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Just north of Mitchell, the Lake Mitchell Campground overlooks a picturesque body of water in southeast South Dakota. It’s a family-friendly base for exploring the surrounding natural attractions while being just over an hour's drive west of Sioux Falls and an hour's drive east of Chamberlain and the banks of the Missouri River.
RV camping at the Lake Mitchell Campground includes access to 50 RV sites with full hookups (water, sewer, and 30/50-amp service), as well as nine tent-only sites. The park works on a first-come, first-serve basis, with on-site hosts available during the summer months and a self-pay system throughout the rest of the year. Aside from a children’s playground to keep young guests entertained, the campground features direct access to walking trails along the lake shores.
A highlight of camping at the Lake Mitchell Campground is its access to Lake Mitchell, which was created in 1928 by the impounding of Firesteel Creek to serve as a drinking water supply and recreation center for the city. It’s no longer Mitchell’s sole source of drinking water but remains a recreational hub, with fishing, canoeing, and kayaking all on offer. There’s a boat ramp on the lake’s south side where you can launch your vessel, as well as a fishing bridge next to the playground and two swimming beaches on the lake’s north shore. Also bordering the lake is a municipal golf course that’s considered one of the best of its kind in South Dakota.
Camp in an RV near Mitchell and drive east to the Big Sioux State Recreation Area, which lies on the banks of the Big Sioux River. It’s home to an archery range, a golf course, and an 18-hole disc golf course, as well as a paved cycling trail that RVers traveling with bikes can use. If you’re visiting during the winter months, the Big Sioux State Recreation Area is also a popular destination for snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
While visiting the Big Sioux State Recreation Area, make a detour to the Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, which protects a natural prairie that’s renowned for its ancient Native American burial mounds. The preserve takes its name from the creator spirit in Anishinaabe Indian beliefs, Gichi-Manidoo, with a highlight being its Precambrian Sioux quartzite outcroppings. Stretch your legs along the walking trail that hugs the banks of the Big Sioux River, with open meadows, dense woodlands, and pink-colored bedrock to explore.
Campsites at the Lake Mitchell Campground are just eight minutes’ drive from the center of Mitchell, which is home to numerous grocery stores where you can stock up on supplies. There are also gas stations here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a wide selection of fast-food restaurants and eateries for dining out.
Mitchell boasts a plethora of family-friendly attractions and cultural landmarks, such as the Dakota Discovery Museum, where artifacts and art relating to the region's Native American people and early pioneers are displayed. Admire the Moorish architecture of the Corn Palace, a multi-purpose arena that’s decorated with murals and designs made from corn. A permanent collection of Corn Palace memorabilia is on display at the Carnegie Resource Center, with this former library now housing the Mitchell Area Historical Society. Coincide your visit to the Corn Palace with the citywide festival that’s held at the end of August or attend a basketball game featuring the Dakota Wesleyan University Tigers or the Mitchell High School Kernels.
Also in Mitchell is the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, which occupies the archaeological site of an Indian village that was discovered in 1910. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964, with the on-site Boehnen Memorial Museum featuring a reconstructed lodge and many of the artifacts that have been uncovered here. Learn how its inhabitants found and processed food while browsing the tools and carbonized seeds on display, then watch the archaeologists digging for artifacts in the Thomsen Center Archeodome.
Mitchell campers are just over an hour’s drive from the heart of Sioux Falls, which is named for a spectacular cascade along the Big Sioux River. Learn about the city’s rich history at the Old Courthouse Museum and the late-19th-century Queen Bee Mill, then soak up the views from the nearby observation tower. Architectural highlights include the Pettigrew Home & Museum, which centers around a Queen Anne-style residence, while advancements in the medical world are on display at the Sioux Empire Medical Museum. Kids will love the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History, where you can get up close to eastern black rhinos, Amur tigers, and snow leopards.
Whether you want to explore the cultural attractions of Sioux Falls or discover the Native American history of the region, book an RV in Davison County and start planning your next vacation.