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Pelican Lake Recreation Area

Pelican Lake

Naturalists enjoy the migrating birds and vast numbers of prairie grasses and wildflowers at Pelican Lake Recreation Area. Winter enthusiasts appreciate the park's cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing and ice fishing.

Wildlife Viewing

Pelican Lake is a popular stopping point for migrating waterfowl. Each fall, geese and ducks use the lake's open waters as a resting area. A variety of shore birds spend their entire summer in or near the park.

Most noticeable are the large white pelicans that frequent the lake. Pelicans were so numerous when the region was first settled that the lake was named in their honor. An observation tower on one of the hiking trails gives visitors a bird's-eye view of the area.

Restrictions / Safety

DOT Road Report

Pelican Lake Recreation Area

17450 450th Avenue
Watertown, SD 57201

GPS Coordinates

Lat: 44.852222
Long: -97.208448

Make a camping reservation


Due to fire danger, campers are asked to be cautious with campfires. Please do not leave your fire unattended and make sure it is completely out.


Archery rangeBasketballBikingBoatingCampingCross country skiingFishingHikingHorse TrailHorseshoesSnowmobilingSoccerSwimming

Lodging Info

Facilities / Services

  • Beach
  • Boat Ramp
  • Campground
  • Camping cabins
  • Drinking water
  • Dump station
  • Electric campsites
  • Fishing pole checkout
  • Flush toilets/showers
  • Game checkout
  • Horse camp
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Playground
  • Vault toilets


Fishing License Required

  • Walleye
  • Northern pike
  • Perch
  • Bullheads

Horse Camp

  • Electric campsites
  • Water
  • Vault Toilets
  • Fire Grates
  • Hitching Posts
  • Corrals
  • Trails


NFAA approved 14 station with practice facility. Stations range in distance from 20 feet to 80 yards.

ADA / Accessible

  • Camping Sites (72E)
  • Camping Cabins (#1)
  • Picnic shelter

Park Specs


Northeastern South Dakota: 9 miles SW of Watertown off US Hwy 212


Location Map
Campground map
Trail map and guide
Walking map

Area Attractions

In Watertown:

Nearest Town



Camping fees are subject to sales tax.

Park entrance license required year-round


Camping Cabins: