Lazy camping: ways to get outdoors while staying close to home


With SDSU students finally settling themselves on campus, some students are asking, now what? The search for something fun and new to do is on. The Collegian would like to encourage students to explore these outside options instead of streaming Netflix next weekend.

The Wellness Center

On campus, the Wellness Center offers an array of activities to do outside. One of those includes their Outdoor Programs. 

They hope to create a community that experiences meaningful and challenging outdoor adventures, according to the Wellness Center website. People can canoe, hike, rock climb, fish, backpack or ski on the trips planned by signing up and paying at the Wellness Center. 

Recently, the program took a group to the Palisades State Park to camp and learn the basics of rock climbing. They also offer free clinics ranging in topics from s’mores making to bike maintenance. The next clinic is Wednesday, where the Wellness Center is offering a free Canoeing Skills clinic. 

The next trip is a canoeing trip on the Chippewa River in Minnesota on Sept. 25. Participants can register at the front desk. The Wellness Center also offers gear rentals, such as canoes, tents and lanterns.

Sexauer Park, Brookings

If one wants camping close-by, look a few blocks from campus at the only camping site in Brookings. It’s close and has sites that can be reserved for $20. 

Dan Brettschneider, Parks, Recreation & Forestry Director, says the best thing about Sexauer is that it’s “a quiet, hidden gem for camping within city limits that’s priced very reasonable” and ”many parents of SDSU students utilize the campground.”

Patrick Hansen, an advertising major, said that he would definitely camp there.

“Seems like a good spot, being that it’s so close to campus,” Hansen said.

The camping area has a playground, volleyball nets, walking paths, bathrooms and it’s located right in town, so a last-minute trip to Wal-Mart is not out of the question.

Outdoor Adventure Center 

Straight down 22nd Avenue is a large building that offers firearm and archery experiences. For a place to learn shooting and hunting techniques, this is the place to go.

The Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota offers firearm and archery ranges, as well as outdoor skill labs. Year-round, one can develop outdoor skills and learn lifetime skills through the courses offered at the center for the community. 

Lisa Bretsch, executive director of the Outdoor Adventure Center said, “the best thing about the OAC is the sense of community. It was built by the community for the community. Anyone from the community can come in here and have fun in here.”

These volunteers are helping put on educational events that are all based around firearm and archery. The OAC is always thinking of new ways to involve SDSU students as well. 

 “We have college memberships available for SDSU students,” Bretsch said. “In addition, starting on Sept. 28, we will host the SDSU Intramural Archery program and on Sept. 29 the OAC will host [an] SDSU Greek Life archery league.”

The firearm and archery ranges are open Wednesday through Sunday. The center provides firearms or bows for anyone who doesn’t have their own. With ranges and classes, it’s possible to hone shooting skills close to campus.

Oakwood Lake State Park, Bruce

Twenty minutes away from campus lies Oakwood Lake State Park, a year-round campsite. Here, people can camp, swim, fish, hike, kayak, canoe and boat on Johnson Lake and Lake Tetonkaha. 

Courtney Lusk, civil engineering major, is familiar with Oakwood Lake Park because she goes every year. 

“It’s fun to rent the canoes and kayaks. The hiking trails are beautiful and are great for biking and walking on,” Lusk said. “There’s Frisbee Golf which is always a good time.” 

Some other activities to engage in are archery ranges and trails, bird watching, disc golf, horse trails, geocaching and hunting. In the winter, Oakwood Lakes offers ice fishing and cross-country skiing.