Interesting Facts About South Dakota

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
April 6, 2023
Table of Contents

South Dakota's Highlights

South Dakota is often underestimated, but those who reside in the state refer to it as "the land of infinite variety." This state has really made a name for itself mainly because life is less expensive there when compared to other states in the U.S.

There are a variety of services that this state offers cheaply. Variety in the state of South Dakota is evident in every aspect of everyday life. The weather, scenery, economy, famous folks, and state symbols all play their part in making the city worth visiting.

Looking at the 50 states of the United States, South Dakota is the 16th largest. This state was the 40th to join the federation in 1889. Its area is about 77,123 square miles. On average, there are ten people per square mile. Below you will find interesting facts about South Dakota. 

Geography Of The State

The eastern side of South Dakota has sprawling prairies, glacial lakes, and fertile farmland, which add to its beauty. The east area has fewer landscapes comparatively. The ranchlands and prairies are more common in central South Dakota. Mountains grace the western skyline of the state—the striking badlands to the southwest rise from the surrounding prairies.

A highlighting feature in the geology of this state is the Missouri River that runs centrally through the southeastern areas of the state. The northeastern area of South Dakota is covered gracefully by the lakes, which formed from the retreating of glaciers thousands of years ago.

Climate And Weather Of The State

There are usually four distinct seasons in South Dakota. They are:

  • Mild weather with showers in spring
  • Summers have sunshine, warm temperatures, and a bit of humidity
  • Fall is accompanied by crisp, cool evenings
  • Mild to extreme cold in winters

The Missouri River divides South Dakota into two halves. The eastern half of the state experiences regular humidity along with precipitation. The western half, on the other hand, experiences dry conditions.

Location Of The State

South Dakota is situated in the upper middle region of the United States on the North American continent. To the east are Minnesota and Iowa, Nebraska to the south, to the west are Wyoming and Montana, and the north side has North Dakota.

Interstate 90 runs from Minnesota to Wyoming, east to west. From the north to the south, on the eastern side of South Dakota, runs Interstate 29 from North Dakota towards Iowa.

The Economy Of The State

In terms of the economic outlook, the state is the 10th strongest. Various factors play a role in the prosperous economy of this state. South Dakota has a strong agricultural base. It stands among the top 10 states in the U.S., famous for producing sunflowers, honey, corn, wheat, soybeans, rye, cattle, and hay.

Almost two billion dollars come into the state yearly through tourism. Moreover, the service, retail, trade, and manufacturing sectors employ a significant segment of the labor force.

Key Attractions Of The State

A vacation in South Dakota is a great way to spend quality time with your family. You can find numerous Black Hill attractions in this state. From hiking to shopping, the state has something to offer people of every age. Some of the key attractions in South Dakota are as follows:

Black Hills

If you ever get the privilege to go for a vacation in South Dakota with your family or friends, you should never miss sightseeing nature at its best in the black hills of South Dakota. This attraction consists of landscapes and various other essential features. They offer views that you won't find anywhere else in the world. So, whenever you visit this place, do not miss the Black Hill's attractions during your stay.

Road Trips

Almost everyone grows up listening to stories of a great American road trip, and all of us want to take it once in our lives. When you travel across South Dakota in your car with friends or family, you get a chance to view the beautiful sites around you. Some notable routes you can take on your visit to South Dakota are as follows:

  • Northern hills road trip
  • Central hills road trip
  • Custer state park road trip 
  • Southern hills road trip

National Parks

National parks add to the beauty and attractions in the state of South Dakota. There are six national parks, including the service sites designated by the U.S. National Park Service.

The six most significant parks in South Dakota are as follows:

  • Badlands National Park 
  • Jewel Cave National Monument 
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site 
  • Missouri National Recreational River 
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial 
  • Wind Cave National Park

Mount Rushmore

Impressions created by photographs and videos make people think that the mountain is massive; however, it is not that big in real life. Local Indian tribes opposed the sculpturing of Mount Rushmore, but the majority of Americans in the state favored it. Local tribespeople went up the mountain to protest and stayed there for almost three months. They did not want to come down, but the weather became harsh, forcing them to leave the mountain.

Artists carved the granite that forms the bulk of Mount Rushmore using dynamite. It made the carving easier by up to 90%. The sculpting was done by 400 workers. Most people know this mountain as Mount Rushmore. However, Rushmore is not its original name. Mount Rushmore is known to the Lakota Sioux as “The Six Grandfathers” and “Cougar Mountain.”

The sculptures of former presidents carved on Mount Rushmore are not completed yet. Behind the monuments of Mount Rushmore, there is a deep cave. The sculptures of the four presidents represent part of the history of South Dakota. They also serve as an attraction to tourists. Mount Rushmore is one of the strongest and sturdiest sculptures in the world.

What Else About South Dakota?

If you are seriously considering spending your vacations in South Dakota, these fun facts can help you turn your plan into a decision.

Sioux Falls 

Sioux Falls is the most extensive city in South Dakota. Visitors who decide to venture into this city can enjoy every aspect of its beauty. It has all the fun attractions and amenities of a big city. This city is located on the banks of the Big Sioux River and the grand prairie of the Great Plains. Due to its location, the city offers visitors the chance to enjoy all of the natural wonders of nature.

Great Shoreline

The landscape of South Dakota is filled with winding rivers with crystal clear waters and glacial lakes. South Dakota has more miles of shoreline than Florida.


Camping is an important and enjoyable activity loved by nearly all Americans. It is the most popular recreational activity, with the camping industry generating billions of dollars in revenue each year.

Crazy Horse Mountain Carving

If South Dakotans somehow complete the Crazy Horse Memorial, it will become the world's most enormous sculpture. It is a gigantic sculpture being carved into the side of the mountain. It has been under construction since 1948, although people think workers will never finish it.

Famous People

A number of South Dakotans have played their roles in life very well and are famous throughout the world. In this category are leaders, politicians, entertainers, news anchors, artists, authors, and Native Americans who have contributed to the prosperity and popularity of South Dakota. 

Make South Dakota Your Home

South Dakota has a lot to offer. The climate, geography, attractions, location, and economy are some of the best aspects of the state. If you are still not sure, visit the state and experience it for yourself, or talk to friends, loved ones, and family who have been there to share their experiences.

You could also talk to experts who understand the uniqueness of each state in the U.S to advise you on the concerns you may have for you to decide whether it can be your home. Should you be concerned about relocating, reach out to a professional residency services provider as they can assist you throughout the process.

Sign up for Residency in South Dakota