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Surrounded by multiple glacial lakes, Oakwood Lakes State Park is a cozy natural retreat located just 25 minutes away from the town of Brookings. The park's forest and grassland setting is ideal for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and birdwatching. Mesmerizing natural surroundings and a pristine lake make the park a true oasis, and RV campers, anglers, families, and fitness enthusiasts love spending their time here.
The park's visitors' center showcases a collection of items that were found on the park’s grounds. If you plan to wander around the park, make sure to check out the old cabin that belonged to Samuel Mortimer, who settled here and built it back in 1869. Before the arrival of the settlers, the park served as a gathering point for Native Americans.
Keen to explore the natural scenery of South Dakota? Find an RV rental in Brookings County and book your site at Oakwood Lakes. You can rent an RV near Brookings, or check out the options in Arlington and Volga, as both cities are just a short drive from the park. Once you've set up camp at Oakwood Lakes State Park, get ready to explore the lush woodlands, charming shorelines, and scenic trails.
With almost 3,000 acres of lake to explore, it should come as no surprise that some of the most popular things to do here include fishing, swimming, and boating. During the summer, many visitors rush to Johnson Lake’s swim beach to cool off, sunbathe, or explore the lake from the comfort of their boat. While paddling, you'll most likely spot dragonflies and a few turtles here and there along the shore. If you plan to spend your time fishing, you might want to head to the fishing pier on Lake Tetonkaha, where you can catch bullhead, yellow perch, northern pike, and walleye.
Nice shaded areas in the park are perfect for a family picnic and to play frisbee with the kids. Additionally, the park has a specific area designated for playing disc golf, making it a great spot to challenge your camping crew to some friendly competition.
The hiking trails will take you to all sorts of nooks and crannies within the state park. You'll go from Indiangrass prairies and wooded shores to thick forests and wetlands. You can set out on foot, horseback, or bike. While exploring the wetlands, you'll likely spot waterfowl and other birds, including woodpeckers, purple martins, American robins, and eastern bluebirds. Cooper’s hawk, American crows, and turkey vultures rule the skies here.
Oakwood Lakes features three well-equipped campgrounds with 130 spots for motorhome camping as well as equestrian sites. The RV camping sites can accommodate vehicles up to 75 feet long and offer 50-amp electric hookups.
Two of the three campgrounds are set aside for RV campers, while the last campground is designated for equestrian campers. If you're not camping in an RV, the park even offers rental cabins for those who prefer a cozier accommodation option. A water spigot and a dump station are both provided in the campgrounds, and you'll also have access to showers, restrooms, picnic shelters, and a playground.
The nearest place to find provisions is the small town of Bruce, where you can purchase supplies, groceries, and fuel. You'll also find a couple of restaurants here, but the variety leaves much to be desired. For more attractions and dining options, head to Brookings.
Once you arrive, you can start your day by visiting the art museum, which is a part of South Dakota State University. In addition to an impressive collection of paintings and multiple exhibits, the museum also offers education in the form of programs and workshops. The museum collects and preserves different forms of visual arts, but also supports local artists by giving them a platform to showcase and sell their work.
Parents who are traveling with their toddlers should also check out the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. This is a massive and interactive playground that inspires and teaches kids through play. The little ones will pick up new skills and learn new things, all while having fun and exploring what the museum has to offer.
Brookings has truly spectacular gardens that closely collaborate with South Dakota State University. Guests can spend their time at McCrory Gardens enjoying scenic walks and relaxing, or they can book a particular garden for a special event. There are over 20 different gardens, some of which are home to hummingbirds and butterflies. In terms of plants, you can see different ornamental grasses, a variety of peonies and lilies, an array of rhododendrons and azaleas, and much more.