Free Entrance, Free Fishing Mark South Dakota State Parks’ Open House Weekend

PIERRE, S.D. – To kick off summer, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks encourages families to spend the weekend outside during the Parks' Open House Weekend and Free Fishing Weekend May 18-20.
During the annual three-day event, anglers can fish without a license anywhere in the state, and entrance fees are waived for all visitors to South Dakota's state parks and recreation areas. Camping fees still apply. Fishing regulations and limits also apply.

Parks will host a variety of Open House Weekend special events across the state.

Custer State Park will host a number of family activities on Saturday and Sunday, including cookouts, nature hikes, free hayrack rides, a fishing derby, nature programs and demonstrations. Historic Valhalla cabin also will be open to the public. A full schedule of events can be found on Custer State Park’s website .

Coinciding with Open House Weekend is the kickoff of two new programs. Six state parks will hold grand openings for their TRACK Trails disc golf courses, and GFP will be launching the new Fitness Passport Challenge.

The TRACK Trails disc golf courses are part of a network of trails nationwide designed for kids and families. Each TRACK Trail has a series of self-guided adventures. Kids can earn Trail Tracker gear for each adventure by registering online at

The following parks have participating disc golf courses: Angostura Recreation Area, Big Sioux Recreation Area, Hartford Beach State Park, Oahe Downstream Recreation Area, Oakwood Lakes State Park and Randall Creek Recreation Area.

GFP has teamed up with Sanford Health and will launch a Fitness Passport Challenge on Friday, May 18. The challenge encourages people of all ages to get outdoors and visit South Dakota state parks, state fish hatcheries and The Outdoor Campuses. The game requires players to have their passport books stamped at several areas in order to earn prizes. Passport books are available at all state parks and GFP offices.

Open House Weekend also marks the first weekend that campsites can be reserved in South Dakota state parks this year. Camping reservations can be made until noon or 9 p.m. the day you arrive, depending on the park. Make reservations online at or by calling 1-800-710-2267.

South Dakota state parks offer a wide variety of outdoor fun, including camping, picnicking and boating. Many parks also offer trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

For information on fishing, fishing license and fishing regulations or the South Dakota state park system, visit the GFP website at

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