• Tammy Bashore

Camping at West Bend Recreation Area in South Dakota

Camping season is almost here! Is anyone else as excited as I am!? I can already smell the campfires and feel the sunshine on my face!!! But, until the weather decides to cooperate here in South Dakota, I will just have to dream about camping adventures past. Which is why I wanted to share this gem of a campground with you!


West Bend Recreation Area is located in central South Dakota, right along the Missouri River. It is also one of the South Dakota State Parks that is along the Lewis and Clark Trail! How cool is that??!

West Bend Recreation Area features a boat ramp, fish cleaning station, playground, 4 camping cabins, over 100 campsites, bike trails, hiking trails, and a swim beach. This is the perfect location for that quiet weekend getaway and is known for great fishing as well!


Campground #1 seems to be the area that is busiest, and rightfully so. This area has direct access to the water and swim beach - in fact for some of the sites, the beach is literally out your back camper door. Can you just imagine leaving the windows open on your camper, or sleeping in a tent, and listening to the sound of the waves as you sleep!? YES PLEASE! So if you love a lively atmosphere where you get to know your neighbors, this is the area you will want to reserve your campsite.

Campground #3 seemed to be the quietest area with the least amount of campsites booked during my visit. This allowed people to be more spread out and feel like they had more of the campground to themselves. You are surrounded by trees on all sides and overhead, which gives your campsites much shade from the summer heat. Highly recommend this area for a more peaceful and restful camping experience. However, please notice on the map below, that this area does not have direct shower access. So if you will be needing showers, you will have to walk, or drive, to the nearest showers in campgrounds 1 or 2.

The boat ramp, with lots of parking available, and playground are centrally located and easily walkable from anywhere in the campground. One of the best things about the West Bend Recreation Area is the size - it is just small enough that it feels remote and quaint, but with all the amenities of the larger campgrounds.


Who's ready to go camping!? Are you a tent camper or do you prefer the luxury that an RV provides?

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