If you’re passing through South Dakota along I-90 (the main east-west highway in southern South Dakota), there’s a great little boondocking location right off the highway and along the Missouri River.

It’s called the Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area.

Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

This location is a very convenient stopover for a night if you’re heading east or west in South Dakota.

It’s located between Sioux Falls and Rapid City. The site is about two hours west of Sioux Falls and about three hours east of Rapid City, so makes a great campsite location if you’re in between these two cities.

See below for directions and amenities available at this location.

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Boondocking in our Airstream along the Missouri River in South Dakota
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Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area Sign

This site is located in the Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area in Chamberlain, South Dakota. The address is County Highway 6, Chamberlain, SD 57325, as seen on the map below. Click on the map to get more detailed directions from Google Maps.

We stayed here In August 2018 and found it to be clean, safe, and convenient. When we stayed the night, there was one Class A and one campervan staying as well. We were very spread out, so there’s plenty of room in this pretty area. We parked right by the Missouri River for the night which made for a relaxing experience.

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Wildflowers at Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

Coyotes in the Area

Right after sunset and into the night, we heard a bunch of coyotes nearby. It made for an interesting experience as we could tell they were very close by.  A house nearby had dogs and the dogs started barking like crazy. If you come here with pets (especially small dogs), it would be very important to keep them indoors or on a leash near you at all times. We travel with our cat in the Airstream and he was incredibly freaked out by the coyote howls, even though we never let him outside.


There’s not much in the way of amenities at this location, as it is boondocking. There is a pit toilet and a dumpster for your trash.

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Pit toilet and dumpster at Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

The lot is gravel and fairly level, so parking is easy.

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Level gravel parking lot at Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

There are also some picnic tables by trees for shade.

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Picnic area at Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

Things to Do

We only stayed overnight, so don’t have much to report about what there is to do in the area. However, if you have a boat, you can launch it into the Missouri River right at this location as there is a boat launch next to the parking area. While we visited for one night, we saw one boat come and go.

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Boat ramp at Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

There’s also a pretty little beach that’s perfect for taking a stroll to stretch your legs after a long day of driving.

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Beach area at Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

Getting There

To access the Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area, you use exit 260 for Dougan Avenue in Oacama. From there it’s about 2-3 miles down a gravel road to get to the camping area. The road travels through the pretty hills of South Dakota.

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Gravel road into Dude Ranch Lakeside Use Area

There is a low clearance bridge under the highway at 14’3″ so take that into consideration for taller rigs.

low bridge clearance
14’3″ clearance for RVs under the bridge