10 Staggeringly Beautiful Places In South Dakota That Will Always Be Waiting For You
South Dakota is known to be wide open and beautiful, but some places still manage to stand out from others as being the best of the best. Though travel may be at a halt for the time being (a la #stayhomestaysafe), you can rest easy knowing that our most celebrated landmarks and attractions will always be waiting for you, including:
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 National Memorial (Keystone)
You know we couldn't begin this list without mentioning Mount Rushmore, which is not only one of the most beloved landmarks in South Dakota but in the country! No matter the circumstance or weather, Mount Rushmore will forever be a beacon of hope, history, and patriotism in America.
2. Badlands National Park
Arguably the most beautiful spot in all of SoDak is the Badlands, which was formed by geologic forces of deposition and erosion some 69 million years ago. Whether you hike, drive, or bike, you will never forget your visit(s) to these stunning buttes and pinnacles!
3. Wind Cave National Park (Hot Springs)
Billed as being one of the oldest national parks in America, Wind Cave was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and spans 33,847 acres. Not only is the Wind Cave historical but it is also the 6th-longest cave in the world (140 miles) and houses 95% of the world's discovered boxwork formations.
4. Crazy Horse Memorial (Custer County)
Its been under construction since 1948, but Crazy Horse is still a fantastic sight to see! Spanning 641 feet long and 563 feet high, Crazy Horse is a one-of-a-kind memorial for an Oglala Lakota warrior of the same name who stood up to the government while trying to protect his people and their land.
5. Bear Country USA (Rapid City)
If you love animals, you already know that there is no better place to be than Bear Country USA, a "unique drive-thru wildlife park in the Black Hills of South Dakota." Opened in 1972, Bear Country USA is a sanctuary for orphaned wildlife and is home to everything from wolves to elk to - you guessed it! - bears.
6. Ingalls Homestead (De Smet)
Located in De Smet, the Ingalls Homestead is a must-visit for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her iconic
Little House on the Prairie books. When you visit, you will discover not only a tranquil oasis on plains but old-time crafts and activities, camping, and covered wagon rides.
7. Falls Park (Sioux Falls)
For a peaceful afternoon in the big city, there is no beating Falls Park, which is home to not only the tallest waterfall in SoDak but beautiful trails, an observation tower, and places to eat.
8. Butterfly House & Aquarium (Sioux Falls)
Located just down the street from Falls Park, the Butterfly House & Aquarium is a favorite for all ages, thanks to its 1,000+ colorful butterflies and 10,000 gallons worth of aquariums. Tip: Do you need a tropical vacation but can't garner the funds? The Butterfly House & Aquarium may just trick you into thinking you have left the Mount Rushmore State for a fabulous Hawaiian vacation!
9. Spearfish Canyon (Spearfish)
It's a gorgeous waterfall! It's a dramatic canyon! It's an unforgettable hike! It's... all of the above and more! Created 30 to 60 million years ago, Spearfish Canyon is a year-round landmark that you will want to visit time and again.
10. Custer State Park (Custer)
Do you want a home where the buffalo roam, and where the deer and the antelope play? Look no further than Custer State Park, a protected 71,000 acres that are home to thousands of buffalo, donkeys, and bighorn sheep, plus trails and other outdoor recreational opportunities.
Which of these spots will you visit first? Let us know in the comments! For even more places you will want to see, click on
15 Unforgettable Things You Must Add To Your South Dakota Summer Bucket List. Address: Mt Rushmore, Mount Rushmore UT, SD 57751, USA Address: Crazy Horse, SD 57730, USA Address: South Dakota, USA Address: E Falls Park Dr, Sioux Falls, SD, USA Address: South Dakota, USA Address: 13400 US, US-16A, Custer, SD 57730, USA Address: 4320 S Oxbow Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57106, USA Address: Spearfish, SD, USA Address: 20812 Homestead Rd, De Smet, SD 57231, USA Address: 13820 US-16, Rapid City, SD 57702, USA