7 Best Campgrounds in Badlands National Park, SD
Author Brad Lane has enjoyed a few reporting trips throughout South Dakota and always includes the Badlands on his itineraries.
Camping in the Badlands of South Dakota is the best way to experience the stark beauty of this rugged national park, located 60 miles east of Mount Rushmore and Black Hills National Forest. Big buttes, colorful spires, and plenty of overlooks define any visit to the Badlands, and a stellar starry night sky often accompanies a camping trip.
Badlands National Park has two established campgrounds: the Cedar Pass Campground and Sage Creek Campground. But several other camping options are outside of the park and within a short drive. Campers find more amenities at these commercial campgrounds and more spaces to park an RV.
Find the best overnight option for your next trip to South Dakota with our list of best campgrounds near Badlands National Park.
- 1. Cedar Pass Campground
- 2. Sage Creek Campground
- 3. Badlands Interior Motel and Campground
- 4. Badlands/White River KOA
- 5. Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park
- 6. Lake Park Campground & Cottages
- 7. Lake Park Campground & Cottages
- Places to Stay near Badlands National Park
- Map of Campgrounds in Badlands National Park, SD
- Badlands National Park - Climate Chart
1. Cedar Pass Campground
Cedar Pass Campground is one of two campgrounds in Badlands National Park. It's the more accessible campground and is near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center at the eastern edge of the Badlands Loop State Scenic Highway. This campground has 96 sites split between tent camping sites and level RV parking pads. Badlands buttes and spires are on full display from each site, giving quite the view come sunset.
The Cedar Pass Campground has pay showers, flushing toilets, shaded picnic tables, and potable water. The Cedar Pass Lodge and Restaurant is within walking distance of the campground and welcomes all visitors with a hot meal, extra camping supplies, and some handmade memorabilia. The Cedar Pass Lodge also manages reservations for the campground.
The Cedar Pass Campground is open seasonally, between approximately April through October, with only four group sites available during the winter off-season. It's a sun-drenched landscape come summer, and the campground provides shade structures for tent campers.
Many other attractions of the park are within a short driving distance of Cedar Pass Campground. With less than a 10-minute drive, campers at Cedar Pass can reach iconic trailheads like the Notch, Window, and Castle Trails.
Address: 20681 SD-240, Interior, South Dakota
2. Sage Creek Campground
Sage Creek Campground is the second campground within Badlands National Park. It's on the west side of the park's North Unit and is a primitive campground that is free to use and can provide the most authentic Badlands camping experience, including often roaming bison nearby.
Sage Creek is best suited for tent camping and small camper units with limited room to park larger rigs. And the campground is off Sage Creek Road, a dirt road that prohibits motor homes and larger camper vehicles from making the drive. The park service will temporarily close the road after wet weather.
Overnight visitors to Sage Creek need to pack in potable water, food, and camping equipment. The campground is only equipped with vault toilets, a few shaded picnic tables, and plenty of space to pitch a tent.
The campground has 22 sites, though there's room for more. Overcrowding has been an issue in the past few years. The National Park Service has considered implementing new regulations and/or fees.
With the vibrant beauty and communal aspect of the primitive camping, the Sage Creek Campground is not only the best camping option in the Badlands, but it is also one of the best campgrounds in South Dakota.
Address: Sage Creek Rim Road, Wall, South Dakota
3. Badlands Interior Motel and Campground
The Badlands Interior Motel and Campground is one mile outside the southern Interior Entrance of Badlands National Park and is a convenient place to stay right outside the entrance gates. The campground features tent sites, RV pull-through parking spots, camping cabins, and a 22-unit motel. Badlands Interior also features established teepees.
All guests at the Badlands Interior Motel and Campground have access to the restaurant, store, swimming pool, and full-service restroom facilities. While all the overnight options at the Badlands Interior Motel come with a great view, the tent sites are located on the outer edge of the campground, offering more expansive views of the jagged horizon in the distance.
This campground operates seasonally, typically between April 1st through the second week of October. The nearby small town of Interior offers basic amenities, like camping supplies and a couple of restaurants.
Address: 900 SD-377, Interior, South Dakota
4. Badlands/White River KOA
Filled with activities, amenities, and plenty of shaded camping spots, the Badlands/White River KOA is the perfect home base for exploring the rugged Badlands environment. This KOA is less than a five-mile drive from the Interior Entrance of Badlands National Park and just a short drive to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center from there.
Visitor favorites at the Badlands KOA include nature walks, mini-golf, and taking a dip in the pool during the hot summer days. The Badlands/White River KOA can even do the cooking for you, with full-time cooks in the kitchen from Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend.
With more than 100 sites available, ranging from non-electric tent sites to full-service RV hookups, all campers are welcome here. Overnight visitors share access to a restroom and laundry facilities, as well as a convenience store that sells camping goods.
Address: 20720 SD Highway 44, Interior, South Dakota
5. Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park
Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park is within the city of Wall next to the world-famous Wall Drug — the tourist magnet and roadside attraction advertised up and down the interstate. This convenient commercial campground is within a 10-mile drive of the Pinnacles Entrance of Badlands National Park.
The campground provides a plethora of comfortable overnight options. It has a dedicated tenting area and nearly 60 pull-through sites for RVs. All overnight visitors to Sleepy Hollow share access to showers, laundry facilities, and quiet surroundings.
Wall Drug, in operation since 1931, has drawn millions of tourists to the area each year. The campground is less than a five-minute walk to Wall Drug. Other attractions nearby include the Wounded Knee Museum and the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.
Address: 118 W 4th Avenue, Wall, South Dakota
6. Lake Park Campground & Cottages
Lake Park Campgrounds & Cottages is in Rapid City, one hour west of the Pinnacles Entrance of Badlands National Park. Depending on which direction you are traveling, this family-friendly campground is either the perfect end to a Badlands adventure, or just the beginning.
The campground has tent sites and RV pull-through parking spots. It also provides cozy cottages that range from studios to three bedrooms. All overnight users at Lake Park Campground share access to flushing toilets, hot showers, and 24-hour laundry facilities.
The adjacent Canyon Lake and Rapid Creek define much of the campground and recreation, providing excellent trout fishing and scenic views. The campground also provides complimentary bike rentals, and the staff is always happy to point people in the right direction for some adventure.
Address: 2850 Chapel Ln, Rapid City, South Dakota
7. Lake Park Campground & Cottages
Minute Man RV Park is less than a 10-mile drive from the Northeast Entrance of Badlands National Park and the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. It offers RV spots and tent camping, all sharing access to showers, flushing restrooms, and a laundry facility. All RV sites include electricity and water, and a few have sewer. Wi-Fi is also available to every overnight guest.
The campground is named after the nearby Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. This Cold War-era facility housed nuclear missiles, ready at the instant to respond to a similar threat. Visitors today tour three facilities at this National Historic Site, including the missile silo that could have sparked a nuclear world war.
Address: 21295 SD-240, Philip, South Dakota
Places to Stay near Badlands National Park
Most of the overnight accommodations are in the neighboring town of Wall, located just north of the Pinnacles Entrance of the park. Including the few options found in the towns of Interior and Kadoka, almost all hotel options near Badlands National Park fall in the mid-range category, meaning you'll get a comfortable stay for a great price.
Map of Campgrounds in Badlands National Park, SD
Badlands National Park - Climate Chart
|Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Badlands National Park, SD in °C|
|1 -14||4 -11||9 -6||16 1||22 7||27 12||32 16||31 14||25 8||17 1||7 -7||2 -13|
|Average monthly precipitation totals for Badlands National Park, SD in mm.|
|Average monthly snowfall totals for Badlands National Park, SD in cm.|
|Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Badlands National Park, SD in °F|
|33 6||39 12||49 21||60 33||71 44||81 54||89 60||87 57||77 46||63 33||45 19||36 9|
|Average monthly precipitation totals for Badlands National Park, SD in inches.|
|Average monthly snowfall totals for Badlands National Park, SD in inches.|
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More Camping in South Dakota: For an addition to a Badlands National Park adventure, the Black Hills National Forest beckons nearby. The Black Hills are filled with stunning natural and man-made attractions, including Jewel Cave, Custer State Park, and Mount Rushmore. Our best campgrounds around Mount Rushmore article can help you find the perfect camping spot here. For a broader look at places to pitch a tent or park an RV in south Dakota, our guide to places to camp in South Dakota will have you roasting marshmallows over the fire in no time.
More Places to Visit in South Dakota: In addition to the Badlands and Black Hills, South Dakota is home to many other rich environments worth exploring. Our best state and national parks in South Dakota article can point you in the direction of some new places to add to your travel bucket list. If it's city life you are seeking for your next South Dakota vacation, see our articles on Deadwood and Sioux Falls. Both cities draw inspiration from their natural surroundings, and each one has unique lodging options, ranging from campgrounds to luxurious overnight stays.