Located in the heart of the country, Places to Visit in South Dakota offers urban charm and rugged natural beauty. Wandering across the skies and lush woodlands from the Badlands, which have hosted Native American tribes for thousands of years, to the landscape of South Dakota, the deep underground caverns and the larger-than-life presidential monument of Mount Rushmore, offer unique opportunities. Whether you’re interested in nature, culture or history, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do. Badlands National Park offers dramatic vistas. The town of Deadwood brings the Old West to life, and you can learn about local tribes and prairie ecosystems at Good Earth State Park in Sioux Falls. Use this list of the top attractions in South Dakota to help you plan your next trip:
1 Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota
This historic monument is South Dakota’s most prominent tourist attraction. The splendidly carved sides of the mountain are the heads of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The carving, designed by Gatzon, began in 1927, stalled for several decades, and was finally completed in 1991. In its composition, more than 400,000 tons of rocks were demolished on the side of the mountain. Places to Visit in South Dakota The memorial is illuminated in the evening and is accompanied by a patriotic ceremony. Located on the roof adjacent to the monument, the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center is a fun part of any visit. The 0.6-mile Presidential Trail allows visitors a closer look at the monument.
Address: 13000 SD-244, Keystone, South Dakota
Official Site: https://www.nps.gov/moru/planyourvisit/index.htm
2 Best Things to do in Badlands National Park
The dramatic landscape of Badlands National Park includes distinctively formed hills and summits formed by erosion of soil and sand. A large herd of bison roam freely within the park, adding a unique element to the whole experience. Natural Attractions in South Dakota un spoilt scene is strangely beautiful and one of South Dakota’s most-visited places to visit.
Lined with parking spaces and viewpoints, take a tour of the beautiful surroundings from Badlands Loop Road Northwest Pinnacles Entrance to the Ben Reiffel Visitor Center . The changing vistas of rugged rock formations are the real appeal of this scenic route, as well as the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands , one of the last remaining intact prairie landscapes in North America. There are marked hiking trails throughout the park, especially in the Cedar Pass area. Maps can be obtained from the park administration or from visitor centers.
Official Site: https://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm
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3 Best Places to Visit in Custer State Park
As one of the best state and national parks in South Dakota, Custer State Park includes a wide array of varied terrain, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation and sightseeing. A large herd of bison roam the peaceful landscape , which is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife. Granite peaks tower over forests, lakes and streams. Scenic drives, such as the Needle Highway and Iron Mountain Road , provide easy access to the park with great views along the way. For the more adventurous, there are trails for hiking, biking, Places to Visit in South Dakota and horseback riding, including a must-see route called the Sylvan Lake Shore Trail.
Address: 13329 US 16A, Custer, South Dakota
Official Site: http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/custer/
4 Things to Do Near Crazy Horse Memorial
The Mad Horse Memorial, north of Custer, has been a work in progress since it was begun in 1947. The head and upper body part have been Adventurous things to do in south Dakota carved into this mountain just across the road like the main standing bear Mount Rushmore carving. The on-site Indian Museum of North America enriches any tour of Crazy Horse, and visitors can also access a scheduled bus ride to the base of the monument to face the entire day to meet Crazy Horse.
Address: 12151 Chiefs of Avenue, Crazy Horse, South Dakota
Official Site: https://crazyhorsememorial.org/
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5 Best Places to Visit in Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park, located just north of Hot Springs , is home to a vast caustic cave system, believed to be the largest in the world. It was discovered in 1881 by a hunter who noticed a draft coming from a split in the rock. The cave has a unique and delicate cave structure known as “boxwork , “ which is found in few other places in the world.
The only way to explore Wind Cave is through one of the many park ranger guided tours that take place throughout the year. Happens almost every day. Various tours are available for different routes as well as light and cement routes .Established in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. For Unique things to do in South Dakota those not interested in an Adventurous things to do in South Dakota underground tour, the above-ground areas of the park are also very beautiful, with rolling hills and roaming bison.
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6 Unique Places to Visit in South Dakota Huge Sites
The mammoth site in Hot Springs has a large number of Colombian mammoth bones . More than 60 mammoths, including three woolly mammoths, have find at this site. Visitors can see the partially uncovered mammoth bones shown , in a covered, climate-controlled building. Guided tours are available, giving visitors a glimpse of the excavation process. Junior and advanced paleontology classes are available for anyone Things to do in South Dakota for couples intereste in getting their hands dirty, and the on-site Ice Age exhibition hall displays some of the fossils find underground.
Address: 1800 US Bypass, Hot Springs, South Dakota
7 Places to visit near Deadwood South Dakota
Nestled in the dense Black Hills scenery and steeped in the rich history of the Black Hills Gold Rush, the city of River tubing in south Dakota Deadwood is a blast from the past. Deadwood’s Wild West originals are on full display and waiting to experience right from the streets. Some of Deadwood’s top-rated attractions include the recreated Shootout on Historic Main Street , the Adams Museum, and the Broken Boot Gold Mine . Another fun place to visit in Deadwood, The Mount Moriah Cemetery is the final resting place for some of the Wild West’s greatest characters, “Wild Bill” Hickok , who met his demise on the streets of Deadwood.
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8 Natural Attractions in South Dakota Spearfish Canyon
Spearfish Canyon is a beautiful natural area know for an abundance of ponderosa and spruce pine trees, as well as stunning waterfalls and dramatic rock walls. Popular roadside attractions and hikes in Spearfish Canyon include Bridal Wheel and Rough Lock Falls, and Spearfish Peak and Little Crow Peak. While the 22-mile route guarantees beautiful scenic Places to visit in South Dakota in winter views any time of year, the entire area is especially beautiful in the fall , when the foliage begins to change color. To the north of the spearfish is the geographic center of the United States.
Official site: https://visitspearfish.com/things-to-do/spearfish-canyon
9 Places to Visit in South Dakota National Music Museum
The National Music Museum and Center for the Study of Musical Instrument History at the University of South Dakota in Vermion features thousands of American, European, and non-Western instruments from around the world and from a range of historical periods. At this self-contained venue for music lovers, a small Unique things to do in South Dakota entrance fee gives access to a wide variety of musical instruments on display, from American electric guitars to German zithers.
Address: 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion
Official site: http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/identity.html
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10 Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
On the western edge of the state and on the outskirts of Sioux Falls, Good Earth State Park has a deep history in the area, despite its relatively new status as a state park. Good Earth State Park, as part of the larger Blood Run National Historic Landmark , occupies a spectacular area that once served as a thriving business center and gathering places for the Oneota people . The site is currently consider one of the oldest areas in human history in the country. Visitors today can learn about the culture and history of the area Things to do in South Dakota for couples through the modern Visitor Center and view the environment that has hosted these Native American peoples for thousands of years.
Address: 26924 480th Ave, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Official Site: http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/good-earth/
11 Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove
The Sertoma Butterfly House in Sioux Falls is home to hundreds of free-flying butterflies from around the world. While the butterflies are the real highlight, the sea coves are also home to a variety of marine life in tanks and petting pools . Popular exhibits and activities at the Butterfly House include the Pacific Tide Pool and Shark and Stingray Touch Pool , and the 3,600-square-foot indoor tropical garden that hosts butterflies. Visitors Free things to do in South Dakota are also encourage to check out the weekly classes and programs at the Sertoma Butterfly House, including yoga, meditation, and tai-chi in the garden.
Address: 4320 Oxbow Avenue, Sioux Falls
Official Site: https://sertomabutterflyhouseandmarinecove.org
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12 Adventurous things to do in South Dakota Old Courthouse Museum
The Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls is a restored 1800 quartzite building with three floors. The interior has many interesting features, including sculptures on the walls that show life in the Dakota from an earlier period. The museum displays Free things to do in South Dakota exhibits related to the history of the state and the city . Admission is free although donations are accepte. Popular permanent exhibits at the Old Courthouse Museum include a replica of a 19th-century schoolroom and an artifact-filled gallery dedicated to World War I.
Address: 6th & Main Street, Sioux Falls
Official site: http://www.siouxlandmuseums.com/home-page/old-courthouse-museum-exhibits/
More to Explore in Places to Visit in South Dakota
Things to do in South Dakota spread far and wide. You’ll find a lot of culture in cities like Deadwood, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City. Outside of urban areas, South Dakota’s best state and national parks offer an array of outdoor adventures. For South Dakota attractions for families ideas on great places to pitch your tent or park your RV, see our articles on the Top-Rated Campgrounds in South Dakota, the Best Campgrounds South Dakota tourism Around Mount Rushmore, and the Best Campgrounds in Badlands National Park.