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Known for its vibrant Sioux quartzite formations, Palisades State Park is one of the most distinctive recreation areas in the state of South Dakota. Flowing through the 157-acre park is Split Rock Creek, which attracts thrill-seeking rafters as well as curious geologists. These rushing waters used to power a giant flour mill that was one of the main contributors to the development of the town of Palisades.
The park is a perfect getaway for anyone who loves RV camping, hiking, fishing, and kayaking, and its unique appeal is something photographers can’t hope to resist. The town of Garretson is a stone’s throw away, so there’s no need to worry if you need supplies, as you'll find grocery and convenience stores here. Any Garretson camper can confirm that the park has some of the most beautiful picnic areas and hiking trails in the entire state that wind through woodlands dotted with burr oak, silver maple, box elder, green ash, and red cedar.
Palisades State Park is among the favorite locations for mountaineers in South Dakota because of its amazing hiking and rock climbing routes. The trails provide a decent challenge, and guests are advised to be cautious and carry their cell phones in case they need assistance. As you traverse the park’s craggy pathways, take some time to admire the scenic views of Indian grass prairies, cottonwood trees, and even tiger lilies. You'll likely spot lots of critters on your hiking adventures, like raccoons, beaver, squirrel, and if you're lucky, even white-tailed deer.
You might also want to hit some of the hiking trails if you're keen on birdwatching. Within the park’s forests and thickets, you'll likely find starlings, hawks, flickers, meadowlarks, grackles, cardinals, owls, finches, and woodpeckers. Just listen to their songs, look for their nests among the tree branches, or try to spot them soaring across the clear skies.
Finally, let’s not forget Split Rock Creek, which is ideal for fishing and boating. If you want to row across the rapids, remember to wear your lifejacket and use a waterproof case for your phone. Anglers love to come here during the last weeks of spring as the waters are ideal for fly fishing. The water is home to a variety of species, and you might catch largemouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, white crappie, and walleye.
There are over 30 motorhome camping sites at Palisades State Park's campground. Guests love RV camping here because the sites offer electric hookups, fire rings, and picnic tables. If you're not camping in an RV, you can rent a cabin, which is fully furnished to provide even more comfort.
The campground also has drinking water, flush toilets, and showers. If you're camping with your kids, you can visit the park’s playground. Those who are booking an RV rental for this trip should know that the park's RV length limit is 50 feet.
Once you've recharged your batteries and you're ready for a more urban environment, put that camper rental to good use and drive to the city of Sioux Falls, located around 20 miles away from Palisades State Park. The town is full of family-friendly attractions like amusement parks and escape room experiences. If you want to make sure this one of those unforgettable holidays for your kids, Sioux Falls is the place to go.
If you'd like to learn new things and see some exotic animals, the town has both a zoo and aquarium. The aquarium is also a butterfly house, and the sheer variety of insects, fish, and other underwater dwellers is sure to delight the kids in your crew. As for the zoo, you'll see over 100 animal species, both native and from different continents, some of which are endangered and a rare sight to behold.
History buffs will also find Sioux Falls enticing, as it's home to multiple museums. Particularly interesting exhibits are available at the Medical Museum, which is part of the Sanford Health Medical campus. The exhibits tell the tale of medical advancements starting from the early 1900s until today. Just remember to call in advance and book a tour.
When your Palisades State Park camping trip has come to an end, you won't leave on an empty stomach, thanks to the variety of dining options available in Sioux Falls. Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, fast food, pizza: no matter what you're craving, Sioux Falls has something for even the pickiest eaters among you.