What Attractions Are In South Dakota?

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

Nestled in the heart of the Great Plains, South Dakota is a state with a rich history, stunning natural beauty, and abundant outdoor activities. With its vast prairies, rolling hills, and rugged terrain, South Dakota offers visitors a chance to experience the beauty of the American West firsthand.

South Dakota has something for everyone, from world-renowned national parks to historic landmarks and cultural attractions. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at a couple of the top attractions in South Dakota and why you should add this state to your travel bucket list.

South Dakota's Tourist attractions

Natural attractions

South Dakota boasts a variety of natural wonders that will leave you amazed. Here are some of the top natural attractions to explore:

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a geological wonder with unique rock formations, canyons, and prairies. It is in the southwest corner of South Dakota. The park is home to various wildlife, including bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs.

Hiking trails, the Badlands Loop Road, and ranger-led programs are all options for visitors looking to learn more about the past and geology of the park.

Custer State Park

Custer State Park is a nature lover's paradise in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The park covers over 71,000 acres and features a diverse landscape of forests, grasslands, and mountains.

In addition to taking scenic drives through the park's wildlife loop to see bison, elk, and other wildlife up close, visitors can hike the park's beautiful paths and go fishing or boating in one of the many lakes.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

No trip to South Dakota is complete without a visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The faces of four U.S. presidents are carved into the granite side of this famous landmark.

Visitors can participate in one of the park's numerous events and activities, take a ranger-led tour of the monument, or hike the Presidential Trail to get a closer look at the sculptures.

Black Hills National Forest

Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, the Black Hills National Forest is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The forest features scenic drives, hiking trails, camping areas, and opportunities for hunting and fishing. Visitors can also explore the forest's many historic sites, including gold mines and ghost towns.

Wind Cave National Park

Located in southwestern South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park is home to one of the longest and most complex caves worldwide. To learn more about the park's past and wildlife, visitors can hike the park's trails, take guided tours of the cave, or participate in several ranger-led events.

Historical and cultural attractions

South Dakota is rich in history and culture, and these top historical and cultural attractions are a must-visit:

Crazy Horse Memorial

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a massive mountain carving that honors the Native American warrior and leader Crazy Horse. Located in the Black Hills, it is one of the largest sculptures in the world. To learn more about Native American culture and history, visitors can walk the memorial, attend a cultural event, or visit the museum and galleries.


Once a lawless frontier town, Deadwood is now a National Historic Landmark that preserves the town's colorful history. Visitors can learn about the town's history at places like the Mount Moriah Cemetery, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried, or try their luck at one of the town's many casinos.

Historic Downtown Rapid City

Rapid City's historic downtown district is a vibrant shopping, dining, and entertainment hub. The area features colorful street art installations, unique shops, and art galleries.

South Dakota visitors can also explore the city's many museums and galleries, which showcase the area's rich history and culture.

Mammoth Site of Hot Springs

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs is a unique paleontological dig site that features the remains of over 60 mammoths. Visitors can check out the museum, take a guided tour of the site, or take part in a dig to learn more about the area's prehistoric past.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

The (MMNHS) Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is a unique place to visit that remembers the Cold War. It is close to the Badlands National Park. South Dakota visitors can take a guided tour of the site, look at the missile silo and launch control facility, and learn about how vital the Minuteman missile system was to American defense planning during the Cold War.

The Journey Museum and Learning Center

Located in Rapid City, The Journey Museum and Learning Center is an interactive museum that tells the story of the Black Hills region. The museum has displays about geology, paleontology, Native American culture, and the history of mining in the area. Visitors can also participate in hands-on activities and demonstrations.

The Corn Palace

Located in Mitchell, the Corn Palace is a unique attraction that features murals made entirely of corn. The palace hosts events and concerts annually and has become a popular tourist destination.

The National Music Museum

Located in Vermillion, the National Music Museum is home to over 15,000 musical instruments from around the world. There are rare and old instruments in the museum's collection, as well as interactive displays and hands-on activities for visitors.

Outdoor activities

South Dakota is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Regardless of whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely bike ride, the state has something for everyone. Here are some top outdoor activities to try in South Dakota:

Hiking and camping

South Dakota has several state parks and recreation areas where you can go hiking or camping. From the rugged terrain of the Badlands to the lush forests of the Black Hills, there are plenty of scenic trails to explore.

Some of the top hiking destinations in the state include Custer State Park, the Mickelson Trail, and the Needles of the Black Hills. Camping options range from primitive tent sites to RV hookups and cabins.

Fishing and hunting

South Dakota is known for its excellent fishing and hunting opportunities. The state has over 1,000 lakes and streams stocked with fish, including trout, walleye, and bass. Hunters can also enjoy varieties of game, including deer, pheasants, and waterfowl.

Rock climbing and bouldering

The granite peaks and cliffs of the Black Hills offer some of the country's best rock climbing and bouldering. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Sylvan Lake, and the Cathedral Spires are all popular places to climb. Climbers with a lot of experience can take on challenging routes, while those just starting can take a guided tour or go to a climbing clinic.

Biking and cycling

South Dakota has a variety of biking and cycling trails that offer scenic views and challenging terrain. The Mickelson Trail, a converted rail trail, spans over 100 miles through the Black Hills and offers a variety of riding options for all skill levels. Other popular biking destinations include the George S. Mickelson Trail, the Centennial Trail, and the Riverfront Trail in Sioux Falls.

Winter sports

South Dakota may be known for its hot summers, but it also has plenty of winter activities to enjoy. The Black Hills offer excellent snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing opportunities. You can also ski downhill and snowboard at Terry Peak Ski Area and Mystic Miner Ski Resort.

Consult a South Dakota Residency Expert

South Dakota is a truly marvelous destination that offers something for everyone. From natural wonders like Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore to historical sites like the Crazy Horse Memorial and Deadwood, there is no shortage of sights to see and do in this beautiful state.

South Dakota also has a lot of hiking, biking, and winter sports that people who like being outside will enjoy. If you're considering a move to South Dakota, there are many benefits to becoming a resident, including a low cost of living, excellent schools, and a friendly, welcoming community.

So why not make South Dakota your new home? Consider talking to a reliable South Dakota residency company with several years of experience and a dedication to customer satisfaction; they can help make your move to South Dakota as smooth and stress-free as possible.

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