Custer State Park Camping Guide

If you want to have the best camping experience, then Custer State Park is a must-visit destination for you. The park is located in Custer, South Dakota. It is none less than a paradise for someone who loves nature and camping. Custer Park Camping is the best way to experience the scenic beauty of nature. Here, we have covered everything you need to know about the park. Keep reading further to know more.

What is Custer State Park known for?

Custer State Park is nestled in South Dakota, US. It is the first as well as the largest park in the state which is named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The park was established in 1912 and covers a huge area of about 71,000 acres. It comes under the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks (GFP).

Custer State Park is very famous for its beautiful landscape and scenic drives through the Needles Highway and the wildlife loop. It is home to many wild animals including elk, coyotes, mule deer, river otters, pronghorns, whitetail deer, cougars to name a few. The park is known for its huge bison population. There are about 1500 free-roaming bison which you can easily spot roaming here and there in the park.

You will be amazed to know that many popular movies including The Last Hunt (1956), How the West Was Won (1962) and A Man Called Horse (1970) have been filmed in Custer State Park. Further, the former president of U.S. Calvin Coolidge also stayed in the park along with his wife for several weeks during 1927.

These facts are enough to give a clear idea about the popularity and authenticity of the Custer State Park. It offers visitors an interesting and memorable camping experience.

What is the best time of year to go for Custer Park Camping?

Although, Custer State Park remains open all year round. But, the weather is everything. In order to have the best camping experience, you should plan it in the weather that suits you the most. Also, the park gets flooded in the holiday season. So, if you are planning your trip around this time, then book your stay in advance. Apart from it, September is considered the best month to visit the park. The weather is beautiful and pleasant at that time. Also, there will be less rush as schools start at this time.

If you like slightly cool weather then, you can plan your trip from mid to late June. This is the ideal time to go camping. The weather conditions during this time are suitable for hiking and trailing.

It begins to get hotter from late June. But despite the hot temperatures, many tourists prefer July to visit the Black Hills. In August, the temperatures are little less than in July.

If you’re someone who doesn’t prefer to be in crowded places, then you can plan your trip either in May or October. During this time, the weather is unpredictable. It can be sunny or it could snow. Nothing can be said. Due to this reason, the park has very few visitors at that time. So, the good idea is to always check the weather forecast before heading to the part at this time.


What campsites are there?

The Custer State Park includes a number of beautiful campsites and campgrounds. Read the below section to know about the best campgrounds.

BlueBell Campground

Bluebell campgrounds top the list of best campgrounds in the park. It is located in a ponderosa pine forest close to the French Creek. It can accommodate the largest number of tents and RV’s. You can enjoy trout fishing, horse riding. The campground has a lot more to offer than just a plain under the pine trees. The other facilities in Bluebell Campground include a well-facilitated restaurant, Chuckwagon Cookouts, fishing licenses, resort cabins, horse riding etc.

Centre Lake Campground

It is nestled above the Centre Lake near the ponderosa pines. It generally accommodates smaller tents and RV’s. These campsites are available on the basis of same day booking. You will also find a boat dock to have the best boating and fishing experience. Moreover, there is also a swimming beach.

The French Creek Natural Area

It is a 19 km long hiking trail that is known to provide the best scenic beauty and top-notch hiking. The visitors get the opportunity to experience the breathtaking views of nature, birds and wild animals. You can find buffaloes and bison almost everywhere.

French Creek Horse Camp

If you want to take your own horse to the campsite. You can do so easily without thinking twice. The Horse Camp is located near the Bluebell Lodge and is specially designed for campers with horses. It includes two corrals and costs about $40 per night. You can also book a cabin for $55 per night.

Sylvan Lake Campground

Sylvan Lake Campground is the highest campground in Custer State Park. It is one of the most popular and beautiful sites in the park. Visitors get the excellent opportunity for swimming, kayaking, canoeing and fishing. If you love fishing then, it is the perfect place for you.

You can check more about the camping sites from here.

Should you go camping at Custer State Park?

If you want to spend some leisure time in the lap of nature while having some wonderful camping experience, then Custer State Park is the best destination for you. You can do a number of activities, from hiking in the trails to fishing and crazy horseback riding. You can capture the beauty of nature and the freely roaming animals if you are interested in wildlife photography.

Custer State Park offers everything you can ask for a wonderful camping location. No amount of time spent there is enough time. Even a seven-day trip is a little time to explore the huge park.

Moreover, the park has super affordable prices. So, you need not worry about your pockets while camping. All you need to do is to plan your trip well and book your stay in advance along with the other necessary reservations. So, what are you waiting for, pack your hiking boots, a pair of binoculars, a camera maybe and you’re good to have your best-ever camping experience.

Wrap up

Custer National Park is the best place to enjoy the true essence of nature. You can spend days exploring nature and can have the opportunity to lie beneath the sky full of stars. Well, who doesn’t want that? If you love camping and adventures or even looking for a calm place to hang out with your family or friends, Custer State Park is a must-visit.

Happy Custer Park Camping!

Article Author
Sean's an avid camper, kayaker, and RVer. He loves spending time finding new trails and campsites to take his family and friends.