Fodor's Expert Review Custer State Park
This 71,000-acre park is considered the crown jewel of South Dakota’s state park system. Elk, antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, wild turkey, prairie dogs, and the second-largest (behind Yellowstone National Park) publicly owned herd of bison in the world roam this pristine landscape. Scenic drives roll past fingerlike granite spires and panoramic views (try the Needles Highway). Take the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road to see prairies teeming with animals and some of the beautiful backdrops for countless Western films. Accommodations here are outstanding, too, with numerous campgrounds and a resort network that includes five amenities-filled lodges and seven well-appointed vacation cabins.
The park is open year-round, but some amenities are closed over winter.