Groups meeting throughout South Dakota are encouraged, especially during spring, summer and autumn, to consider area parks as possible settings for gatherings, such as picnics and receptions. Using a park for an off-site event is an affordable and picturesque option for groups with attendees who appreciate natural surroundings.

From hiking and bird watching to miniature golf and fishing, parks are also home to recreational activities that groups can include in a meeting itinerary.

There are plenty of recreational activities for meeting attendees beyond park settings, too, including panning for gold in Deadwood and taking a SculptureWalk in Sioux Falls.

Parks…

A backdrop unlike any other for group events in Sioux Falls, Falls Park offers attendees wide-open spaces surrounding a beautiful cascading waterfall, according to Krista Orsack, director of marketing for the Sioux Falls CVB.

“Falls Park is definitely the park to host an event,” she said, and added the park has a large permanent shelter that accommodates group activities when it’s not hosting the Farmer’s Market. “The CVB can secure white tents and any additional equipment/catering required to make it a special experience.”  

Main Street Square, a park setting located in the center of downtown Rapid City, is a star gathering spot that groups can rent for receptions, banquets and other events.

According to Lisa Storms, director of convention sales for the Rapid City CVB, the square is positioned among a variety of restaurants and shops, and is within walking distance of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and four hotels.  

After a day of meetings, groups can “plan to spend a relaxing evening with dinner and nightlife that downtown and Main Street Square offers throughout the year,” Storms said, and added that during the summer months, groups can check out Summer Nights festivities featuring live music and food booths.

 Canyon Lake Park, one of Rapid City’s oldest parks, offers another option for fun group gatherings, featuring 29 acres, four picnic pavilions, horseshoe and volleyball courts, a fishing bridge, bike path and paddleboat rentals.

New to Deadwood is Powerhouse Park, located near the George S. Mickelson Trail and also providing access to Whitewood Creek, a popular fishing/wading creek in the heart of town.

When the group has concluded its alfresco meeting or picnic lunch in the park, attendees can grab a bike from a local outfitter, including DeadWheels Bike Rentals, and shuttle to ride the Mickelson Trail.

According to Amanda Kille, marketing and sponsorship director for the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, the trail is appropriate for all skill levels and traverses 108 miles of the beautiful, mostly forested Black Hills.

“The trail is famous for its nearly 100 converted railroad bridges, tunnels and abundant wildlife,” she said. “Park space is free to use and available on a first-come, first-served basis, but availability shouldn’t be a problem mid-week, even during peak season from June through September.”

Groups can find a great setting for outings in Aberdeen at Wylie Park, which offers a number of picnic shelters and two enclosed gathering areas.

 “Event attendees can take advantage of the park’s features, such as Roll Out bike and surrey rentals, Thunder Road go-carts, mini golf, Euro Bungy and Laser Maze,” said Laura Ptacek, convention sales and marketing coordinator for the Aberdeen Area CVB.