Lets find out about the best things to do in Watertown SD.
Watertown is a small city located in the eastern part of South Dakota. It’s not a well-known vacation destination, but it should be! The city has a rich history and a beautiful natural setting, with plenty of parks, lakes, and other outdoor spaces to explore.
And even though it may not be as bustling as some of the bigger cities in the state, Watertown has a lot to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. From museums and art galleries to sporting events and shopping centers, there’s something for everyone in this charming city.
Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders
So if you’re planning a trip to Watertown, make sure to add these 15 activities to your must-do list! (And don’t forget to bring your camera – you’ll want to capture all the amazing sights and experiences you’ll have here!)
1. Visit the Bramble Park Zoo
Visiting the Bramble Park Zoo is an incredible experience that everyone should have. Located in Watertown, South Dakota, the zoo has over 600 animals representing 130 species from around the world.
With its AZA accreditation, the zoo is a family-friendly attraction with a variety of fascinating exhibits and activities. Explore the KidZoo Complex with its large barn, petting zoo, and playsets. Get up close and personal with the animals and feed a camel or sloth.
Visit the Terry Redlin Environmental Center and learn about the Upper Big Sioux Watershed Program. Enjoy the Food Truck Festival on July 24th, and don’t forget the selfie with the KidZoo yak!
2. Go for a walk or bike ride along the Watertown Riverfront Park and Braille Trail
If you’re looking for a more active way to spend your time in Watertown, then you should definitely consider going for a walk or bike ride along the Watertown Braille Trail. This paved path winds through the city and offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the Watertown Riverfront Park is the perfect place to get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors.
One of the best things about the Watertown Braille Trail is that it’s accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s a flat, wide path that’s easy to navigate whether you’re walking, running, or biking. Plus, the trail is well-maintained, so you don’t have to worry about tripping or falling. And with a variety of scenery along the way, you won’t get bored!
So don’t let the beauty of Watertown pass you by – get out there and explore the city on foot or by bike! The Watertown Recreation Trail is the perfect place to get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. (Just don’t forget to bring your sunscreen!)
3. Experience Adventure on the Black River
One of the most enjoyable and exciting things you should do in Watertown is whitewater raft on the Black River.
One of the numerous powerful rivers that flow into the enormous Lake Ontario, the Black River is a great area to go on adventures and engage in water sports.
On several sections of the river, whitewater rafting and kayaking are relatively common activities.
Try them out, particularly if you’re traveling during the summer.
Fishing is enjoyable in this area since the river offers a very friendly environment for a variety of species like trout, salmon, and bass.
According to popular belief, the natural tannic acid deposits in the river gave the Black River its name.
4. Take a tour of the Redlin Art Center, which features the work of South Dakota artist Terry Redlin
The Redlin Art Center is a museum in Watertown, South Dakota, that features the work of South Dakota artist Terry Redlin. Redlin was a popular painter of wildlife and rural scenes, and his work is known for its attention to detail and realism.
The Redlin Art Center houses a collection of over 150 original paintings and prints by Redlin, as well as a gift shop and a café. The museum is open to the public, and guided tours are available.
In addition to the permanent collection, the Redlin Art Center also hosts rotating exhibitions and special events throughout the year. If you’re interested in art or the work of Terry Redlin, a tour of the Redlin Art Center is a great way to learn more about his life and career.
5. Go fishing or boating at Lake Kampeska
If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity in Watertown, South Dakota, consider fishing or boating at Lake Kampeska. Located just a few miles west of the city, this large lake is a popular spot for various water sports.
Fishing is a popular pastime at Lake Kampeska, and the lake is home to a variety of fish species, including walleye, northern pike, and perch. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, there are plenty of opportunities to cast a line and try your luck. Rent a boat or bring your own and spend the day exploring the lake’s many bays and coves in search of the perfect catch.
If you prefer to relax on the water, Lake Kampeska is also an excellent spot for boating. Rent a pontoon boat or bring your own and spend the day cruising around the lake. Take in the beautiful scenery, stop for a swim, or just relax and soak up the sun. Several marinas and boat rentals are available around the lake, so you’ll have plenty of options for getting out on the water.
No matter how you choose to spend your time at Lake Kampeska, you’re sure to have a great time. The lake is a beautiful and peaceful place, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So pack your fishing gear, grab your swimsuit, and head out to Lake Kampeska for a fun and memorable day on the water.
6. Explore the Glacial Lakes and Prairies Tourism Association Visitor Center
The Glacial Lakes and Prairies Tourism Association Visitor Center is a great place to learn more about the history and culture of the Watertown, South Dakota region. Located in downtown Watertown, the visitor center offers a variety of exhibits and interactive displays that showcase the area’s rich history and natural beauty.
One of the highlights of the visitor center is the “Glacial Lakes & Prairies: A Land of Change” exhibit, which tells the story of how the region was shaped by glacial activity and how humans have adapted to living in this unique environment.
The exhibit features a variety of interactive displays, including a touch table where you can learn about the different types of rocks and minerals found in the area and a virtual reality experience that lets you explore the region’s natural landscapes.
The visitor center also hosts various special events and programs throughout the year, including guided tours, lectures, and workshops. Whether you’re a local resident or just visiting the area, the Glacial Lakes and Prairies Tourism Association Visitor Center is a great place to learn more about the history and culture of Watertown and the surrounding region.
7. Visit The Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument
The Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument was built in 1891 in Watertown’s Public Square to pay tribute to the citizens of the North Country who served in the Civil War.
The granite structure of this significant landmark has a height of fifty feet. There is a “allegorical figure of Victory” atop the column. The monument also has bronze sailors and soldiers on the south and north sides, as well as commemorative plaques along the west and east elevations. In 2012, the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument underwent maintenance, stabilization, and cleaning.
8. Relax at the Watertown Family Aquatic Center
The Watertown Family Aquatic Center is a great place to relax and have fun in the water. Located in Watertown, South Dakota, this outdoor water park features a variety of aquatic activities for all ages.
One of the main attractions at the Watertown Family Aquatic Center is the lazy river, a gentle current that flows around the park’s perimeter. Float along on a tube and enjoy the soothing water as you take in the sights and sounds of the park. The aquatic center also has a zero-depth entry pool, perfect for young children or those less comfortable in deep water.
If you’re looking for more excitement, the aquatic center has several water slides, including tube and body slides. There’s also a diving board for those who want to take the plunge. The park also has a concession stand where you can purchase snacks and drinks and a sun deck with lounge chairs where you can relax and soak up the sun.
Whether you’re looking to cool off with a refreshing swim or just want to relax and enjoy the water, the Watertown Family Aquatic Center is a great place to spend a summer day.
9. Catch a game at the Watertown Civic Arena
The Watertown Civic Arena is a multi-purpose facility in Watertown, South Dakota, that is home to various sporting events and other activities. If you’re a sports fan, you may be able to catch a game at the arena.
The Watertown Civic Arena is home to the Watertown Wings, a junior hockey team that plays in the North American Hockey League. If you’re in town during the hockey season, you can watch the Wings take to the ice at the arena. The arena is also home to the Watertown Cyclones, a minor-league professional basketball team that plays in the American Basketball Association.
The Watertown Civic Arena also hosts various other events, including concerts, trade shows, and community events. The arena has a seating capacity of over 2,000, making it an excellent venue for more significant events.
Whether you’re a sports fan or just looking for something to do, the Watertown Civic Arena is a great place to check out while in town.
10. Things to do in Watertown Visit- Play golf at Ives Hill Country Club
If you enjoy playing golf, you might be tempted to visit some of the holes at Ives Hill Country Club, one of the greatest in Watertown.
The golf course first appeared in 1897 under the name Jefferson Country Golf Club.
It has undergone numerous remodeling and rebranding attempts before settling on its current moniker, Ives Hill Country Golf Club. The club offers the ideal settings for golfing, as well as reasonable rates and membership options for both locals and visitors.
11. Take a scenic drive through the surrounding countryside
If you’re looking to take in the natural beauty of the Watertown, South Dakota region, consider taking a scenic drive through the surrounding countryside. The area is home to various stunning landscapes, from rolling prairies to peaceful lakes and streams.
One option for a scenic drive is to follow the Glacial Lakes Scenic Byway, which runs through the region and takes you past some of the most picturesque spots in the area. The byway passes through a number of small towns and rural communities, giving you a chance to get a feel for the local culture and history.
Another option is to head out to the Watertown Recreation Area, which is located just a few miles west of the city. This large park is home to various hiking and biking trails that wind through wooded areas and along Lake Kampeska. Whether you prefer to explore on foot or by bike, the recreation area is a great place to take in the region’s natural beauty.
No matter which route you choose, a scenic drive through the countryside is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the natural world.
12. Take a walk through Watertown’s historic downtown area and check out the unique shops and restaurants
Watertown’s historic downtown area is great for exploring on foot and taking in the local culture and history. Located in the heart of the city, the downtown area is home to various unique shops and restaurants that are sure to interest visitors.
One of the highlights of the downtown area is Watertown Square. This historic public square is surrounded by several businesses, including antique shops, art galleries, and gift stores. The square is also home to a number of restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite to eat or just sit and relax with a cup of coffee.
In addition to the Square, the downtown area is also home to a number of other interesting shops and restaurants. You can find everything from bookstores and boutique clothing stores to local craft breweries and artisanal coffee shops.
13. Go camping at Lake Poinsett State Park
Lake Poinsett State Park is a great place to go camping in Watertown, South Dakota. Located just a few miles west of the city, the park is situated on Lake Poinsett’s shores and offers various outdoor recreational activities.
The park has a number of campsites available, ranging from primitive tent sites to full-hook-up RV sites. The campsites are located in wooded areas and offer a sense of seclusion and privacy while still being within easy reach of the park’s many amenities.
In addition to camping, Lake Poinsett State Park also offers a variety of other activities for visitors to enjoy. These might include hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming. The park has several hiking trails that wind through the woods and along the shores of the lake, as well as a boat ramp and a swimming beach.
14. Buy Local Goods at the Watertown Farm and Craft Market
The Watertown Farmers’ Market is a great place to visit if you’re interested in local produce, handmade crafts, and other products made by local artisans. The market is held in the downtown area of Watertown, South Dakota, and features a variety of vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and other products.
At the Watertown Farmers’ Market, you can find a wide variety of fresh, locally-grown produce, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more.
You can also find handmade crafts and other products made by local artisans, such as pottery, jewelry, and soaps. Many of the vendors at the market are small, local businesses, so you’ll be supporting the local community while shopping at the market.
The Watertown Farmers’ Market also has a variety of activities and events throughout the season. These might include live music, cooking demonstrations, and children’s activities.
15. Go Skiing at Dry Hill Ski Area
The Dry Hill Ski Area is probably closed for the season if you go there in the summer. This is one of the best places in New York to go skiing, though, if you go there in the winter.
It makes no difference if you’ve never skied before or are a total novice. The instructors will provide you with all the tools you need to start sliding on the snow right away.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t bring the kids along if you were visiting Watertown with them because it is a very family-friendly place.
Hello, and welcome to Travel Crog, a site where I share my travel advice for your dream vacations. My name is Molly Martin, and I’m the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. I have a passion for travelling and exploring new destinations, and I want to inspire you to do the same. Six years ago, I left my job as an HR professional and embarked on a three-month trip around the world. It was an amazing experience that changed my life and perspective. Ever since then, I have been travelling as much as I can, and writing about the best things to do, see, and eat in every place I visit. Whether you’re looking for a city break, a beach getaway, or a mountain adventure, I have something for you. Travel is not only fun, but also empowering and enriching. Join me on my journey and discover the world with Travel Crog. My motto is: “Life is short, travel more.”