If you are a fan of going to one of our state parks for a weekend of camping, this Saturday is an important date for you to pay attention to.

February 20 is the first day that you can book a stay starting on Friday, May 21, according to a release from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. But there is more of a game that can be played if you are willing to spend money on camping you don't intend to use.

GFP allows campers to reserve spots 90 days out from the date of check-in. You can purchase up to 14 days in one stay. So if you want to book a stay at Lewis and Clark Recreation Area near Yankton to be there through July 5, you could book a 14 day stay starting June 22. The earliest you can book that on the 90-day reservation calendar would be on March 24.

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If you actually want to book a two-week stay that you only want to use four or five days of it would cost you $364, based simply on the random spot I picked for dates in May and June.

If that sounds like an expensive headache, you're not wrong. One way around it, which is less convenient for sure, is to take time off of work and camp during a few days of the workweek. We have done this on numerous occasions and it's great. You don't have as many people around and it is very laid back. The negative of course is you can't just do it for a weekend and save vacation time.

Another option is to book camping at a place that isn't quite so popular. Then you can get a spot to camp. Maybe. You can also play the lottery, so to speak, and try to book one of the days of available spots on the weekend.

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