Custer State Park is the perfect destination for your next family vacation as well as a playground for any outdoor adventurist. With 71,000 acres of land in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park has tons of things to do including epic camping, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, swimming in beautiful lakes, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, boating, and great fishing. In the winter, it’s a great destination for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
How many times will I make the assumption that a place will disappoint only to completely be awestruck by its uniqueness and originality? Custer State Park will certainly go on this list. I’ve written a few blogs now on South Dakota and have mentioned several times that South Dakota has been low on our radar. I assumed that since it isn’t home to any large mountain ranges, it can’t be that pretty. I was wrong.
Custer State Park and the majority of the Black Hills actually reminded me a lot of our visit to Germany a few years ago. The dark forest broken up with meadows and crystal blue streams makes for a gorgeous backdrop.
But what makes Custer State Park itself unique and something you should move higher up on your radar is the amount of wildlife, the lack of crowds, and the abundance of adventures to be had here.
Entrance Fees + Visitor Centers at Custer State Park
You need to purchase a license when entering the park. It’s only $20 and is good for 7 consecutive days. The park is open year-round and winter can be a great time to explore the area. We happened to be here right after COVID and so the visitor center and wildlife station were closed, however, normally the Visitor Center is open year-round (except for major holidays). The Wildlife Station, which is located on the Wildlife Loop, and the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center, near the Game Lodge, are both open Memorial Day through September.
Tips To Help You Plan Your Visit to Custer State Park
Food is limited inside Custer State Park, however, the town of Custer is only 20 miles away and has a grocery store and restaurants. We loved eating at Custer Wolf.
We had very limited cell service in the park (we have T-Mobile though). Ironically, we did have service out on the Wildlife Loop Road but nothing in the main section of the park between the Game Lodge and the Wildlife Loop turn off.