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Best Tourist Sites in South Dakota

By Edited Sep 19, 2015 0 0

Visting South Dakota?

Make sure you don't miss the best tourist sites in South Dakota when you head that way. Nearly everyone knows that South Dakota is home to the famous Mount Rushmore and we'll assume that you know this, but there are some other simply awesome sites to see in South Dakota that you don't want to miss.

When you visit South Dakota, make sure to allow some extra time to take in these local treasures. They are all located conveniently to I-90 as you work your way through the state.

Badlands National Park

The Badlands of South Dakota are one of the most interesting places in the country. Formed from soft rock and clay eroding over the years, this desolate place is a site to see. These mountains of rock are extraordinary and very colorful too. The park has a road that loops through some of the most picturesque parts, offering all sorts of places to stop and get out of the car for a closer look. Take a spin around highway 240 that goes from Cactus Flat to Wall, joining I-90 on both ends. It is a worthy diversion from the interstate and you can take a hike to get some exercise while traveling. Speaking of Wall, the Wall Drug store is a tourist hangout, though it is little more than a touristy restaurant and gift shop. Still, if you are looking for that you can't go wrong.

Custer State Park

There are few state parks like Custer State Park anywhere you will go. The beauty of this park is not just the plant life that is so common in most state parks across the country. The real beauty of this park is the animals. Here you will see huge herds of buffalo roaming the range, as well as many other animals like prairie dogs, antelope, mountain goats, or even bighorn sheep. For a car ride you will not soon forget, take a spin around the 18 mile Wildlife Loop and you are almost certain to come face-to-face with a huge buffalo or two along the way. You may even have to wait while th herd crosses the road. Custer State Park is about 15 miles south of Mount Rushmore.


For the city slickers that prefer a bit of small city life and a little excitement too, Deadwood is a great place to visit or even stay the night. This restored small town was a hangout to Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, and is the place the Will Bill ultimately met his maker and rests to this day. The town now is hom to many restaurants and casinos, as well as museums and historical sites. For a nice side trip, visit nearby Lead to see the working gold mine and buy some authentic Black Hills Gold. Deadwood is just a short drive off I-90 Northwest of Rapid City.

Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls is a really neat city at the far east end of South Dakota. Here you will find culture, entertainment, natural beauty and nature, and many opportunities for outdoor recreation. The downtown region is in great shape and is home to Falls Park, one of the neatest downtown parks you will ever see. There are museums and sculptures to see, and the St. Joseph Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches anywhere. The Sertoma Butterfly House is a unique spot for the family, and the Great Plains Zoo offers another option for family fun. With plenty of sights and hotels, this is a great place to spend the night.


Other Tourist Sites in South Dakota



There is so much to see and do in South Dakota that you could easily spend a couple of weeks there and not do it all. Traveling along I-90 through the state is one of the best road trip ideas around. The list above is the best of the best, but here are some other worthy tourist stops in Sound Dakota.

Corn Palace - Mitchell (1 hour west of Sioux Falls) - The palace is decorated each year in a unique design made completely of corn. The arena is home to many events throughout the year, so entertainment is also a possibility.

Caves of the Black Hills - Wind Cave and Jewell Cave are huge caves that you can enter on a guided tour not far from Custer in the Black Hills. Both are worth seeing and are not your average cave tours.

Crazy Horse is the next gigantic sculpture in the Black Hills to rival Mount Rushmore, though it may take forever to complete. It's worth a drive-by if you are in the area.

Needles Highway is a simply awesome drive through some of the coolest topography in the state. You can also get out at the top and take a hike around a mountaintop lake in a setting you may not believe. This is as close to nature as you can get while staying in the car.

When you arrive in the state, make sure you take time for some of these stops along the way. They are the best tourist sites in South Dakota.



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