Hartford Beach State Park is a 331-acre park on the shore of Big Stone Lake. About 10,000 years ago the prehistoric river Warren was created from the runoff of melting glaciers. Today, a section of the river is known as Big Stone Lake. During the 1600s, the fur trade was booming in the region, attracting English settlers who claimed the land. Historical sites are located within the park for visitors to explore.
Big Stone Lake with its rocky bluffs and wooded shoreline, provide beautiful scenery both on and off the water. Spend a warm day beating the heat out on the lake boating or swimming. Trek the many trails in the park and learn the history of the area. No matter where you are within the state park, you’ll find fantastic viewing of wildlife and the different types of vegetation.
Hartford Beach State Park is open year-round. In the summertime, the area can experience warm, humid summer days while in the wintertime the temperatures can be bitterly cold and are often well below freezing. Plan accordingly for your stay and be prepared for the weather no matter the season.
The state park is host to over eighty campsites, some of which have electric hookups. Many campsites are wooded, so you can expect some shade and privacy during your stay. Spend the day out on the lake or hiking the trails, then come back to your campsite in the evening to enjoy s’mores or other goodies around the campfire. Reservations can be made in advance, so you can relax knowing you have a campsite upon your arrival.
Hartford Beach State Park is located in Corona, SD near the Minnesota state line. To reach the park, head north on SD Highway 15 if coming from Milbank or east if coming from Wilmot. Some services are located nearby. The GPS coordinates to use for directions are 45.40219 and -96.67307.
The highway near the state park is simple to navigate with very few curves. You shouldn’t have much trouble driving to the park. As always, it’s good to keep an eye or ear on the weather reports in the area. Known for snowstorms and freezing temperatures in the winter, the state park can also get thunderstorms in the summer months.
The roads in the park are paved, which make it easy to navigate around the park with your RV or trailer. There aren’t many parking areas available near activities like the lake or trailheads. Walking or biking is the best way to get around the state park from one activity to another.
Hartford Beach State Park has 87 campsites, which are spread across two camping areas, the east campground and the west campground. Many of the campsites have electric hookups. The maximum length for RVs and trailers is 70 feet. Reservations can be made in advance online or over the phone.
While there are no water hookups at the campsites, water is available throughout the state park. It is important to note that water may be shut-off throughout the park between October 1st and April 30th due to freezing temperatures. The restrooms with showers and flush toilets may also be impacted by the water shut-off, but the vault toilets typically remain open year-round. You can contact the park prior to your visit to find out if the water is on or off.
Some park amenities to enjoy during your stay are the playground and picnic shelters. The playground will provide endless enjoyment for the kids between other activities. The picnic shelters are perfect to enjoy a reunion or other celebration with a large group. During the cold winter months there is a warming shelter you can step into to warm back up if need be.
Big Stone Lake is a great location for boating. The boat ramp located within the state park provides quick access to drop your boat. If you prefer paddling, canoes, kayaks, and paddle-boards are welcome too! The state park does have canoe and kayak rentals available for visitors.
Anglers who head out to the state park to fish will find that the lake has fish aplenty. Big Stone Lake is known for walleyes of all sizes, but you may also reel in perch, bass, or crappie. Forget your pole? The state park offers a pole checkout. A fishing dock and boat ramp are located within the state park as well as a fish cleaning station.
Hartford Beach State Park can be warm and humid during the summer months. What better way to cool off than to jump into the lake water? Head down to the swimming beach to take a dip in the refreshing Big Stone Lake. There is no lifeguard on duty at the park’s beach.
There are five hiking trails within the state park. There is something different to see on each trail, whether it be an overlook, scenery, or historical sites. Historical areas of interest you’ll encounter on the trails include the cabin of a trading post operator. The trails are a great location in the park for birdwatching as well.
Hartford Beach State Park caters to disc golf enthusiasts, so don’t forget to bring your discs. There is an eight-hole disc golf course in the park. You can also get in some hiking while you play. The paths between each hole are home to a variety of wildlife and vegetation. Enjoy the scenery as you trek from hole to hole.
The state park and surrounding area contain quite a bit of history. The remains of a trader’s cabin who operated a trading post in the area from 1863 to 1873 are on the park’s property. The state park also holds Native American burial grounds and the graves of pioneers.