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Combining the intrigue of history and the serenity of nature, Farm Island Recreation Area is an ideal site for any adventurer seeking a quiet place to relax. Located less than five miles away from Pierre and around a 15-minute drive from Fort Pierre, Farm Island welcomes campers, hikers, cyclists, and swimmers alike with fantastic trails and incredible beaches that were once a part of the Lewis and Clark expedition more than 200 years ago.
The island has been exposed to a number of changes over the past two centuries. After the first fur traders landed here, surrounded by untouched nature, they turned the island into a farm. In the 1930s, the land started its gradual transformation to the state recreation area. After Big Bend Dam was completed in 1965, all the important facilities were transferred from the island and a greater part of it was flooded.
Nowadays, the island has somewhat regained the natural wilderness it once had. But birdwatchers, RV campers, anglers, or any other Farm Island explorer might bump into an old roadway or some other relic of the past that hasn’t been reclaimed by nature.
Another interesting way to experience Farm Island Recreation Area is by RV camping. There are several options if you wish to spend a few days kayaking, fishing, boating, or playing volleyball at the beach. You can search for an RV in Hughes County, or you can book an RV rental in Blunt, about a half-hour away.
Because of its proximity to the Missouri River as well as Hipple Lake, Farm Island Recreation Area is an optimal place for all fans of fishing and boating, as well as any other aquatic activity such as swimming. Pierre campers can bring their own gear and enjoy a day out in the open while fishing for yellow perch, black crappie, paddlefish, or largemouth bass. On the other hand, if you forgot to bring your rod or you don’t have one, you can rent the equipment you need for fishing at Farm Island Recreation Area.
Visitors who would like to explore the water can book a boating or canoeing tour. The vistas along the shoreline of Farm Island will leave you breathless.
Dive into the wilderness of Farm Island by hitting one of two popular trails. You can choose between the Nature Exploration Trail and Lewis and Clark Trail. The first one will allow you to see the magnificent flora and fauna of the area, while the Lewis and Clark Trail stretches from LaFramboise Island State Natural Area to Oahe Downstream Recreation Area. Both trails are appropriate for all ages and skill levels, making it a good option for a walk with the family.
RV camping at Farm Island Recreation Area is possible in two locations: East and Main Campground. Whereas the East Campground offers only 20 campsites, the Main Campground features 70. The eastern campground spots can accommodate rigs up to 40 feet long. At the Main Campground, the limit is 50 feet. All sites are equipped with electrical hookups.
Another difference is the amenities. The East Campground has a shelter house, waterfront access, and drinking water. While the Main Campground doesn’t offer a shelter house, it features vault toilets, amphitheater, camping cabins, playgrounds, and more.
Make the most of your time camping at Farm Island Recreation Area and visit the nearby towns for a complete experience. If you need to refill your tank, you can stop by the nearby gas station on your way to Pierre, only five minutes away from the park. This area is also packed with excellent restaurants, with Italian and Japanese both available nearby. Or if you're in a hurry, there are a couple of fast-food restaurants you can stop by.
If you haven’t had your fill of history at Farm Island, head over to Fort Pierre and visit the Verendrye Museum. This establishment is located in the old American Legion Hall. The museum displays different artifacts that detail the early history of this area.
Less than five miles from the park, you can visit the South Dakota National Guard Museum. The 15-minute drive will be worth the effort once you set your eyes on all the interesting memorabilia and historical documents. All the items found in this repository are donations from veterans and their family members.
And if you're looking for a way to entertain your young ones and educate them at the same time, visit the South Dakota Discovery Center. A unique hands-on learning experience through science classes and exhibitions can make a perfect day for the entire family.