Yankton Today

Yankton SD Camping, RV Parks, Fishing, Hunting

At just under 14,000 residents, Yankton offers the amenities of a much larger city, thanks in part to the large tourist influx during the summer months.  Yankton currently offers tremendous recreational opportunities year round, from Lake Yankton to Lewis and Clark Lake in addition to the Missouri and James Rivers, it's truly an outdoor paradise.  

From Hobie Cat's to full-size sailboats, from canoeing to kayaking, from casting off-shore to a decked-out fishing boat, from a jet ski to a houseboat, the Yankton area embraces all types of recreation in the summer months.  The fall months bring about waterfowl and pheasant hunting, in addition to the plentiful deer and turkey seasons that many enjoy.  In the winter months, the miles of snowmobile trails and ice fishing welcome all guests looking to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Yankton also boasts the annual Riverboat Days, bringing thousands of additional visitors to Yankton's Riverside Park to view crafts, events and a variety of foods.

History of Yankton South Dakota

The History of Yankton
Arguably South Dakota's most historic city, Yankton evolved in the 1850's as a town born of the Missouri River.  While life in Yankton has always revolved around the great river, it is of less importance today with the extinct steamboat industry.  While the river is now mainly used for recreation rather than transportation, the city still thrives and owes it all to the Missouri.

Yankton was the first capital of the Dakota Territory in the 1860's, covering North and South Dakota, as well as Wyoming and Montana.  A replica of the capital can be seen within Riverside Park, below the Meridian Bridge, just south of downtown.

The namesake of many areas in the Yankton region, Meriwether Lewis and Wiliam Clark explored the area in the early 1800's.  Lewis and Clark's journey lasted just over two years, traveling approximately 8,000 miles.

Over a half-century ago, the South Dakota Corp of Engineers proposed to build five dams along the Missouri River in the name of flood control and electric generation.  One of these dams was built just west of Yankton, appropriately named Gavins Point for the banks in which is shares. Lewis and Clark Lake was formed after the river was closed off during the dam construction, this lake contributes heavily the over 1.5 Million visitors who travel to Yankton every year to enjoy the amenities this city has become famous for.

Yankton College, founded in 1881 closed after 102 years of operation.  However the facilty stil exists in central Yankton today, although in a bit different form.  In 1985, the college was converted into a minimum-security federal prison camp, making use of the facility's striking period architecture.  The inmates spend their days managing the prison grounds, proving that the facility can look better now than over a century ago.



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