Located an hour east of the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota’s Badlands National Park offers a jaw-dropping geological display for you to drive through. The Badlands National Park, with its grand buttes, colorful spires, and plenty of views, stands tall in the prairie setting. To experience as much of this rugged environment as possible, it is recommended to stay more than a few nights at one of the nearby campsites. Whether you want to feel the solitude at the Sage Creek Campground or enjoy the pool at the Badlands/White River KOA, you can experience for yourself the wonders of camping in the Badlands of South Dakota.
1 Sage Creek Campground
Located on the west side of the North Unit of Badlands National Park, the Sage Creek Campground is a primitive campground free to use and can offer the most authentic Badlands camping experience. Not only is the park’s resident buffalo likely to stop at the campground, but with no nearby amenities, it’s easy to get a good sense of the rugged environment that defines the area. With the vibrant beauty and communal aspect of 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.
Overnight visits to Sage Creek should pack in drinking water, food, and camping equipment, as the campground is only equipped with vault toilets, a few shaded picnic tables, and plenty of room to pitch a tent. Best suited for tent camping and small RV unitsthe Sage Creek Campground offers plenty of outlets for hiking, exploring and appreciating the wide open Badlands environment.
Official site: https://www.nps.gov/badl/planyourvisit/camping.htm
Read also: Campgrounds in South Lake Tahoe
2Cedar Pass Campground
Sage Creek and Cedar Pass make up the two national park campgrounds in the Badlands, and while Sage Creek is primitive and offers quite the drive to access, Cedar Pass Campground has more amenities and offers easier access to the parks. Of all 96 campgrounds at Cedar Pass Campground, Badlands buttes and spires are fully rendered. In addition to the great views from the campground, Cedar Pass is located near the Ben Reifel Visitor Centre and the eastern edge of the Badlands Loop State Scenic Highwaymaking exploring beyond the campsite easy.
Suitable for both tent campers and RV drivers, the Cedar Pass Campground features pay showers, flush toilets, and covered picnic tables, with water nearby. Within walking distance of the campsite, the Cedar Pass Lodge and Restaurant welcomes all visitors and can provide a hot meal, extra camping supplies and some handmade memorabilia. The Cedar Pass Campground is open seasonally, with only the four group sites available during the off-season, but no matter what time of year you visit, the sunset over the nearby Badlands countryside is the best time to be here.
Official site: https://www.nps.gov/badl/planyourvisit/camping.htm
3 Badlands Interior Motel and Campground
Located just 1 mile outside the entrance to the interior of Badlands National Park, Badlands Interior Motel and Campground features a tent and established Tipi sites, drive-through parking for RVs, camping cabins, and a 22-unit motel. However you choose to stay, all guests at the Badlands Interior Motel and Campground have access to the restaurant, shop, swimming pooland full service toilet facilities. While all lodging options at the Badlands Interior Motel offer great views, the tent sites are located on the outer edge of the campground and offer more expansive vistas of the jagged horizon in the distance.
Address: 900 SD-377, Interior, South Dakota
Official Site: https://www.badlandsinteriorcampground.com/
4 Badlands/White River KOA
Full of activities, amenities and plenty shady camping spots, the Badlands/White River KOA is the perfect home base for exploring the rugged Badlands area. Visitor favorites at the Badlands KOA include nature walks, mini golfand take 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 over 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 toilet and washing facilities, as well as a convenience store who sells camping equipment.
Address: 20720 SD Highway 44, Interior, South Dakota
Official Site: https://koa.com/campgrounds/badlands/
5 Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park
Located in the town of Wall, next to the world-famous Wall Drug, Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park offers easy access to the area’s top attractions and offers a plethora of comfortable overnight accommodations. The park features a dedicated tent area and nearly 60 RV pull-throughs, and all overnight visitors to Sleepy Hollow share access to showers, laundry facilities, and the quiet environment. Other attractions near Sleepy Hollow include Wounded Knee the Museum, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Siteand the Pinnacles Entrance of Badlands National Park, giving you full days of adventure and a good night’s sleep.
Address: 118 W 4th Ave, Wall, South Dakota
Official Site: https://www.sleepyhollowcampgroundsd.com/
6 Lake Park Campground & Cottages
Lake Park Campground and Cottages is an hour’s drive from the Pinnacles Entrance or Badlands, depending on which direction you’re heading, whether the perfect end to a Badlands adventure, or just the beginning. Lake Park Campground also offers tent sites and RV drive-through parking cozy cottages, ranging from studios to three bedrooms. Decisive for a large part of the campsite and the space, the adjacent Canyon Lake and Rapid Creek offer excellent trout fishing and scenic views. All overnight users of Lake Park Campground share access to flush toilets, hot showers, and 24-hour laundry facilities, as well as bike rental and a staff that is always happy to direct people in the right direction for a good adventure.
Address: 2850 Chapel Ln, Rapid City, South Dakota
Official Site: https://www.lakeparkcampground.com/
Hotels near Badlands National Park
Most accommodation options are in the neighboring town Wall, just north of the Pinnacles Entrance of the park. Including the few options found in the cities Interior and Kadokaalmost all hotel options near Badlands National Park fall under the mid-range category, which means you’ll get a comfortable stay at a great price.
- Hotels in Wall: All of Wall’s hotels and inns can be found within blocks of each other, resulting in competitive prices wherever you go. The Best Western Plains Motel on Glen Street offers clean and comfortable guestrooms, as well as free breakfast and access to the indoor and outdoor pools. Also on Glen Street, Super 8 Wall and Econo Lodge Wall offer affordable rates, spacious rooms, and quick access to nearby restaurants. A little further south of town, America’s Best Value Inn offers free parking, a comfortable cafeteria, and a large pool to help you cool off during the day.
- Other hotel options: For other options outside of the town of Wall, the Budget Host Sundowner in Kadoka, 20 miles east of the northeast entrance to Badlands National Park, can make for a pleasant stay. In each spacious room, the hotel offers comfortable beds, air conditioning and free broadband internet access. In the town of Interior, the Badlands Interior Motel and Campground offers 22 spacious motel rooms, in addition to the camping options, with access to a pool, convenience store, and wide-open environment.
Other Places to Stay in South Dakota
For an addition to a Badlands National Park adventure, the Black Hills National Forest beckons nearby, with beautiful 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.
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’re looking for on your next South Dakota vacation, check out our articles on Deadwood and Sioux Falls. Both cities are inspired by their natural surroundings and each has unique accommodations, ranging from campsites to luxurious overnight stays.