Springtime in South Dakota is a must-see, as cherry blossoms abound, warm and gentle breezes begin to blow, and the state morphs into a series of new colors. Where does one go to get the most out of this beautiful time of year? We recommend checking out one or all of these 11 places you absolutely must visit in South Dakota this spring:
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:
For a South Dakota hike that is a beautiful as it is historic, there is no better place to be than Spokane; a once profitable mining town that was virtually deserted by the 1940s. While you will not come across any residents during your hike, you will find lots of well-preserved houses and buildings, plus a ton of other unexpected surprises! (Spokane can be found by taking Iron Mountain Road to Forest Service Rd 330, turning north, and looking for the marked Forest Service trail located shortly after the turn.)
Address: East Custer, SD, 57744
2. Badlands National Park
The Badlands are a no-brainer any time of year, but they really come to life during the spring, as the ground sprouts colorful wildflowers that must be seen (and smelled!) to be believed. Pro tip: Pack your camera, hiking shoes, and a picnic... you're going to need them all!
Address: 20640 SD Highway 377, Interior, SD, 57750
3. Chapel in the Hills (Rapid City)
If you are craving a little more peace and tranquility in your life, you NEED Chapel in the Hills, which houses not only the iconic church, but a charming museum, prayer walk, and Scandinavian-inspired gift shop as well.
Address: 3788 Chapel Lane, Rapid City, SD, 57702
4. Black Hills Maze (Rapid City)
Need something else to do while you're visiting Rapid? Get lost! No, seriously: get lost in the Black Hills Maze, which consists of 1.2 miles of unpredictable twists, turns, bridges, and stairs.
Address: 6400 US-16, Rapid City, SD, 57701
5. McCrory Gardens (Brookings)
Springtime and beautiful blooms go hand and hand, which is where the hidden McCrory Gardens come in! Managed by South Dakota State University, the gardens house 25 acres of vibrant gorgeousness, the most famous of which are the pictured tulips!
Address: 631 22nd Avenue, Brookings, SD, 57007
6. Candyland (Rapid City)
Since Candyland is only open seasonally (April through October), you have our permission to splurge on their hundreds of different kinds of candies for 5 straight months. You're welcome.
Address: 23835 Mill Iron Drive, Rapid City, SD, 57702
7. Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour (Custer)
Do you want an up-close look at some of our native wildlife? You have come to the right place! Departing daily, the Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour takes its guests through Custer State Park, where they will see countless bighorn sheep, burros, and - you guessed it - buffalo.
Address: 13389 US Highway 16a, Custer, SD, 57730
8. '50s Train Diner (Midland)
Beginning Memorial Day, you can once again dine at the 1880 Town's '50s Train Diner; a vintage 1950 Santa Fe Train-turned-restaurant that serves up the best hot breakfast, burgers, and sandwiches! (Psst... save room for dessert, as they serve homemade pie as good as grandma's.)
Address: 24280 SD Highway 63, Midland, SD, 57552
9. Mitchell Corn Palace (Mitchell)
I mean, if you haven't seen the Corn Palace's 2019 theme, you may as well see it while the weather is cooperative!
Address: 604 N Main Street, Mitchell, SD, 57301
10. Rushmore Tramway Adventures (Keystone)
Do you need a little more adventure in your life? The aptly named Rushmore Tramway Adventures has just that, with such attractions as an alpine slide, aerial park, zip lines and more!
Address: 203 Cemetery Road, Keystone, SD, 57751
11. Ingalls Homestead (De Smet)
What better way to end this list than by mentioning South Dakota's most beloved attractions: the Ingalls Homestead! Located in the same spot as Ingalls' home, the Homestead (or "Laura's Living Prairie") offers such unique activities as covered wagon rides, jump rope and doll making, and class in an old one-room schoolhouse.
Address: 20812 Homestead Road, De Smet, SD, 57231