Here at Only In Your State, we love highlighting South Dakota gems and helping our readers discover places they (and sometimes we!) never knew existed. As we prepare to welcome the new year, we thought it would be fun to look back on some of the coolest places we wrote about in 2016. If you’ve never experienced these things in South Dakota, there’s no better time than 2017! Though there are so many great places in our lovely state, here are just a few of our favorites:
1. Black Hills Burger & Bun Co., Custer.
Black Hills Burger & Bun is the best burger joint in America. In the final top 10 list, it beat out places in Florida, Oklahoma, California and more, so that’s definitely an accomplishment to boast about. Their burgers are hand-pressed daily and served with homemade buns that are to die for. Be sure to try their Hot Granny burger; it has a sweet-spicy jalapeño sauce, cream cheese, bacon and jalapeños.
2. Midway Drive-in Movie Theater, Miller.
As one of the few drive-in movie theaters left in the area, we are so lucky to have this adorable theater in South Dakota. Constructed in 1953, Midway Drive-In Movie Theater was the first in the area to convert to digital projection. With great prices, wonderful employees, and amazing movie choices, Midway Drive-In Theater is the perfect way to spend a summer night.
3. Hippie Hole, Keystone.
Hike along Battle Creek and you’ll come to a halt when you see this swimming hole complete with a stunning waterfall. Sunbathe on the rocks, cool off in the pool, and simply relish in the natural beauty that nature that surrounds you. This is the perfect place to go to just get away from it all.
4. Porter Sculpture Park, near Montrose.
This sculpture park is so unique and intriguing that it attracts visitors from all over the country. It features over 50 larger-than-life pieces, with the largest weighting 25 tons and standing 60 feet tall. Sculptor Wayne Porter builds these massive works of art free of diagrams and equations, purely using his instinct.
5. Palisades State Park, Garretson.
Just South of Garretson, this state park is described as one of the most unique places in our state. Practice your rock climbing skills on the various cliffs and formations, meander through the walking trails, take a dip in Split Rock Creek, or enjoy a picnic in the picturesque area. You can even make a reservation in one of their cozy cabins and enjoy a night of stargazing.
6. Rushmore Tramway Adventures, Keystone
This action-packed park is an absolute must-experience this spring or summer. Not only can you witness some spectacular views of Mount Rushmore, you can also enjoy thrilling attractions that include challenge courses, a free-falling tower, the Alpine slide, a scenic chairlift and zip lining.
7. The town of Dimock.
Natalie / Only In Your State
This tiny South Dakota town may not seem like much upon first glance, but It’s home to the oldest cheese plant in South Dakota. In operation since 1931, Dimock Dairy receives all its milk from the locals who provide a product of utmost quality. The result? Delicious, quality-made cheese that is second to none. They have 23 exciting flavors including Aged Cheddar, Habanero, Pepperoni, Salsa, Dill, Chipotle and so much more.
8. Sunday Gulch Trail, Custer State Park.
Accessible from June until October, this lesser-known moderate 4-mile hike is downright lovely. Be sure you bring your camera because the variety of scenery, including waterfalls and rock cliffs, provides for spectacular picture-taking opportunities.
9. Zoom Soda and Candy, Rapid City.
If you’re looking for your classic favorite candy or wanting to try a foreign treat, Zoom Soda and Candy is the place to go to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s okay to let yourself feel like a little kid again as you browse through hundreds of types of sweet treats and soda flavors.
10. Storybook Land, Aberdeen.
Step through the doors and enter a world inspired by your favorite nursery rhymes and fairy tales. With over 65 spectacular exhibits, including the yellow brick road to Munchkin Land, Old Macdonald’s Farm and Captain Hook’s Ship, you could spend all day having a ball in this enchanting park. The best part? Although a fee is required for the rides, admission is free.
11. Great Bear Ski Valley, Sioux Falls.
From skiing and snowboarding to tubing, hiking trails, and more, there’s seriously something for everyone at Great Bear Ski Valley. As one of South Dakota’s top natural attractions, you will have a day filled with excitement and fun. Equipment rentals and various levels of snowboarding and skiing lessons are also available.
12. South Dakota State Fair, Huron.
If you’re craving some fried fair food, carnival rides, and entertainment and activity at every turn, head on over to Huron for South Dakota’s annual state fair this summer. If you’re thinking about camping there this year, you have until March 31st to reserve your spot!
13. Summer Creek Inn, Rapid City.
This adorable bed and breakfast is the perfect place to stay if you’re planning a vacation in the Black Hills. Complete with incredible guest suites, delicious breakfasts and accommodating and welcoming owners, Summer Creek Inn is absolutely fantastic. It’s no wonder why they receive spectacular reviews.
14. Angostura and Sheps Canyon Recreation Area, Hot Springs.
Come here to relax in over 36 miles of pure shoreline, sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters. Spend the weekend relaxing in the warm sunshine or partake in exciting water sports and activities.
15. Spearfish Canyon, south of Spearfish.
If you’re looking for an enchanting day exploring hillsides, limestone cliffs, and breathtaking waterfalls, consider spending a day at Spearfish Canyon. Take advantage of the numerous walking paths and hiking trails or marvel at the nature from the comfort of your car. Highway 14A offers astonishing views of the area.
16. The Back 40, Kimball.
This quirky restaurant nestled along I-90 serves sensational food in an atmosphere that’s impossible not to love. Indulge in breakfast, lunch or supper on their rustic brick courtyard this spring or enjoy their warm and homey indoor dining room this winter.
Have you been to any of these places in our state? What would be your top 3 must-see places for 2017? We would love to hear your plans in the comment section below!