There are plenty of exciting wonders and cultural activities in lovely South Dakota! From exploring the Black Hills region, embarking on a rigorous hike or simply indulging in our regional foods, many adventures await. Whether you are a state native or just passing through, you have to be sure to cross these 17 things off your checklist.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Hike Black Elk Peak.
Located in the Black Hills, Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in the state. Hike this mountain range for a spectacular view of the dramatic landscapes below.
2. Attend the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.
Hosted every year, the organizer’s mission is to offer a family environment that supports youth, achievement, agriculture and community. The free entertainment is a big plus too.
3. Eat macaroons at CH Patisserie.
If you visit the heart of downtown Sioux Falls, you can’t miss out on this European-
inspired eatery. Owned by Top Chef’s season two winner Chris Hammer, CH Patisserie has what
some call “the best French macaroons in the United States.”
4. Stay at Bullock Hotel in Deadwood.
It's hard to deny how breathtaking this historic, Victorian hotel is built by Seth Bullock in 1895. If you love old school charm, your stay in the heart of Deadwood will exceed your expectations.
5. Experience LifeLight.
Facebook / LifeLight
LifeLight originated in 1998 on a local church lawn. Today, it is an annual Christian music festival held on Labor Day weekend near Worthing. Expanding across 6 stages, nearly 32,000 people attend this free concert each year.
6. Visit Crazy Horse Memorial.
Construction on this memorial began on 1948 as a tribute to Crazy Horse, the leader of the Oglala Lakota tribe who fought to preserve the land and culture of the Lakota people. Although it’s not yet completed, the Crazy Horse Memorial is a must see.
7. Hike the George S. Mickelson Trail.
If you love outdoor adventure, then you would love hiking, biking, or horseback riding this 109-mile trail in the Black Hills area.
8. See Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Homestead in De Smet.
Learn all about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life as a pioneer on the state’s tall grass prairie. Visitors can explore the one-room schoolhouse and even try driving the covered wagon.
9. Savor the beauty of the Pinnacles Overlook.
Pinnacles Overlook is the point of entrance to the Badlands just north on Highway 240. Stop here for a truly picturesque view of the towers, buttes and steep canyons.
10. See Mt. Rushmore.
Let’s face it, you can’t visit South Dakota without marveling at this iconic national memorial.
11. Eat chislic.
Chislic, deep-fat fried or grilled bite-sized chunks of sheep meat served on wooden skewers, can only be found in southeastern South Dakota.
12. Bike the Sioux Falls Bike Trail.
The Sioux Falls bike trail is essentially a 26-mile loop around the city. The city parks and green spaces throughout provide perfect opportunities for picnic breaks.
13. Sleep under the stars.
Sometimes there’s just nothing better than open spaces and spectacular starry skies.
14. Visit The Terry Redlin Art Center.
You could spend hours exploring Terry Redlin’s art gallery. As an American artist famous for his depictions of wildlife, Redlin’s masterpieces are astonishing.
15. Visit Falls Park during the Christmas Season.
Falls Park is located in Sioux Falls where 7,400 gallons of the Sioux River drop over 100 feet each second. As if it isn’t beautiful enough, the park is utterly jaw-dropping during the holiday season.
16. Experience Schmeckfest.
Schmeckfest, or “festival of tasting,” occurs annually in the small Mennonite community of Freeman. The experience includes a musical production, family-style dining, food/craft demonstrations and more!
17. Stop at Wall Drug.
As one of the world’s most popular tourist stops, you can’t miss out on this roadside gem that attracts over one million visitors each year. Be sure to try the Wall Drug donut shop famous for their homemade donuts and rolls!
What’s on your South Dakota bucket list? Let us know what we missed in the comments!