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Hi Fellow Campers, we are going on a camping trip this August (2011) with our nes 32' fifth wheel to the Black Hills area of South Dakota. We want to stear clear of Sturgis since we are going the week before the motorcycle ralley. We would love to be near Deadwood. BUT the most important thing is that we stay at a nice, clean campground with full hook-ups that is family friendly and that has decent ammentities (pool for my daughter!). Does anyone have any recommendations as to what the BEST overall campground is in this area?? The RV park reviews are so "all over the place" as far as rartings and I don't know who to trust. PLEASE help us! Thank You, The O'Briens from Ohio
I highly recommend Rafter J Bar RV Park in Hill City. It has something for everyone. Three miles to Hill City, which has a "decent" grocery (you have to go to Rapid City for a Walmart), the vintage train ride and OK restaurants. It was my favorite campground in four months of camping last year. Pool, hot tub, playground, bicycle rentals (it's on the Mickelson Trail), laundry. You can hike into the state forest just by climbing over a gate. Different types of sites there - completely open, in the pines, up a hill, etc. Deer in the meadow in the mornings. Laundry, store and very nice park personnel. It's a historic site, also, and the scenery is beautiful (hills, hills, hills). Depending on which area you chose, there is cable and wi-fi. I can't wait to go back this year.
I agree completely with the previous post. We also stayed at and enjoyed Elkhorn Ridge RV Park listed in Spearfish, but it is quite different from Rafter J Bar. Rafter J is more like a "campground" while Elkhorn Ridge is more like an "RV park/resort." Both are very nice. It is just what type of place you prefer.
Jerry S
I have stayed at least half a dozen different Rv parks in the Black Hills area in recent years. Most of them (Deadwood KOA, Rapid City KOA, Elkhorn Ridge, and Chris's CG near Spearfish) fit your family friendly (playground and pool) requirement. Because of the "different strokes" aspect of judging RV parks, I would not recommend one over another. The aforementioned Rafter J may be better than any of those I've stayed at and enjoyed.

I do, however, want to warn you that in recent years the "Sturgis atmosphere" often starts well before the "official dates" of the rally and can hang on for an additional week afterwords.

Good luck and enjoy your trip.

I thought I would respond to your email inquiry on here for the benefit of others as well.

We stayed at the Mount Rushmore/Hill City KOA in 2007. We decided to go back to the Black Hills again this summer. Our children are now ages 5 & 7. I thought I'd research campgrounds again before making our reservations. Some good options I found were Spearfish KOA, Elkhorn Ridge RV Park, Rafter J Bar and the Palmer Gulch Mount Rushmore/Hill City KOA.

We were looking for campgrounds with a nice playground, a pool, activities and more. We settled on the Palmer Gulch Mount Rushmore/Hill City KOA again this trip. It appears they have added even more to it since our last visit. We reserved in the new section which seems to have more spacious sites; we appreciate the amenities of resorts more than the size of our site. We are not the type to sit around the campsite all day; we want to have plenty of options for activity. We also live in the country and don't see another house in any direction yet the close sites that many are bothered by are not an issue for us. I would never live that way but for a week, it's fine given all the options for activity the campground offers.

For the $6 per campsite per nite resort fee at MR/HC KOA you get a lot! This is taken from their website: "two heated pools, two spas, a waterslide, splash pad, gigantic Jumping Pillow and mini golf. Also available are bike rentals, golf cart rentals, guided horseback rides and chuck wagon dinners. Horse-drawn hayrides twice a week, nightly movies and live entertainment three nights a week round out the fun. Scavenger hunts, cartoons and crafts keep the kids entertained. Enjoy breakfast at the pancake tent, lunch at the snack bar and dinner at KOA's full-service restaurant."

In short, there are so many activities to do/sights to see around the Black Hills area that we don't end up with much idle time. We do plan specific days to just enjoy the campground features. Adults must try the jumping pillow also! You will not believe how much fun they really are--and great exercise too! There was not enough of a price difference between this resort and others with fewer amenities to not go with this one. Check out the specials on their website--we just got 15% off (I booked about March 2, 2011).

Enjoy the Black Hills!
QUOTE(wal1 @ Mar 6 2011, 09:23 PM) *
For the $6 per campsite per nite resort fee at MR/HC KOA you get a lot!
I'll bet he/she meant "$60".
I took that to mean a $6 add on resort fee, but you could be right since I think their rates are up around $65 per night.
Going a week before the Sturgis rally will not keep you out of the Rally. The bikes will be arriving that week and it will be crowded and very, very active. They don't just turn on a switch and the rally starts and stops.
We stayed at Rafter Bar J with our family and as noted above there was something for everyone. Located in the heart of the Black Hills area I don't think you can go wrong.
We are going to South Dekota also the 2nd week in August. have reservations at custers gulch.
any one stayed there?
We really loved the Broken Arrow Campground in Custer, SD. It is "very" close to Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mt. Rushmore. The campground is an RV Park and horse camp. The wildlife in the area is amazing!
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