Despite our crazy winters and unpredictable weather, South Dakota is the shining star of the midwest. In fact, “Great faces, great places” is so much more than a state slogan, as it rings true of the people and pride of those who are lucky enough to call this state home. All of this being said, here are 20 reasons why South Dakota is the best state in the country:
We're aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we're continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Mount Rushmore
Four of the United States’ greatest presidents carved into stone. Need I say more?
Address: 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751
2. Four Seasons
This isn't a Frankie Valli reference, folks, as South Dakota truly has four beautiful seasons. Weather ranges from wintertime snow to spring thunderstorms to the sunny days of summer and then the jaw-dropping changing of the leaves in fall. Do you really need anymore reasons to love South Dakota?!
3. Lightning Bugs
In the summer, just after dark, lightning bugs can be spotted by the thousands. They light up the prairie and they’ll win over your heart.
4. Potato Oles
The crispiest, most flavorful, seasoned Tex-Mex potato bite you will ever eat.
5. Small Town Vibe
Everyone knows everyone. Literally. It's one of the many joys of living in a state with less than 1,000,000 people.
6. East River Prairie and West River Hills
South Dakota is split in half by the Missouri River. On the east side of the river you will find rolling prairies, and on the west side you will find the Black Hills National Forest.
7. Hot Air Balloons
In the summer, hot air balloons can be seen for miles, making it one of our favorite things to do in South Dakota.
8. Baby Bears
Fall in love with South Dakota and these baby bears! Once a year, Bear Country, located in Rapid City, lets you pet their baby bear cubs. The rest of the summer, you are able to drive through the park to view the adult bears in their natural habitat.
Address: 13820 US-16, Rapid City, SD 57702
9. Free Music Festivals
Another thing to love about South Dakota is that it is truly a state that values music. You can find free music all summer long at JazzFest, LifeLight Music Festival, and Hills Alive Music Festival. Not only do all of these offer free admission, but also days worth of live music!
10. Winter Sports
From snow shoeing to cross country skiing to snowboarding, you can do it all in South Dakota. (Eat your heart out, Colorado!)
11. Low Cost of Living
Residents of South Dakota boast about the benefits of the low cost of living. Why? Well, if you really need a reason, spending less on rent and taxes means more time and money to explore the rest of the beautiful state!
12. Booming Small Business Economy
If you are looking to start your own business, South Dakota is a great place to do it, thanks to the aforementioned low costs and overhead.
13. State Pride
People who live in South Dakota, love South Dakota. (If you need more reasons to love South Dakota, we got 'em!)
14. Great Coffee
Coffee lovers, look no further, as South Dakota has one of the world’s greatest coffee shops! Coffea, located in Sioux Falls, roasts their own award winning coffee, making it a MUST when visiting South Dakota.
Address: 2318 South Louise Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57106
For all of you antique lovers, this is your state, thanks to thrift stores galore; many of them with low, low prices on all the unique junk you’ve been hunting for!
Perhaps the shining star of South Dakota is Badlands National Park. Encompassing 244,000 acres, the park serves as a refuge for bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black footed ferrets. The perfect destination for hiking, camping, and photo ops.
25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, SD 57750
17. Bagel Boy
Located only in Sioux Falls, SD, Bagel Boy may well serve the best bagel you'll ever eat. Best of all, these homemade bagels are piled high with cream cheese.
Address: 2505 South Minnesota Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57105
18. Unbeatably Fresh Farmer's Markets
Farmer's Markets run from spring through fall in South Dakota. Even better? Being an agricultural state means the produce is fresh off the farm!
19. See for Miles
Whether East River on the prairie or West River on Harney’s Peak, you can truly enjoy the landscape for miles upon miles. Just another thing to love with South Dakota.
20. Rich History
South Dakota has so much to offer in the present day. Its rich history only adds to the awe and wonder of such a beautiful state. The state holds stories of Lewis & Clark, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Crazy Horse, finding gold and more.
How did we do, South Dakota? Did we miss any of your favorite things about our magnificent state? Let us know in the comments!