South Dakota

Travel Guide
Photo provided by Rapid City CVB
America is at its most iconic in South Dakota, a state that offers rugged wilderness and charming towns alongside one of the nation’s most famous monuments.

South Dakota claims to have the geographic center of the United States within its borders. The state certainly does contain a dizzying mixture of everything that makes the nation great, from charming cities packed with history to legendary monuments and dramatic scenery. Experience this potent combination of history, culture and nature in the beautiful and welcoming “Mount Rushmore State.”

Like the rest of the nation, South Dakota’s history is a mixture of inglorious conquest, intrepid exploration and inspiring creativity. Visit the Vore Buffalo Jump to learn about the North American Plains Indians who lived on the land for centuries before Lewis and Clark trekked through the land. Pause for a moment of reflection at the Wounded Knee Massacre Site to remember injustices against Native Americans in the country.

Wander down Grand View Terrace, lined with the state flags of America, and look upwards to view the mighty Mount Rushmore. Come back to the monument at night to see the presidential carvings lit up during a patriotic ceremony. South Dakota’s famous face carvings don’t stop here, however, as the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills is even bigger and functions as a memorial for all Native American tribes.

Explore the charming town of Sioux Falls, which is built around scenic cascades and lined with historic houses. Marvel at the 19th-century Pettigrew Home and Museum, built in the Queen Anne Style. Take your family to the Butterfly House & Marine Cove and the Kirby Science Discovery Center.

Escape to the wilderness of Badlands National Park. Hike beneath the eye-catching, striped rock formations or drive around the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway. The plains are ideal locations for spotting buffalo and pronghorn antelope.

Fly into one of six cities in South Dakota with regional airports or drive along scenic byways into the state. When driving around South Dakota, don’t miss the roadside attraction of Wall Drug, a vast store with a frontier atmosphere. Come to the state in late spring or early fall for warm weather and fewer crowds at the numerous attractions.

Where to stay in South Dakota

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Downtown Sioux Falls

4.5/5(108 area reviews)

While visiting Downtown Sioux Falls, you might make a stop by sights like Falls Park and Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science.

Downtown Sioux Falls
Rapid City featuring a city and night scenes

Historic Rapid City

Historic Rapid City is popular for its abundant dining options, and if you're looking for more to see and do, you might think about a trip to Main Street Square or Art Alley.

Historic Rapid City
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Dakota Dunes

4.5/5(80 area reviews)

Dakota Dunes is noteworthy