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Roy Lake State Park is known for its phenomenal fishing. In northeastern South Dakota, 25 minutes from Sisseton, one hour north of Groton, and 45 minutes south of Gwinner, ND, Roy Lake State Park rests right on the edge of Roy Lake. Anglers and outdoor enthusiasts visit from all over to enjoy the scenic beauty and aquatic game of the area.
Humans have called Roy Lake home for hundreds of years. Evidence of the earliest settlers in the area date back to around 900 AD. As a result of westward expansion, the Roy family were the first non-native people to build a settlement, and the area was subsequently named after them. In 1946, the lake and local area were bound together by the state to land under the protection of the state park system.
If outdoor activities are your thing, you’re going to love camping at Roy Lake State Park. Whether it's land or water sports, soaking up the sun, or sightseeing, you’ll be happy you made this park your destination. Get started by booking an RV in Marshall County and see where the vacation brings you.
The major draw to Roy Lake State Park is undoubtedly the angling. Fishing at Roy Lake is one of the most popular activities due to the size and accessibility of the lake. There's an ADA accessible fishing dock that gives you access to this 2,000-acre lake. Its maximum depth is 25 feet, and these waters are chock full of walleye, bluegill, pike, small and largemouth bass, and perch. And don’t let the seasons stop you. Roy Lake State Park anglers enjoy their ice fishing just as much as their warm-weather fishing. The state of South Dakota requires a fishing license, and you can acquire yours online.
Don’t forget to bring your hunting gear if that’s what you’re into. Roy Lake State Park provides easy access to around 55,000 acres of Marshall County hunting land. Roy Lake hunters can try their luck with pheasants, turkeys, and waterfowl. Hunting licenses for South Dakota are also available online.
When it comes to hiking trails, Roy Lake doesn't have a lot to offer. The Roy Island Trail makes up for its short length of one-third of a mile in beauty and accessibility. The trail is gravel and limestone paved, making it a good option for those with mobility issues. It’s not a difficult trail to navigate, so it's nice for hikers of all ages. The trail leads to a bridge where you can look down into the water and see tons of minnows and painted turtles living their happy little lives.
There are two campgrounds within the park for Roy Lake State Park campers to use. West Roy is the larger of the two, while East Roy is more secluded. There are over 100 campsites available to park visitors, which include 88 with electrical hookups.
The park’s amenities are fruitful to say the least. There's a white sandy beach with a boat ramp, kayak rentals, fishing dock, and picnic area. Vault toilets are available for those camping at Roy Lake State Park. Dump stations, drinking water, and a fish cleaning station are also provided. ADA-accessible campsites are available, and the picnic shelter and fishing dock are also accessible by wheelchair. If you're a fan of disc golf, the park has a complete nine-hole frisbee golf course located inside the park, and it's free for Roy Lake campers.
Just outside the park in the small town of Aberdeen, you’ll find the Dacotah Prairie Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving the memories and cultures of the prairie through its history. Its main focus is education and growth. Learn all about the native people who lived in the area before the Europeans settled here. Additionally, through talks, art, performance, plays, and artifacts, you can discover the stories behind prairie life throughout the last few hundred years.
An hour and a half south of Roy Lake State Park, the Bramble Park Zoo awaits you. The zoo boasts over 500 species of animals that are native to South Dakota who call this place their home. Get up close and personal with bears, elk, mountain lions, otters, and coyotes. Learn about these animals and interact with them in a safe environment. Bring the whole family and see all that Bramble Park Zoo has in store.
If you want to see a great art museum, take a two-hour drive south to Brookings and visit the South Dakota Art Museum. In addition to the many amazing exhibits you’ll find, the museum is also a major hub for performance art. Check the schedule online and see what kinds of events are happening in the theater.
When your Roy Lake State Park camping trip has reached its natural end, it will be time to grab some food and get your camper rental road-ready. Within 30 minutes of the park, you’ll find a handful of local cuisine including pizza and diner food. The closest gas stations are around a 30-minute drive away, so keep that in mind when it’s time to go. The closest major road is Highway 10, which can lead you to I-29. From here, head north towards North Dakota or south into the heart of America's Midwest.