As one of the most happening vacation spots in South Dakota, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area deserves every bit of recognition and popularity it receives. You can spend days at this 864 acres of resort park hiking, swimming, camping, boating, biking, and getting lost in its secluded natural wilderness.
There are so many fun activities to do at Lewis and Clark Recreation Area that a few days seems too short of a time to explore this gorgeous park completely. While this park has something for everyone, it is primarily a hub for all water lovers. The 25-mile Lewis and Clark Lake garners attention and keeps visitors busy with the many sports and recreational activities available. The lake is by far the highlight of this park and brings visitors from all across the world. The adventure of something out of this world is truly experienced here when vacationers park their RVs amidst nature and enjoy the marina and all it has to offer.
While there is a plethora of outdoor activities to experience, this isn’t the only thing that attracts visitors from all over the midwest. It's the separate campground area with modern recreation facilities that makes it all the more alluring. RV campers will find hundreds of sites with paved parking spurs and electrical hookups.
Lewis and Clark Recreational Area sits about 80 miles to the south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The park is easily accessed from Nebraska Highway 121 or off of SD Highway 52. To save yourself the trouble, skip the marine and resort entrance and take the Lewis and Clark Campground Entrance at milepost 337 to reach your campsite quickly and without any hassle. The park’s office is right by the park entrance, and campers can check in here before proceeding to park their rig. The campgrounds are situated in loops without any sharp turns, so even those with large vehicles should have no trouble navigating to their site. The campsites are paved and accommodate large rigs easily with ample room for maneuverability, with campsites offering both drive-in and pull-through options for RVs and motor homes.
Although the park keeps its gates open year-round, not all facilities remain open throughout the winter months. Snow is often present in this midwest park, so it's a good idea to check the local weather forecast and road conditions before heading out.
Lewis and Clark Recreational Area provides the largest and most popular campgrounds on the shores of Lewis and Clark Lake. The park facilitates its RV travelers with over 400 campsites divided between four camping areas: Gavins Point Section, West Midway Section, East Midway Section, and Yankton Section. All campsites offer electric hookups and paved parking spaces that are spacious enough for RVs and motorhomes under 50 ft. A few tent-only camping sites are available in the Gavins Point Section for the more rugged camping enthusiasts. There are also group camping sites available in the Easy Midway Section. All campsites are close to dumping stations, showers, and drinking water. All campsites are spacious, providing campers the freedom to move around and also offer much in terms of privacy. If you ended up making impromptu weekend plans, you could always go for campsites 302-409 as these are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you prefer to plan ahead, reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance.
For those that brought horses along to explore the park, camping is made easy with a separate equestrian camping area. There are eight sites with corrals available for the horses. Bathrooms and a picnic shelter are also located on-site. Horse riding trails can be found near the campground, as well as a trail that leads to the archery range. Reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance.
If you're looking to escape the crowds that often engulf Lewis and Clark Recreation Area during the busy summer months, there are alternate camping options nearby. Chief White Crane and Pierson Ranch Recreation Area are minutes away from the recreation area and offer amenities similar to Lewis and Clark, including electric hookups, flush toilets, and spacious parking spurs.
Taking the road east from the Welcome Center for about two miles will get you to Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium. Inaugurated in 1960 on the Missouri River, this hatchery has to date produced nearly 5 billion fish to release in the waters of the midwest rivers and lakes. The aquarium is one of the coolest places to be, especially for kids. Here, visitors can learn all about the inner workings of how a fish hatchery operates and get to see wide varieties of fish and turtles swim around in their sanctuaries.
Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is open all year and offers many recreational activities to get your blood pumping. The park has designated courts for basketball, soccer, and volleyball, as well as a golf course where you can play a game of disc golf. If you fancy a game of horseshoe, there are pits located throughout the park. If you're RV camping with the kids, there are numerous playgrounds located in the campground area, as well.
If you are fond of fishing or want to try it for the first time, then Lewis and Clark Lake is just the spot to toss out a line and enjoy a bit of relaxing fishing. Lewis and Clark Recreational Area has all the facilities you need to go on your first angling adventure. If you didn't pack your own gear along with you in the Sprinter, the park store rents and sells fishing equipment, gear, and bait, providing everything an angler would need to catch the many types of bass swimming in the lake waters. Other common catches from the reservoir include walleye and panfish. There are fishing docks, fishing poles, and a fish cleaning station in the park, as well as disability access provided.
Those hardy enough to brave the cold winters of South Dakota will be rewarded with miles of snow-covered trails perfect for snowshoeing. Once the powder sticks, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is transformed into a winter wonderland. The trails that once supported hikers, bikers, and horseback riders during the summer months change into snowshoeing routes for the winter. If you don't own a pair of snowshoes yourself, the park offers rentals from the Visitor Center.
Lewis and Clark Recreational Area offers plenty of spots for families and friends to come out and enjoy a picnic near the lake waters. The park offers its guests picnic tables, grills, fire rings, and comfort stations at various picnic designated areas, mainly overlooking the marina and lake. The park also has 10 fully furnished cabins near the Burbach Area that can be reserved one year ahead of time. The cabins offer all the modern amenities you need to have a relaxing, comfortable, and luxurious picnic amidst nature's wonders.
Lewis and Clark Recreation area is popular because it is home to the largest marina in the state. To park the rig here and not make use of this modern and well-maintained marina would be a shame. Campers can take advantage of the many types of slip and boat rentals available at the marina. There are various boat ramps located in the campground and throughout the recreation area, and there are also floating fuel docks. Swimming pools and sandy beaches make it easy for guests to relax and enjoy the beautiful lake waters. If you haven’t been on a yacht or sailboat before, this is as good an opportunity as any.
The multipurpose six-mile-long trail ensures that no camper returns home from their RV vacation without witnessing the natural beauty surrounding Lewis and Clark Recreational Area. This natural trail starts near the boat ramp at Gavins Point Campground and continues alongside the lake and towards the Missouri River. Hikers can trek along the natural surfaced trail, while mountain bikers can bike along the paved section. Equestrian riders can also enjoy riding their horses on even, paved surfaces enjoying the scenic views around them. All the sweating on the trail is worth it because, on the top, you can see the beautiful lake below as well as the chalk rock bluffs.
An interesting game that attracts many to this neck of the woods is archery. The massive range at Lewis and Clark Recreation Area has a practice area as well as 28 different targets along the trail. There are also restrooms, a picnic shelter, and a parking lot available on site. The park facilitates archery tournaments and competitions and also allows guests to try their hands at this medieval sport. If you visit the park regularly, you just might become a pro archer.