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Big Stone Island Nature Area

Big Stone Island

An 1823 expedition led by Major Stephan Long and geologist William Keating explored the Big Stone Lake region. Shortly after entering present-day South Dakota, they met an American Indian village on a rocky island (Big Island). This island is now the 100-acre nature area.

Historical Interest

During the 1800s and early-1900s, resort hotels dotted the shore and excursion boats frequented the island's brothel. In an attempt to close the facility, irate women reportedly burned and sank a boat. In the 1940s, military aircraft practiced landing and take-off from a short runway on the island in preparation for war in the Pacific. Today, the area is accessible only by boat.

Restrictions / Safety

DOT Road Report

Big Stone Island Nature Area

C/O Hartford Beach State Park
13672 Hartford Beach Road
Corona, SD 57227

GPS Coordinates

Lat: 45.34723
Long: -96.487953



BirdwatchingBoatingCanoeing/KayakingHistorical interest

Natural Environment

  • Day use area
  • Accessible only by boat/canoe
  • No maintained trails
  • No facilities

Observe Nature

The island is a natural refuge for a variety of wildlife, including songbirds, waterfowl and shore birds.

Park Specs


Northeastern South Dakota: 4 miles north of Big Stone City on SD Highway 109 to rearing Ponds Access Area

Nearest Town

Big Stone City


Park entrance license not required.


Location Map
Big Stone Island Map

GPS Coordinates

N 45 20.679
W 96 29.086

Area Attractions