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State Parks:

The Missouri River is home to some of the most beautiful state parks in the Midwest. Offering fishing, hiking, camping, and more, these state parks have something for every member of your family to enjoy. Not only are these recreation spots the perfect place to stay when visiting the area, but are also great places for locals to spend the day immersed in the beauty of nature.

Cow Creek Recreation Area

Cow Creek Recreation Area is the perfect place for water lovers. This park is perfect for fishing and boating with both primitive shoreline camping, as well as campground spots with full-electrical hookups. The campground has easy access to drinking water as well as restrooms and showers. Cow Creek is the perfect place to enjoy birdwatching, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and so much more. If camping isn’t your thing Cow Creek also has cabins available for rent!

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Farm Island Recreation Area

Located east of Pierre, Farm Island attracts all types of visitors - campers, swimmers, hikers, anglers, bird watchers and bicyclists. With easy access to Lake Sharpe and popular beaches and trails, this park is a favorite among locals. Farm Island boasts 8 miles of hiking trails that are perfect for walking, biking, and even cross country skiing in the winter! Farm Island offers a wide variety of equipment rentals to take your vacation to the next level. From basketballs, canoes, bicycles, and even snowshoes, you will never run out of things to do when visiting Farm Island.

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Indian Creek Recreation Area

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, cowboys used the Indian Creek Recreation Area to fatten thousands of cattle for shipment south, and in 1804 this rugged landscape was part of Lewis and Clark’s expedition through the area. Now, the rolling hills and scenic river views attract visitors from far and wide. Indian Creek offers a wide range of activities and offers many guest amenities. There are tent campsites, electrical hookup sites and even camping cabins. Indian Creek Recreation Area also has a marina that offers boat slip rentals, boat fuel, bait, guide services, and more!

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LaFramboise Island Nature Area

LaFramboise Island was recorded by Lewis and Clark in 1804 and nicknamed “Good Humored Island” due to its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife. Today, LaFramboise Island is still covered in a wide variety of tree species and is home to a variety of birds and wildlife. LaFramboise Island is located south of Pierre and is an amazing place to pack a picnic for the day. LaFramboise is a day-use park only and does not offer camping accommodations.

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Snake Creek Recreation Area

Snake Creek Recreation Area is a state campground with 115 campsites and 10 camping cabins. The park is popular with boaters and anglers, as well those looking for scenic beauty along the Missouri River. History buffs will enjoy knowing that the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled through the area, where they were told to watch for "burning bluffs" along the river.

The Lewis and Clark expedition has forever left its mark on this area with the story of Private George Shannon. Shannon, the youngest member of the expedition at 19 years old, became lost when he was sent to fetch strayed horses. Thinking the crew had moved up river, Shannon raced to meet the boats. When he was found exhausted and starving two weeks later, he quickly learned that the expedition had been downstream from him the entire time.

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Oahe Downstream Recreation Area

The Corps of Engineers began building the Oahe Dam in 1948 and in 1962 started generating electricity. It's one of the largest constructed reservoirs in the United States, spanning 231 miles and connecting the capitol cities of South Dakota and North Dakota. This recreation area has three separate campgrounds offering visitors a wide variety of outdoor activities. In fact, this is one of the South Dakota state parks where visitors can see the majestic bald eagle. During winter, bird watchers can view eagles that roost in the treetops below the dam. They typically can be viewed perching within 50 feet of the riverbank in tall cottonwood trees. Visitors can also spend time at the prairie butterfly garden at the entrance to the park. This garden has 17 native plant species as well as many common species of butterfly.

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Spring Creek Recreation Area

Spring Creek Recreation, located on Lake Oahe, is a water-lover’s paradise. With more than 2,000 miles of shoreline this lake is the perfect place for boating, fishing, or just relaxing on the beach. The recreation area has a marina, convenience store, and an on-site restaurant. The campground has showers, flushable toilets, a dump station, and much more. Spring Creek Recreation Area also has modern lodging accommodations for those not wanting to camp. All cabins feature air conditioning, heat, bathrooms, and electricity. These cabins are perched on the shoreline to give you pristine lake views and easy access to water recreation.

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Okobojo Recreation Area

Okobojo Point Recreation Area boasts scenic rolling hills, wide prairie expanses, and one of the most memorable vistas along the Missouri River. If you love the outdoors, you will love Okobojo Point. Miles of sandy beaches invite park visitors to play in the water, enjoy a volleyball game, try some shore fishing and walk near the river's waves. The campground utilizes a self-registration system, all camping units must be placed at time of registration.

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Swan Creek Recreation Area

Swan Creek Recreation Area is the perfect spot for anglers looking to catch their limit on the Mighty Mo. With two campgrounds and two boat ramps, this area offers perfect access to Lake Oahe for boating and fishing fun! The campground has both camper and tent sites, a shower house, flush toilets, fish cleaning stations, access to drinking water, and more!

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North Point Recreation Area

Located on the shores of the Missouri River just above Fort Randall Dam, North Point Recreation Area provides a spectacular river view. Lewis and Clark came up the river in late-August, early-September in 1804. In this area, they saw their first prairie dogs, which they called "barking squirrels." They were also told to watch for an infrequent phenomenon called "burning bluffs," where the shale ignites and smokes.

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West Whitlock Recreation Area

In the past, West Whitlock Recreation Area was home to the Arikara and Mandan people, both Native American tribes of the Great Plains region. When this area became a park it was named for Mrs. J.F. Whitlock, a pioneer woman whose family owned the land where the park now sits. West Whitlock Recreation Area offers amenities the whole family will love. From paddleboard and canoe rentals, to snowshoe rentals, this scenic area has activities to offer all-year-round!

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Lewis and Clark Recreation Area

Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, located near Yankton, South Dakota is one of the most popular parks in the entire state. There are three separate campgrounds with options for tent camping, RV’s, and camping cabins. Easy access to a marina makes this park perfect for people looking to relax on the water. From water adventures, to volleyball courts, horseshoes, horseback riding, and so much more, Lewis and Clark Recreation area has an adventure waiting for everyone!

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For more information about these beautiful state parks, and to explore more parks across the state of South Dakota check out the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks website.

Visit South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks

Aerial view of Missouri River

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