South Dakota Vacation Ideas

South Dakota Vacations Idea #1: Wind Cave National Park, in the south-west corner of the state, is mostly open grassland. It's small size and large populations of prairie animals like bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs make wildlife watching fun and easy. Beneath the 30 miles of hiking and nature trails lies Wind Cave with tours that range from 45 minutes up to 4 hours.

#2: Take a scenic drive in the fall and enjoy the beauty of the colorful landscape as the season begins to change. The 20-mile route through Spearfish Canyon is a great place to take in the fall colors.

The Native American Scenic Byway takes you through the heart of South Dakota's Indian Country. The Lewis and Clark Trail follows the explorers' route through South Dakota in the fall of 1804.

Besides the leaves full of color you will enjoy plenty of other sights such as waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife.


#3: Who can resist four 60-foot tall rock faces of American Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln? It's Mount Rushmore, of course. Get a good view from the half-mile walking trail Presidential Trail, and Grandview Terrace.

There are interpretive programs, exhibits and a film at the Lincoln Borglum Museum. Take in the Evening Sculpture Lighting Ceremony in the amphitheater.


South Dakota Vacation Ideas #4: For hiking you can't beat Custer State Park. Hiking is allowed anywhere in the 71,000 acre park. There are also many designated trails with a wide range of difficulty. You can fish, swim, mountain bike, horseback ride, or auto-tour the 3 scenic drives. The park has one of the largest bison herds in the
#5: My favorite place to visit for many reasons is Rapid City, South Dakota. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia where I am constantly on the run almost 24/7. Rapid City in the summer is a beautiful place to visit. It’s surrounded by hundreds of miles of hills, mountains, rivers, lakes and streams.
Rapid City South Dakota
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/auvet

The people of Rapid City are humble and very kind. They enjoy the slow pace life style. I also love Rapid City in the winter although some winters can be brutal and cold. There are hundreds of places to ski and snowboard. You can also ride snowmobiles and do a little bit of ice climbing. You can also visit the famous Mt. Rushmore which is a short 30 minute drive from Rapid City. Rapid City also hosts an extremely big annual air show that is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.

People from Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota all come to see the air show. The wildlife in Rapid City is also amazing. You'll see bison just standing in the middle of the road and wild deer that will actually come to the window of your car. The best part is to actually get a chance to see the wild horses run across the hills of Rapid City. You won't need a big budget to visit Rapid City and its surrounding parks. Parking is free everywhere you go and entrance fees to certain parks range from one to five dollars.

Lastly, I would strongly suggest visiting Rapid City in the summer simply because you can take advantage of all the things this little city has to offer. - By Mike from Georgia


#6: For a road trip in South Dakota, try the Native American National Scenic Byway. This route takes you through South Dakota's scenic prairie grass country. You can spot prairie dogs as well as herds of bison and elk, deer and pronghorn. The Native American Scenic Byway starts in Chamberlain, South Dakota and heads north for 350 miles to end up in Bismark, North Dakota.

It runs through the Native American reservations of Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock, Crow Creek and Lower Brule Sioux. You can stop at the reservations and learn about Native American history and way of life.

There are numerous places to visit along the way such as the replica of Fort Manuel, which includes a museum; Farm Island Recreational Area where you can go swimming, camping, boating, and fishing; The Sakakawea and Sitting Bull Monuments.


#7: Another South Dakota road trip idea is the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway through the Black Hills Forest, Custer State Park, and past Mount Rushmore, Harney Peak, Sylvan Lake, the Needle's Eye.

This is beautiful country and you need to take your time to really appreciate and enjoy the trip with it's numerous sharp twists and turns, narrow granite tunnels and 1930's era "pigtail bridges". The Needles Highway was blasted out of the towering stone spires of the Black Hills and during the winter this section is used for cross-country skiing.


#8: Deadwood - The U.S. gold rush of the late 1800s hit the town of Deadwood, South Dakota like no other. This historic town was the scene of greed and lawlessness as the gold fever struck the country. Today the town is a National Historic Landmark.

Come to Deadwood and see the Mount Moriah Cemetery, also known as Boot Hill, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried. The Old Style Saloon #10 holds a re-enactment of Wild Bill's fatal shooting.

As saloons and betting parlors were everywhere back in the day, today you can you can still play poker, blackjack, slots and other games at some 80 establishments. The Adams Museum and House has lots of period artifacts and photos on display. A fun way to experience the town is on a guided Segway tour offered by Rushmore Segway.


South Dakota Vacation Ideas #9: - Wounded Knee, South Dakota is the site of the last major battle fought between the US army and American Indians. It was a massacre of the Indians and effectively ended the Indian Wars. The battlefield, along with a cemetery for those killed in the fight, lies within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. North from the battle site, at the West entrance to the Bad Lands National Park is the The Wounded Knee Museum. Here the exhibits and photographs provide a vivid picture of the events that surrounded the Wounded Knee Massacre.

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