Al’s Oasis

We are not much for tourist traps. The more billboards I see placed along the highway, the less I want to stop at whatever is advertised. It provokes in me the opposite reaction to the one intended.

So when we were looking for someplace to stay on our way between Minnesota and the Badlands in South Dakota, Al’s Oasis was at the bottom of my list. You can kinda tell by the name what kind of place it is, right? And the abundant and frequent billboards weren’t helping any. So we chose a different campground that was east of Oacoma (where Al’s Oasis is) and headed for that. But when we arrived, the campground was little more than an empty gravel lot with a hand-painted sign. It was too close to the road to let Emelie run around and gave us altogether bad vibes. I wish I remembered what it was called so I could warn others.

Anyway, with kids growing cranky and the hour growing late, we realized we had to go to Al’s Oasis. We didn’t know of anyplace else and Al had done a great job of letting us know he was in the area. So the billboards actually worked this time and we spent the night at Al’s Oasis.

The stores and stuff were definitely trying to mimic some kind of cartoon image of the west. But the campground, though a little close to the interstate, was perfectly adequate for a one night stop. Here’s a campground review:

Price: About $30/night after AAA discount
Location: Kind of in the middle of no where SD, but apparently a good place to stop for tourists headed to the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and other South Dakota landmarks.
Facilities: Nice bathrooms and showers. Laundry room worked fine (coin operated). Playground small and basic, but made Emelie happy.
Site description: Grass. Or rather, what would have been grass if it had rained at all in South Dakota. Not really any shade to be had, though a few small trees are scattered throughout the campground. We used a small pavillion to eat meals to keep the kids out of the sun.
Neighborhood: Most of the other guests were older RVers, but all were very nice. We didn’t see any other families.
Comments: The campground is across the street and down the road a bit from the “Oasis” stores, restaurant, etc. So while Al’s is a bit of tourist trap, the campground was really no different than many others we’ve stayed in. It was a much better choice than the vacant lot that we’d looked at first. 

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