Roy Lake State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Known for its excellent fishing, Roy Lake State Park is a great choice as an RV getaway destination for people of all ages. The area in and around Roy Lake State Park was formerly inhabited by members of the Woodland Culture, who were known for building large burial mounds. Artifacts dating between 900 and 1300 A.D. have been found near the park that prove the Woodland Culture's existence in the area. The Roy (or Roi) family built the area's first white settlement and local American Indians called the crops planted along the lakeshore the "Roy Planting".

Fishing is the most popular recreational activity that you can do in the park, however you don't have to be an angler to enjoy what Roy Lake State Park has to offer. Visitors also enjoy swimming at the sandy beaches, relaxing in the picnic areas, having fun on the disc golf course, getting out on the water via the boat ramps and hiking variety of trails found within the park.

There are two campgrounds at Roy Lake State Park that are suitable for RV-friendly camping. These campgrounds provide electrical and basic sites, modern comfort stations with showers and flush toilets and there is also a dump station. If you want to live a little bit of luxury there is also the privately operated Roy Lake Resort that provides concessionaire services, including a cafe, bait and convenience store and boat rentals. Roy Lake State Park is open all year round.

RV Rentals in Roy Lake State Park

Transportation in Roy Lake State Park

Driving

Roy Lake State Park is located to the south of Lake City in north-eastern South Dakota. There are a few access roads that will take you to the park to the north and the south of the entrance. Lake City is the closest town to the park (around three miles away) while the town of Eden (around eight and a half miles away) is the next closest town. The closest city to the park is Aberdeen, which is around 78 miles to the west of Roy Lake State Park.

The park should be relatively easy to access, however during the winter time make sure you call ahead to the park office to check that the park will be open during your planned visit.

Both the access roads are located off SD-10. If you want to enter the park closest to the park office then take the exit before you reach Lake City. This road will be 483th Avenue. Turn left onto Northside Drive and follow that road until you reach the park. If you want to go to the southern area of the park, turn right onto SD-25 until you see N Side Drive. Turn right onto N Side Drive and you will be on the road that is closest to Roy Lake.

Parking

There is plenty of parking available for visitors to Roy Lake State Park.

Public Transport

Unfortunately there are no public transport options that will take you to Roy Lake State Park.

Campgrounds and parking in Roy Lake State Park

Campsites in Roy Lake State Park

Reservations camping

East Unit Campground

The East Unit Campground is the smaller of the two campgrounds at Roy Lake State Park that are RV-friendly. There are 34 sites available for you to use during your stay and they can be found in two different loops within the campground. The roads in East Unit Campground are quite large and you should have no trouble getting your RV in and out of the campground. One of the benefits of staying at East Unit Campground is that it has a dump station available for use which is not found in the West Unit Campground. If you are wanting a more quit campground we recommend staying at the east unit.

Other amenities in the East Unit Campground include one bathhouse, two vault toilets, picnic area and ADA accessible sites. During the winter time from October 1st to April 30th the bathhouse may not be open, so make sure to call ahead and check with park staff to see what the status is. Online reservations are available up to six months in advance.

West Unit Campground

The West Unit Campground is the largest of the two campgrounds at Roy Lake State Park that are RV-friendly. There are 52 sites available for you to use during your stay and they can be found in three different loops within the campground. The roads in West Unit Campground are quite large and you should have no trouble getting your RV in and out of the campground. One of the benefits of staying at West Unit Campground is that it has direct access to the boat ramp. If you are a fishing fan we recommend staying at this campground.

Apart from direct boat ramp access, other amenities include two bathhouses, three vault toilets, picnic area and waterfront campsites. During the winter time from October 1st to April 30th the bathhouses may not be open, so make sure to call ahead and check with park staff to see what the status is. Online reservations are available up to six months in advance.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Roy Lake State Park

In-Season

Swimming

Swimming is such a great activity for all ages and the glacial waters of Roy Lake will provide you with some beautiful crystal clear water for you to enjoy. There are two beaches to choose from that are open during the summer months at Roy Lake State Park but there is no guarantee that lifeguards will be stationed at either of them. If you need any supplies like sunscreen they may be available for you to purchase at the small concession at the private resort in the park.

Boating

Even if you aren't someone who loves to fish you can still enjoy the beauty of what the lake has to offer by getting out on it. Boating is another very popular summertime activity that is perfect for families wanting a day out. Even if you don't own a boat, during your stay you can enjoy what the lake has to offer by renting watercraft from the private resort that is located within the park. Remember to stay close to the shoreline if you are not confident in your abilities.

Fishing

Love to fish? One of the most popular activities at Roy Lake State Park is to cast out a line and go fishing. The terrain in Roy Lake offers a variety of fish-holding structures, including points with sand and gravel to sunken islands. The lake is also quite deep (a drop of one foot for every foot out from shore) and the water is crystal clear. Some of the popular fish species that are caught in the lake include walleye, and largemouth bass.

Off-Season

Birding

If you love to get the binoculars out and view some birds you will enjoy your stay at Roy Lake State Park. The park is part of the Glacial Lakes and Prairies Birding Trail, which is known for being the habitat for over 300 species of birds. The hundreds of small lakes in the area have made great bird habitats and Roy Lake is no different. Some of the common birds found in and around the park include the American white pelican, canvasback, bufflehead, common merganser, Franklin's gull and migrating warblers.

Ice Fishing

Once the gorgeous Roy Lake freezes over in the wintertime that doesn't mean that the fishing stops. Ice fishing is very popular for visitors to the park, even attracting Dave Genz, who is known as the modern day father of ice fishing. Since the lake has such clear water it is recommended that you don't go ice fishing during the day as the fish can see you through the ice. Try casting a line at night and you might end up catching a big one!

Disc Golf

Roy Lake State Park has a bunch of recreational activities for visitors (such as a volleyball court and horseshoe pit) but the number one choice that is outside the lake is the disc golf course. Disc golf is a great game that is family friendly and can be played at a leisurely pace. The course is nine holes in length and can be played all year round. If you need discs to play you can check at the park office to see if any are available for rent.

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