict - Thinking about the Dark Side... Silver Supporting Member

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    Stayed at the Grace Coolidge campground in Custer SP last summer. Smaller campground but nice electric sites. Most of the sites are shaded.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    Sorry can't give you any campground suggestions just that I really hope you can take this trip. I was 13 when my parents took this trip. We stayed at the KOA. I found it absolutely fascinating, of course I was not your typical teenager you see now a days. I learned a lot about geography and geology. My 8 yo brother found more interest in climbing trees however. What I do remember when we went was it was impossibly hard to see Mount Rushmore with the crowd and we were so far away, however I loved the history of it. The badlands I enjoyed a lot. That was so so long ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. Good luck and I really hope you get to go.
     
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  5. J Starsky

    J Starsky Well-Known Member

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    We stayed in the shaded campsites at Custer's State Game Lodge. Staying anywhere within the park is recommended. Be ready to pull your trailer up hills. There isn't anything flat in that area. All the wildlife loops and roads are fantastic.
     
  6. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    Stay in Custer SP if you can. We usually stay at stockade lake south. They have electric, are shaded, and close to the town of Custer and easy to get to other areas of the black hills, even devil's tower.
     
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  7. J Starsky

    J Starsky Well-Known Member

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  8. Balthisar

    Balthisar Active Member

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    We had an excellent stay at Horsethief Campground in 2019. Good sized lots, close to everything, and beautiful surroundings.

    I recommended it to another user, and he/she stayed there too. Hopefully he/she will drop by to tell us how it went.
     
  9. drocks

    drocks Member

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    The Mt. Rushmore KOA is only 6 miles from the park and has a lot of kids activities as well.
     
  10. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

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    That's the one I mentioned in my post above. It really depends on how you want to camp... are you looking for a relatively secluded spot in the middle of a beautiful state park that honestly should have been a National Park iMHO? Or are you looking for lots of things to do, with a small campsite?

    I can't knock the KOA, they are very good at what they try to do, that is "resort camping". You will be on a very small spot, probably the smallest spot I've ever camped on. You will likely be surrounded by Class A rigs, although I never really felt looked down upon. You will pay $80+ a night. But they have tons of activities... pretty much something every couple hours. Many of them are included in the price, some are extra. Some are gimmicks, like the breakfast "tent"... I think it was $2 for all you can eat pancakes, but if you wanted coffee, milk, or anything to drink it was like $5 extra, and they wouldn't allow you to even carry a cup over from your camper. My son's birthday was during our stay and we splurged on a horseback "excursion"... there's a stable right at the campground. First time anyone but my wife had been on a horse, and I think she had only done it a time or two as a kid. That added another $200 to the price for all of us though lol.

    Personally I like the first (natural) type of camping better, and it's definitely cheaper. We ended up splitting up our time between the two due to schedule/availability, and my kids were happy to have some time at the KOA as well.
     
  11. Nimron

    Nimron Member

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    We have stayed at Sylvan lake campground in Custer SP. Beautiful spots, you can rent kayaks, water bikes at the lake (not a huge lake). And about a mile up the road is the Eye of the Needle and short tunnel, we always found early morning mountain goats there.
     
  12. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

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    That would have been my preference as it's so beautiful there, but Sylvan is probably the most popular CG in Custer SP, and is hard to get space in. Stockade wasn't anything special as a CG but it's very close to the western edge and therefore convenient. And really all of Custer SP is special...
     

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