South Dakota offers incredible glacial lakes and prairies leading to mountains near Sioux Falls as well as the Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraskan borders.
No matter what activities and adventures you seek, the state will provide everything from native history to rugged beauty.
We have found the most beautiful parks nearby with camping, swimming, hunting, and wildlife watching options.
Take a look at the excellent opportunities each provides for you to explore nature in all its grandeur, and then plan an excursion that suits you best.
Map of State Parks Near Sioux Falls SD
Here is a map of the South Dakota state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Sioux Falls
Here are each of those state parks with their distance from Sioux Falls and what to expect when you visit each one.
1. Good Earth State Park
Location: 26742-26500 Baker Park Pl, Sioux Falls, SD 57108
You will find the newest state park named Good Earth, just a few miles southeast of Sioux Falls. It’s an important cultural and historical site with a gorgeous retreat spot at Blood Run, a national historic landmark. Blood Run, a few miles southeast of Sioux Falls and spanning the Big Sioux River in Iowa and South Dakota. Learn about Native Americans from hundreds of years ago, along with abundant wildlife and beautiful fertile lands.
Accessible hiking routes make their way through the grounds of Good Earth State Park, with picturesque views strewn about along with burial mounds and earthen enclosures. Spend time taking in the sights and sounds of wildlife, the river, and the lovely scenery to experience nature at its best. Exhibits and activities focusing on the cultural and historical value of the Blood Run site are found in an 11,000 square foot visitor center.
While the camp does not offer camping, it does offer a wonderful place to visit the outdoors. Spend your day birdwatching, biking, fishing, geocaching, hiking, and snowshoeing. It’s just eight dollars a day per vehicle, or you can get an annual pass for frequent visits. Finally, the park is open year-round with playgrounds, picnic tables, and much more.
2. Palisades State Park
Location: 25495 485th Ave, Garretson, SD 57030
Palisades State Park is a one-of-a-kind spot in South Dakota, about twenty miles from Sioux Falls. Sioux quartzite formations range from shelves several feet above the water to 50-foot sheer cliffs along Split Rock Creek, which runs through the park. Palisades is a famous vacation spot because of its scenic views and rushing water. Campers, photographers, sightseers, picnickers, rock climbers, and hikers frequent the park.
While the park holds the second smallest size in the state, it makes up with incredible vies and urban legends. Add in over thirty campsites, six cabins, and a group lodge to spread out the excitement for a few days. Two of the cabins are handicap accessible, adding to the many amenities. The park also offers a playground, volleyball, horseshoes, picnic shelters, fishing, and trails. However, the main attraction is rock climbing among the cliffs and formation by the Split Rock Creek.
Make sure to visit the bridge going over the rocky water terrain. The trails are steep, leading to the creek, but you can find easier trails nearby and quiet places to sit and reflect on the surrounding beauty. Find trails offering views of magnificent rock formations, woodland critters such as raccoons, turkeys, and whitetail deer, as well as possible signs of beaver activity. End the day at the meadows of Split Rock Creek Trail are abundant with songbirds and seasonal wildflowers.
3. Newton Hills State Park
Location: 28767 482nd Ave, Canton, SD 57013
Visit Newton Hills State Park southeast of Sioux Falls by Lake Lakota and the Big Sioux River bordering Iowa. The park includes a rich history along with rolling hills and woodland was formed by glaciers and is part of the Coteau des Prairie geological formation. Woodland Indian Culture inhabited this region thousands of years ago, according to artifacts and burial mounds discovered near the park. The area’s unusual dark woodland, set in the middle of a huge open prairie, make for a unique landscape ready to impress everyone.
Bring your hunting gear as the park includes hundreds of birds, deer, marmots, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, and turkeys. Next, head to the trails through dense oak and basswood for a shady trail leading to the campground. From there, try out various outdoor activities, including boating, biking, picnicking, swimming, sports, and snowshoeing.
The park costs eight dollars per vehicle and campsites start at twenty-two with options for primitive, electrical, cabins, and a group lodge. Spend your days fishing for bass, catfish, perch, and panfish after searching for artifacts left by the Native Americans or enjoying a local festival. Lastly, an observation tower provides epic views ready to turn your trip into a haven.
4. Union Grove State Park
Location: 308th St, Beresford, SD 57004
You can visit Union Grove State Park, straight south of Sioux Falls, under fifty miles away. The park offers a tranquil atmosphere with lush-grown native woods. Brule Creek offers several miles of forest route for horseback riders, hikers, cyclists, and cross-country skiers. In addition, the variety of birds attracted by the trees and plants will keep botanists and birdwatchers occupied for hours.
Enjoy the campgrounds with electrical and primitive camping options, all with good shade. The horse camp is an excellent foundation for a weekend of riding, and campers like the calm, well-shaded tents. Stay in the fall to watch the leaves change colors and enjoy an autumn festival. While the park does not offer a huge selection of water activities but provides rolling hills and wildlife, including wild turkeys and other smaller animals.
Hikers of all types flock to Union Grove to explore the multi-use paths on foot, bike, horseback, or even skis in the winter. Though hiking is one of the most popular activities here, the park’s 500 acres provide plenty of space to get away from the city and reconnect with nature. However, keep in mind that the park is open to hunters, so use caution and stick to the main hiking paths during hunting season.
5. Lake Herman State Park
Location: 23409 State Park Dr, Madison, SD 57042
Head northwest for about fifty miles to Lake Herman State Park for a relaxing vacation by the water. The area offers a trio of lakes, including Madison and Brant, close to the state university. Melting glaciers created the lakes thousands of years ago, providing various outdoor and water activities. While there, you can visit a historic cabin built in 1871 along with tons of nature on a little peninsula overlooking the water.
The park offers tons of amenities, including camping, boating, fishing, and cross-country skiing are among the park’s most popular activities. Wildlife can be seen in the native oak woodlands and prairie grasslands, home to various birds and animals. Rentals of canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as fishing poles, are available.
For hundreds of years, Lake Herman has been a favorite camping spot for Native Americans before European settlers arrived. Lake Herman State Park is a wonderful spot with a lot of history, exciting shorelines, recreational activities, and 72 back-in campsites with electric hookups for motorhomes. Spend your trip out on the water, playing games, and enjoying historical sites for a special treat far away from all your cares and worries.
6. Oakwood Lakes State Park
Location: 20247 S Oakwood Shoreline Dr, Bruce, SD 57220
While a little farther out at just over seventy miles from Sioux Falls, Oakwood Lakes State Park offers a swimming beach, hiking trails, a horse camp, and much more. This park, which comprises eight interconnected glacial lakes, offers a never-ending range of activities all year long, from hiking and swimming to ice fishing and cross-country skiing. With eight connected lakes, you can spend weeks exploring or spend a single day exploring all the area has to offer.
Long ago, the park was an annual gathering spot for Native Americans and now offers over 100 primitive, electric sites, and cabins for campers. At only eight dollars per vehicle, you can enjoy nature without breaking the bank. Often the park serves as a summer camp in nicer weather, although it’s open year-round.
At the park, you will find a beautiful disc golf course, a visitor center with great archaeological and historical exhibits, an amphitheater where interpretive events are held. There’s enough to do even when the winter winds are sweeping across the plains. At Oakwood Lakes, ice fishing and cross-country skiing are popular activities. Follow the three main trails to visit historical sites and make the most of your vacation.