South Dakota lakes offer a number of different activities for people who want to take a break from the city. Whether you like fishing, boating, or just lounging on the beach, there is something here for everyone, and there’s rarely a bad time to plan a South Dakota lake vacation. Many lakes are also conveniently located near national parks and other attractions that make it easy to plan your trip.
Within our listings we’ll help you find the best lakes for boating in South Dakota along with great spots for fishing. Some of the more popular species of fish in South Dakota include largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass, walleye, and yellow perch. Especially valuable is Big Stone Lake’s naturally reproducing walleye population, making it a destination for many serious fishermen.
We can also help you find the best South Dakota lakes for swimming if you want to take the family out for a day at the beach. Pack up your paddleboard and you can enjoy a day in the sun and then have a picnic at a nearby recreation area, which are common around many South Dakota lakes.
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For the outdoorsy types that love camping, hiking, and fishing, there are certainly lakeside getaways in South Dakota that will suit your needs. But, the beauty of the lakes in South Dakota is their diversity. We’ll walk you through some of our favorite destinations.
The best lakes to visit in South Dakota
If you love lakes and national parks, South Dakota is definitely the place for you. There are lakes all over the state that offer a number of different activities. Here are just a few examples:
Lake Oahe – This lake offers excellent fishing opportunities as well as great places to relax like the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area Beach. The lake is technically a large reservoir made by the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River and reaches a depth of over 200 feet. sits on a dam behind With a lakeshore this beautiful, it is no wonder so many people want to spend time there. In total, there are more than 50 recreation areas which makes it very tourist friendly while also offering camping, fishing, water sports, hiking, biking, bird watching and more.
Lake Andes – A peaceful lake perfect for boating and swimming with friends and family, If you have kids Lake Andes is very child-friendly with playgrounds near the beach which allow kids the opportunity to play in the sun and then run down to the beach to take a swim and cool off.
Big Stone Lake – This popular lakeside destination offers plenty of space for boating or other water sports, plus there is a nature area nearby where people can go bird-watching. Hartford Beach State Park offers a phenomenal beach complete with volleyball courts. You can camp at the state park (or stay in one of their cabins) and enjoy many activities like fishing, camping, and even archery!
East Vermillion Lake – Smaller than some of the other lakes on the list, East Vermillion Lake is a manmade lake located in McCook County and covers 512 acres, and is just west of Sioux Falls. This little gem is popular in the fall for sportsmen on the hunt for waterfowl.
Sylvan Lake – This lake is a wonderful place to go fishing or spend the day on the water with family and friends while you’re visiting the Black Hills. A picturesque landscape offers up many activities for visitors including boat rentals, hiking trails, and rock climbing. There are many options for nearby lodging as well to take in all of the activities the Black Hills have to offer.
Lake Poinsett – This large lake is home to Lake Poinsett State Park which is a great spot for a quiet getaway if you want to get out and do some fishing. Outdoor enthusiasts will have no shortage of activities as the lake is surrounded by many picnic areas, hiking trails, kayak tours, and a limited number of campsites.
South Dakota’s lakes offer a variety of experiences and can be found all across the state. Whether you want to spend your day at a local beach or plan a longer trip that involves hiking around one of South Dakota’s famous national parks, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. If you love spending time on the water, South Dakota has a little something for everyone.