Fort Randall Casino features a decent game room with several gaming options that include slot machines, blackjack, poker, and bingo. They also have a few cool promotions along with a vibrant players club, and accommodation options.
Located in Pickstown, you won’t find a lot of nearby attractions to the casino. But that doesn’t mean the area isn’t worth going out and exploring. Today’s post will cover some fun things to do near Fort Randall Casinos and in the Pickstown area.
Since the area is mainly rural, you may need to drive a bit of a distance to get to a few of them. However, if you’re in for scenic views of the South Dakota countryside, odds are, you will go out of your way to frequent the following attractions.
Ready to discover what’s out there? Let’s get after it, starting with the closest attractions.
Lake Francis Case
Lake Francis Case is a large reservoir featuring a perimeter of 102,000 acres and a depth of 140 feet.
If you’re not willing to venture into the other adjacent counties in which the lake covers, head over to the North Point or Randall Creek Recreation Areas.
There, you won’t drive too far away from Fort Randall Casino to have fun in the summertime South Dakota sun. You’ll also find the Fort Randall Dam near the lake, which serves as the subject of the next section.
Fort Randall Dam
This dam spans the Missouri River and impounds Lake Francis Case. It’s a minor attraction as opposed to the activity brimming over at Lake Francis Case, itself. However, it features a small visitor center, which is more than worth stopping by once you’ve finished your lake activities for the day.
The center is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and it contains a stunning view of the surrounding area from the dam, featuring both the lake and the Missouri River.
So, if you’re someone who craves a panoramic view of nature, you may spend more than just a few minutes frequenting the location.
Inside, they feature a small museum. Exhibits include photos depicting the dam’s construction, a natural and cultural history center, along with a collection of paleontology samples. You’ll also find a freshwater aquarium displaying marine life native to the area.
They named both Fort Randall Casino and the dam after a fort that once stood in the region. And while you won’t find the fort there anymore, its ruins remain a public draw.
Fort Randall concludes a tiny list of things to do in Pickstown itself. However, the following attractions are between 30 and 50 miles outside Pickstown.
But if you’re cool with spending some money on fuel, head on over to Niobrara State Park, Kreycik Elk and Buffalo Tours, the Dimock Dairy, R.F. Goeke Variety Store, and Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park.
Let’s get started, beginning with Niobrara State Park.
Niobrara State Park
You’re about 31 miles away from Pickstown and the confines of Fort Randall Casino. However, it’s more than worth taking a trip to one of the area’s most well-maintained parks. They offer illustrious views of the surrounding forests. Plus, if you enjoy going camping, it’s a great area to settle down for an evening.
Best yet, some of these campsites overlook the river. And given the sheer size of the sites, you’re in for more than a peaceful experience.
It’s also a fantastic place for hiking. So, if you need to entwine with and become one with the surrounding scenery, Niobrara State Park will satisfy your craving.
Plus, the more you hike, the better the odds are that you will stumble upon several sensational overlooks. Make sure you bring your camera or at least a cell phone to snap some breathtaking shots of the area.
Kreycik Elk and Buffalo Tours
39 miles away from Pickstown, yet still in Niobrara, you’ll find Kreycik Elk and Buffalo Tours. And as the name states, you will get up close and personal with the bison and elk that frequent the area.
Along with a fun time gaining an educational experience on the wildlife that inhabits the area, you’re also in for yet another remarkable view of the countryside. Once again, you’ll need your phone or camera to snap a few unforgettable nature photos.
As you ride through the prairie lands, make sure you take the opportunity to feed the bison and elk as they walk up to your vehicle (not your actual vehicle, as you’ll be hitched on a wagon behind a tractor).
One reviewer on TripAdvisor, however, likened the experience to what life may have been like for the pioneers traveling through the area. Except as opposed to covered wagons pulled by oxen, heavy machinery navigates you through the area.
So, it’s sort of a bonus experience in a manner of speaking.
If you’re a cheese enthusiast, you must stop at Dimock Dairy. You won’t find it too far from the bison and elk tours at about 39.2 miles from Fort Randall Casino. It’s the finest place in the area to sample local cheese products that they make right at the local attraction.
In fact, when you walk in, you can actually see them preparing the cheese and other dairy products featured in the store.
They offer a fine selection of farm-fresh products within the premises, so make sure you have some cash on you so you can sample a bit of everything.
It’s one of those small-town, small-business gems that visitors to the area circle in red given its expansive selection and local flair.
R.F. Goeke Variety Store
Travel a few miles into Nebraska if you’re looking to visit the most famous variety store in the viewing area. The R.F. Goeke Variety Store is located a little over 43 miles from the area. It’s perfect to pair a trip here after you’ve sampled your cheese at Dimock Dairy.
Their main draw? The delicious milkshakes and ice cream. And here, you’re getting some strange yet delicious flavors that include names like Hay Stack (vanilla and butterscotch), Turtle (hot fudge, caramel, pecans), Husker (vanilla, cherry sauce, marshmallow), and Clown (vanilla and chocolate ice cream, marshmallow, and nuts).
Especially if you’re looking to combine comfort food with a slew of hidden treasures. Enjoy the outing.
Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park
And finally, we end our tour of the area at Ashfall Beds State Historical Park. This one is about 48 miles from the area, however, it offers yet another fine dose of South Dakota’s marvelous countryside.
However, its primary draw resides in the many fossils you’ll find throughout the landscape. It’s an area attraction fit for the family, even if you have to drive an hour away from Fort Randall Casino to get there.
The archaeological site features fossils from Earth’s prehistoric period, with its 1.2 million-year-old ashfall bed drawing tourists in from across America. The ashfall bed displays the remnants of North American animals who died from the falling ash during a volcanic eruption from what is now Yellowstone Park.
While some reviewers on TripAdvisor have stated it’s not the easiest attraction to find, you’ll gain easy navigation once you step foot inside the premises. And despite its distance from the casino, another reviewer even insisted to make the drive if you’re within a 50-mile radius of the place.
You can come in for a short stay if you’re in a hurry. But if you’re looking to maximize your time in the area or if you’re a fossil enthusiast, you may just wind up staying at this location for a few hours.
Enjoy the Outdoors in South Dakota
Fort Randall Casino and Hotel boasts a solid game room that features more than a fine variety of gaming along with promotional and accommodation options. However, it doesn’t mean you should underestimate the surrounding area of Pickstown and the region.
As you can see, despite there being few attractions in Pickstown itself, the fun is only just beginning if you’re willing to drive 30 to 60 minutes from the casino to spend a day or two living it up in the area in a variety of small-town attractions.
From nature to specialty shops, and even a small museum, you have a lot to love about rural South Dakota.
Have you been to Fort Randall Casino? If so, did you make the drive and visit any of the attractions listed above? Tell us about your adventures in the comments section. We cannot wait to read your stories.