South Dakota Things to Do

  • Lincoln and Washington at Mt Rushmore
    Lincoln and Washington at Mt Rushmore
    by atufft
  • Jefferson at Mt Rushmore
    Jefferson at Mt Rushmore
    by atufft
  • Roosevelt at Mt. Rushmore
    Roosevelt at Mt. Rushmore
    by atufft

South Dakota Things to Do

  • Few thing is this area

    Not only the Mount Rushmore in South Dakota also the Needles Eye and the entire Needles highway are well worth the time. The road is very narrow, but this makes one go slow and enjoy the views.

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  • The Famous Faces at Mount Rushmore

    These Faces of the famous US President: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, being carved on these unknown hidden woods of Mount Rushmore was the product of a weird, gifted, visionary sculptor named Gutzon Borglum who believed that through his work as a single man can change the world without being financially...

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  • Wind Cave National Park

    One of the world's longest and most complex Wind Cave caves and 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa pine forest, and associated wildlife are the main features of the park. The cave is well known for its outstanding display of boxwork, an unusual cave formation composed of thin calcite fins resembling honeycombs. The park's mixed-grass...

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  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

    The *L[http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/216bdd/]Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Visitor Contact Station is open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The tour of the launch facility is interesting and you get go down into the underground bunker.605) 433-5552

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  • Badlands National Park

    You'll be there in the summer, I'm sure, but try for spring or fall. I've been here over a half dozen times, all in the summer, until 2011, when we went in October. It was great. Wonderful scenery all the time, but we could get out and do some hiking. I saw parts of the park that I didn't know existed. Yes, I did, only we never stopped long enough...

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  • Mount Rushmore

    The Memorial is a unique place that's always crowded. The modern parking garage - paired and 4 stories high, give easy access the the park, including those using wheel chairs. The concourse offers great views and an easy approach. Food service and gift shops area readily available. You have to work to get a quiet area to sit and watch, but you'll...

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  • Stage Barn Crystal Cave

    This small cave has some dazzling and unusual rock formations. It's in the Black Hills area. The tour is about an hour long.

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  • Wall Drug

    Just north of the Badlands National Park is a kitschy tourist trap called Wall. This town is best known for Wall Drug, a "drug store", which has an impressive array of off-beat merchandise. With its Western theme, Wall Drug is full of rather corny but entertaining stuff. A good place to stop over for a while when travelling between the Badlands and...

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  • Shrine of Democracy

    Many years ago I was able to see this fantastic creation. I am planning a trip back soon. I went with a large group of people and the sight just inspired silence for a moment. I recomend seeing it just once.

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  • Historical Ruby House Restaurant...

    Over a hundred years ago Ruby Tucker the proprietress had a fine taste for elegance and would bring back with her from the east exquisite furniture and fine china to the Ruby House. It will take you back in time when this area was wild with buffalo hunters, gamblers, and gunfighters. We had a very enjoyable meal here in the evening and in the...

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  • HARNEY PEAK

    Early in the morning or late in the afternoon are both great times to be atop Harney Peak - 7242 feet high, the rooftop of South Dakota. The trails are not difficult, rising through forests from trailheads at Sylvan Lake, Cathedral Peaks and Little Devil's Tower. A small fire suppression reservoir and lookout are found atop the peak. Views extend...

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  • Strike Gold! Tourist Style

    Big Thunder Gold Mine - Keystone, SDAmid all the cheezy attractions in this tourist town, the Big Thunder Gold mine is on the legit side. It is ( or was ) a real gold mine blasted into the rock by two stubborn prospectors.You get a true feel for what drove these pioneers to bury deep into the rocks in search of gold. The mine is easily accessable...

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  • Badlands National Park

    With visions of The Great Dust Bowl and hearty homesteaders trying to eke out an existence in this harsh terrain, it is easy to see why many write off this area as a bleak lifeless place. Life does exist and Native Americans have been doing just that for 11 million years. European settlers did not fare so well aside from unusually high periods of...

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  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial

    Rushmore National Memorial is an impressive sight and most Americans get teary-eyed if they plan an evening visit when the massive 60 foot sculptures are lit up after a special presentation movie heralding America as the land of free. The area surrounding the Memorial is quite pretty and it is no wonder it was a special place for Native Americans...

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  • Black Hills National Forrest

    The Black Hills National Forrest consists of 1.2 million acres in Southwest South Dakota. There are lots of attractions in the area to include several national and state parks. The forest itself has spectacular scenery and several pulloffs, campsites and other places to enjoy it. the granite faced mountains in the area are amongst the oldest in...

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  • Mount Rushmore

    The mountain was originally known by the Lakota Sioux as Six Grandfathers which was part of the route that Lakota leader Black Elk took for a spiritual journey. The area was taken over by the US around 1877 on a claim that is still disputed based on the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. It was named Mount Rushmore during a prospecting expedition by...

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  • Crazy Horse Memorial

    Ziolkowski a sculptor who worked on Mount Rushmore received a letter from Chief Henry Standing Bear in 1939 which stated "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, too. To accomplish this vision Ziolkowski in 1948 began carving the crazy horse memorial into Thunderhead Mountain. This mountain is...

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  • White Prairie Dogs...And Some Historic...

    I briefly mentioned this place - Prairie Homestead - in my introduction to South Dakota but thought I'd use this place to go into more detail. It's a lot of fun.The house and barn, etc. are quite interesting. The houses were built into the side of a hill to conserve building materials and also protect against the nasty weather. As far as I know,...

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  • More on the Badlands National Park

    I described it a little in my Intro to South Dakota but just for a little more detail, it costs to get in to the park but if you have a pass you can get in for free (these passes are pretty cool - one price gets you into as many national parks as you can visit for a year). They give you a map of the park upon entering and then you are free to drive...

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  • The World's Only Corn Palace

    The title "The World's Only Corn Palace" is how they bill this unique structure, which I find hilarious because OF COURSE there's only one, who else but us crazy Americans would think of covering a building in ears of corn?It is a fun place to see, though. This has been going on since 1892 and they change the palace's design every year. They are...

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  • Mt. Rushmore Lighting Ceremony

    The Mt. Rushmore Lighting Ceremony should not be missed. It begins with a park ranger explaining why this site was chosen for the monument along with other information about the area. Then, a movie is shown that explains why each of the presidents were chosen along with a brief history of the nation. After the movie, a "music video" featuring...

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  • Jewel Cave

    Jewel Cave's scenic tour is well worth the time if you happen to be in the area for more than two days. The tour is mildly strenuous and has 723 steps (most of which are down). My two boys aged 5 and 7 had no trouble whatsoever with the tour. You cannot call in advance for reservations except for three days before. We did this and I would highly...

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  • Mount Rushmore

    I confess to being a little dissappointed having just been to see the Crazy Horse Monument but nevertheless would not have wanted to miss this one.

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  • Crazy Horse Monument

    We hadn't really known what to extpect from this visit. It had been no more than a convenient place to visit en route between Hot Springs and Mount Rushmore but I found it quite emotional hearing the history and was in awe of he dedication of the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear who officially started Crazy Horse...

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  • Wild Horse Sanctuary, SD

    There are over 500 horses in the sanctuary but the horses are only part of the attraction of this place. We took a 2 hour bus tour for $50 but it was surprisingly good value. We had an excellent guide who entertained us with the history of the sanctuary as well as the land, it's history (and current use) by American Indians and even the geology.

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  • Mount Rushmore

    This one's easy - If you only visit South Dakota for a day, this is the thing to do. It's the thing you see on TV, and it's the only thing you hear about when you hear about South Dakota. Some of the facts about it's construction are pretty amazing. Plus, the drive to the mountain is very scenic as well.

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  • Crazy Horse Memorial

    We went to Crazy Horse around 7pm to give plenty of time to see everything before the lazer light show. The man at the desk told me everything was open till after the show. This isnt true. If you are planning on eating dinner here, do that first. The resturant and the snack shop both closed before the 9pm show. So we were starving before we left....

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  • Mount Rushmore

    Mt. Rushmore looks bigger in pictures than it really is. It does make you proud to be an American. The walk of flags was really nice. The place is well kept up and clean. The museum was very interesting and informative. I liked it. If you are renting a car check with them about free parking passes. You dont have to pay to get in just to park.

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  • Bear Country

    My family loved this place! We took 3 hours to get thru it. The animals were very active and in good shape. There are alot more animals here than just bears. The baby animals at the end I could have watched longer. Very worth the money

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  • Custer State Park

    A wonderful State Park with lots of wildlife including Buffalo, Elk, Mule Deer and some very forward (and FAT) donkeys..,,Not to mention gorgeous, winding, woodsy roads through rock tunnels and along beautiful cliffs, rock formations and picturesque Sylvan lake.more to come

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  • Badlands National Park

    more to comeuntil I continue, check out my Badlands page!

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  • 1800's Town

    Relocated buildings from the 1800's in one place and it happens to be the same place where Dances With Wolves was filmed.

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  • Badlands National Park

    Badlands National Park is made up of 244,000 acres and was established in 1939. For thousands of years Native Americans hunted this area, but were later displaced by homesteaders. Fossil hunters later discovered the great fossil beds here, and in World War II, the US Army Air Corps pilots from Elsworth Air Force Base had a bombing range at the edge...

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  • Mitchell Corn Palace

    There's not another building on earth quite like the Mitchell Corn Palace.Established in 1892 and originally called "The Corn Belt Exposition" the third and present building was completed 1921. The unique thing about the Corn Palace is that the entire exterior of the building is made of grains grown and harvested by South Dakota growers. They come...

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  • Badlands National Park

    Pioneer settlers called this land "Bad" because it was not good for farming. But it is a very good land for sightseeing, recreation and wildlife. Visitors will find almost a quarter million acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires, blended with the lartgest mixed grass prairie remaining in the United States. This is home to American...

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  • Gold Mine

    We visited the "Big Thunder Gold Mine" in Keystone. This mine did not actually turn out to be a rich mine, but the tour was interesting. It gave a good insight of what life as a gold miner was like when the mine was active. Plus, you get to pan for your own gold after the tour for an extra fee. It was actually difficult, and the gold came in very...

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  • Sioux Falls

    We visited the Falls in Sioux Falls, well, because we were there ( spent the night on the way west) and that is really the only tourist attaction. The falls looked interesting and the park around it was nice.

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  • Badlands

    When we got to the Badlands it was very hot and dry. We did not camp there ( see accomodation tips for details). We went for a small hike up Notch trail. Very scenic, but hot. After the hike, we drove back to the campground to fix dinner, and decided it was just too hot to camp, packed up, and went to the nearest motel a mile away.From all...

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  • Custer State Park

    Named for the now notorious US General George A. Custer (he was first an explorer of the region), the Custer State Park offers interesting views and extensive herds of North American bison. The park should actually be considered a national park but the state of South Dakota wanted to keep greater control. Staying in the cabins in the park...

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  • The Badlands

    A wonderful geological adventure! They are slightly out of the way but well worth it. Just driving through wasn't enough for me. I had to get out and do some hiking through the trail and climb some of the mounds-mountains which remind me of giant termite mounds. The colours of the earth cannot be done justice in photographs. Such incredible views!

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  • A Somber Reminder

    On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on can see the actual site where on 29 December 1890 the U.S. Seventh Calvary massacred 153 of the Lakota Souix, marking the last armed conflict between the USA and the Sioux. Although not usually very emotional and not necessarily a Native American history lover I found this site extremely emotional, almost...

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  • Badlands National Park

    An amazing outcropping of seemingly minuture mountains will greet you after endless miles (and hours) of driving along the ultra-flat plains. We drove the loop between Cactus Flats and Wall in the middle of winter and felt as if we had the park all to ourselves. Sunset was particularly nice as the spires become illuminated in bright orange colours....

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  • Mt. Rushmore

    This is the usually the reason why most people venture to South Dakota in the first place - to see firsthand 4 giant heads carved into a rock. There is a parking fee of $8 but it is good all year. Behind the heads is a popular location for rock climbers wanting to catch an alternate view of the monument.

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  • Storybook Island

    Storybook Island is great park to take kids. First, it has all of their favourite characters blown up beyond life-size; it's as if they are stepping into the world of a fairy tale. Second, its free. Between Storybook Island, Old McDonald's Farm, Bear Country, and Dinosaur Park, the Black Hills area offers an affordable and desirable destination for...

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  • Bear Country USA

    This is something for the kids! If you don't get to Custer, then you could go to Bear Country and drive through a 3-mile wildlife park filled with black bears, buffalo, mountain lions, sheep and one or two grizzlies. I haven't been here since I was a child so I can't comment so much on it, but it's certainly memorable.

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South Dakota Hotels

Top South Dakota Hotels

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South Dakota Things to Do

Reviews and photos of South Dakota things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for South Dakota sightseeing.
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