You don’t need fancy boots or special off-road vehicles to enjoy the great outdoors.
With very little up-front investment, there’s a whole world of hiking, camping and boating that’s accessible at city, state and national parks.
A good pair of hiking boots is worth the investment, but, because the prairies of northeastern South Dakota are fairly flat, unnecessary for exploring our corner of the state.
Feel free to lace up your reliable sneakers when heading out on trails in town, at Wylie Park or at Richmond Lake and Mina Lake state recreation areas.
Sure, if you’re going to spend a couple of weeks hiking the Appalachian Trail, you’ll need a big pack filled with a tent, sleeping bag, camp stove and special camping food.
If you want to spend a weekend camping near Aberdeen, you can bring as little as some sheets.
Thanks to camper cabins at Wylie Park and Richmond Lake and Mina Lake state recreation areas, all that’s really needed is sets of sheets and pillows and blankets for the beds.
Food can be brought in and cooked over a campfire or, just head to some of the great area restaurants.
At state parks, modern restroom and shower facilities are guaranteed through Oct. 1; after that, each park can make the determination to close them for the season based on the weather.
Camping, including in camper cabins, is available year-round at state parks, but only vault toilets are open during the off-season.
Fishing from a dock can be just as relaxing as from a boat, but if you want to get out on the open water, look into renting a boat from an area lodge.
Canoe/kayak/paddle board/paddle boats
Whether it’s for a few hours or the whole day, Wylie Park and the state recreation areas offer rentals of all types of water craft.
At Wylie Park, rentals are available through Labor Day weekend. At state parks, they’re available as long as the weather allows.
You can rent bikes at Wylie Park from Roll Out. While regular bikes are available, they also have recumbent bicycles, bicycles built for two, surrey bikes for two or four and other fun options for kids.
Roll Out is staffed from noon to sundown every weekend through Labor Day, and then as the weather allows through September.