Glamping South Dakota: Chic Nature Getaways in the Mount Rushmore State

Whether you want a weekend along the mighty Missouri River or an unplugged escape deep in the Black Hills, glamping in South Dakota is the way to go.

Camping is a cascade of tiny sensory pleasures. The crisp morning air and the rush of a quick river plunge are invigorating. The wind rustling the leaves and the soothing sounds of a babbling brook promote relaxation and ease. Gathering around a crackling fire and staring up at a blanket of stars sparks nostalgia, comfort, wonder.

Glamping (a blend of “glamorous” and “camping”) lets you enjoy the outdoors without the stress of selecting a campsite, pitching a tent or worrying about the weather. You’ll be able to connect with nature while still enjoying many of the comforts of home.

Glamping in South Dakota offers a variety of lodging options. You’ll find family-friendly cabins with outdoor pools in Sturgis, yurts and creekside saunas near Lead and chic safari tents with upscale amenities at Under Canvas Mount Rushmore. So whether you want a weekend along the mighty Missouri River or an unplugged escape deep in the Black Hills, glamping in South Dakota is the way to go.

Laid back luxury near Keystone

Under Canvas Mount Rushmore is an especially luxurious place to try glamping in South Dakota. The elegant, safari-style retreat is tucked into the ponderosa pines near Keystone, the most-visited heart of the Black Hills. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is just minutes away, plus Custer State Park and the craggy peaks and hairpin turns of Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway are easily accessible by car. Grab a healthy bag lunch and consult the guest experience coordinator to help you plan a day trip.

However, you might get so comfortable that you don’t want to leave. Canvas tents range from a romantic hideout for two to spacious four-person tents with private bathrooms. The tastefully appointed tents feature sleek furniture, organic bath products, light drenched interiors and outdoor sitting areas that spotlight the view. There’s even a skylight so you feel like you’re in the forest the minute you wake up.

The Under Canvas Mount Rushmore campus is designed to help you unplug, relax and explore. (USB battery packs for your phone are available if it’s just too hard to disconnect completely. )

Start your morning with bottomless coffee and savor fresh, locally sourced salads, fish and artfully arranged charcuterie boards in the sun-dappled outdoor patio. Complimentary activities like on-site nature walks, painting classes, yoga sessions, movie nights and s’mores around the bonfire help you soak in the landscape.

Under Canvas Mount Rushmore

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (834 reviews)

Waterfront recreation along the Missouri River

The Missouri River weaves through the central South Dakota prairie, captivating visitors with its wide, welcoming waters and storied history. It’s a favorite with anglers and water sports enthusiasts, as well as families looking for an accessible waterfront getaway. Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center at Cedar Shore caters to all three. You’ll find it perched on the riverbank, just outside Oacoma.

The water is the wellspring of warm weather fun. Spend the day floating in one of the resort’s river tubes or rent a pontoon for a sunset cruise or an early morning fishing trip. You can also bring your own boat and rent a slip in the marina. A paved, waterfront walking trail and outdoor pursuits like horseshoes, clay pigeon shooting, volleyball, basketball and tennis keep you close to the water. Even the indoor pool boasts floor-to-ceiling Missouri River views.

You don’t even need to leave the resort for meals. Bridges Restaurant serves hearty breakfast and dinner favorites daily, while the lounge serves up classic cocktails at night. The Waterfront Grill & Tiki Bar buzzes with activity as the sunset fades.

The River Ranch Cabin has three bedrooms and a living room with a sofa sleeper, so it’s a great choice for large groups. It also includes a full kitchen so you can prepare your own food.

Arrowwood Resort at Cedar Shore

8.1 Very good (2073 reviews)

Creekside beer, sauna and trail access in Lead

Whitetail Creek Resort is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. The restful treat is hidden in the pines of the northern Black Hills near Lead. It sits near Terry Peak, the area’s premier downhill skiing and snowboarding resort. Snowmobile and ATV trails start right on the grounds. Hikers, cyclists and horseback riders flock to the 109-mile George S. Mickelson Trail, and trail access is less than a mile from the resort.

Whitetail Creek runs along the length of the property, so the soothing sound of the burbling water is always within earshot. Curl up in a swing or hammock to soak in the serenity.

Take the relaxation to the next level (and soothe sore muscles after a long day on the trail) with a session in one of the four-person barrel saunas. Enjoy a drink and a game of cribbage at the seasonal beer bar in the pavilion or pull an Adirondack chair up to the fire pit.

The log cabins are rustic on the outside, yet comfortable and modern inside. They sleep two to four people and are furnished with a microwave, refrigerator and a television, as well as heat, air conditioning and a private bathroom. Creekside camping cabins include furniture, electricity, a deck and shared bathroom facilities. You can rent bedding and linens for an additional $15.

Three seasonal yurts provide a new glamping South Dakota experience for nature lovers to try. Each yurt includes a queen-size bed, chairs, a front deck and an exclusive fire pit.

Whitetail Creek Resort

9.0 Excellent (435 reviews)

Swim and dine while glamping in Strugis

Sturgis is famous for its motorcycle rally during first two weeks of August. But for the other 50 weeks of the year, this tiny western South Dakota town just north of the Black Hills National Forest is best known for Bear Butte State Park. Climb to the summit for views of four states (North DakotaNebraska and Wyoming, as well as South Dakota) or go hiking, boating or fishing on the grounds.

No Name City Luxury Cabins & RV, LLC provides easy access to everything. Cabins boast sleek wood interiors and sleep two to eight guests. Some have private bathrooms. Even the economy cabins are equipped with refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots and televisions for a quiet night in. Multi-room luxury cabins also include a deck, a full kitchen with an induction stove, air conditioning and cable TV.

If you don’t feel like cooking, there’s a restaurant and bar located right on the grounds serving burgers, steaks and other pub food favorites starting at five every night. It’s also open for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.

The heated pool and hot tub are a popular gathering place for guests of all ages, while the playground is a magnet for kids. Spending the evening around the fire pit is a time-honored summer tradition.

No Name City Luxury Cabins & Rv, LLC

8.4 Very good (464 reviews)

Affordable canvas tent camping and cabins just off I-90

Glamping in South Dakota is easy and affordable at Days End Campgrounds and RV Park. You’ll find these laid-back, seasonal accommodations right on the outskirts of Sturgis, just north of the Black Hills National Forest.

Try canvas tent camping to rough it in style. Accommodations are modest, but comfortable – two twin beds, linens, basic furniture and a 110-volt electrical outlet.

For a few more amenities (including heat and air conditioning), choose from 30 camping cabins with shared bathroom facilities and nine cabins with private bathrooms. They feature rustic wood interiors, a kitchen with a coffee maker, microwave and fridge and a patio seating area. Larger parties can book the Main Cabin, which includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a washer and dryer. Grills and picnic tables are available throughout the grounds.

Spend the day hiking, boating and fishing in Bear Butte State Park, a quiet spot with scenic views that’s also a sacred site for Native Americans. Or head into town to visit the Sturgis Car Museum and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Then take the 17-mile scenic drive from Sturgis to Vonocker Canyon. The winding road weaves through aspen, juniper and ponderosa pine.

Days End Campground

8.6 Excellent (430 reviews)

Family friendly cabins in Hill City

Spring Creek Inn is just a mile outside Hill City, so you won’t have to go far after a long day of sightseeing. Spend a leisurely day strolling through the art galleries, boutiques, and wineries in Hill City or hop on the historic 1880 Train for a picturesque ride through the Black Hills. The famous faces of Mount Rushmore are just a few minutes away.

Choose from a snug cottage, a cozy cabin or a two story chalet with an airy loft space. These options sleep as many as eight people and include televisions, private bathrooms (some with tubs) and kitchenettes, so dining in or making lunches for day trips is a snap. Every cottage, cabin and chalet has a private deck so you can savor your morning coffee or enjoy a meal in the sunshine.

You can even catch your own dinner – Spring Creek is bursting with trout and located just steps from your lodging. There are several lakes within driving distance too. Serve up your catch for dinner using the charcoal and gas grills on the grounds.

Hiking and ATV trails start just across the street. The campground’s big backyard holds a basketball court, volleyball net, horseshoe pits, a playground for the kids and an outdoor fireplace.

Spring Creek Inn

Hill City
8.8 Excellent (102 reviews)