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SOUTH DAKOTA TRAVEL GUIDE

Yellow Mounds Overlook, Badlands National Park, South Dakota Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota Mitchell Corn Palace, South Dakota

Welcome to the Bigroads.com travel guide to South Dakota! Hopefully this page and its information helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to South Dakota.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons


OVERVIEW



South Dakota instantly became one of my favorite states after I first visited it in 2003. I've been back a few times since, and I'm just about ready to go back again. What really draws me to the state is the Black Hills region in the western side of the state. The scenery and wildlife is fantastic, and there's plenty of tourist attractions too. I think spending a week in the Black Hills is something every American family should do at some point.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in South Dakota. I believe each of these attractions should be on your South Dakota bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Western South Dakota (including the Black Hills region and Rapid City)
ATV/ORV-ing in the Black Hills - there are thousands of miles of off-road trails and many rental companies to choose from in the region
Bear Country USA, Rapid City - excellent drive-thru wildlife park featuring North American animals
Big Thunder Gold Mine, Keystone - one of several gold mine-themed attractions in the Black Hills; underground mine tours and gold panning
Black Elk Peak, Custer - highpoint of South Dakota; moderately challenging hike to a large stone tower with fantastic views of the Black Hills
Black Hills Balloons, Custer - hot air ballooning with spectacular views of the Black Hills
Black Hills National Forest - 300-plus miles of hiking and backpacking trails; dozens of campgrounds; outstanding ATV/ORV trails
Black Hills Helicopters, Keystone - helicopter rides with outstanding views of the Black Hills
Broken Boot Gold Mine, Deadwood - one of several gold mine-themed attractions in the Black Hills; underground mine tours and gold panning
Chapel In The Hills, Rapid City - beautiful Norwegian stave church
Custer State Park - one of the top 10 state parks in the U.S.: outstanding wildlife viewing (e.g. bison); don't miss Sylvan Lake; great hiking trails
Downtown Deadwood - historic district with several casinos, shops and restaurants; best for adults (not all that family-friendly in my opinion)
Downtown Rapid City - historic district with shops, restaurants, parks, and more
Fort Hays Old West Town & Dinner Show, Rapid City - famed music & comedy dinner show, similar to those in Branson or Pigeon Forge
George S. Mickelson Trail - one of the best rail trails in the U.S. (and the best in SD); unpaved 108+ mile route from Deadwood to Edgemont
Iron Mountain Road (US-16A), Custer - one of the best scenic drives in SD; extremely curvy with pigtail bridges and one-lane tunnels
Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer - one of the longest caves in the world; guided tours available
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, Hot Springs - amazing mammoth fossils (left intact in the ground)
McDonald's Quarter Pounder Monument, Rapid City - roadside attraction of a giant Quarter Pounder
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone - famous presidential attraction; a must-visit American attraction; can be visited day or night
Needles Eye, Custer - famous geologic formation on the paved Needles Highway scenic drive
Needles Highway (SD 87), Custer - one of the best scenic drives in the state (some would say its one of the best in the U.S.)
Reptile Gardens, Rapid City - perhaps the finest reptile-focused zoo in the world
Rush Mountain Adventure Park, Keystone - cave tours, mountain coaster, aerial adventure park, zip-lining, and more family-friendly activities
Rushmore Tramway Adventures, Keystone - alpine slide, aerial adventure park, zip-lining, and more family-friendly attractions
Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, Lead - mining history and views of the deepest gold mine in the northern hemisphere
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A) - one of the best scenic drives in the state; access to several good waterfalls and hiking trails
Storybook Island, Rapid City - great amusement park for young children
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - most famous motorcycle rally in the U.S.; typically held in early August; 500,000+ attendees is the norm
Tatanka: Story of the Bison, Deadwood - bison and Native American exhibits, sculptures, and art
Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway, Custer - outstanding wildlife watching (bison sightings are almost guaranteed)
Wind Cave National Park - great guided cave tours are offered daily in season; outstanding wildlife viewing (e.g. bison) and good hiking trails

Central South Dakota (including Wall and Badlands National Park)
Badlands National Park - outstanding prairie & badlands scenery; fantastic day hikes and camping; backpacking in Sage Creek Wilderness
Dignity of Earth and Sky, Chamberlain - giant sculpture of an Indigenous woman on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River
Giant Prairie Dog, Philip - roadside attraction and a fun photo-op
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Philip - tour a Cold War-era ICBM missile system
Petrified Wood Park & Museum, Lemmon - roadside attraction built of beautiful petrified wood
Roberts Prairie Dog Town, Badlands National Park - one of the best places to see prairie dogs in the state
Wall Drug Store, Wall - perhaps the world's most famous gift shop; many fun photo-ops; not everyone will enjoy this tourist trap

Eastern South Dakota (including Aberdeen and Sioux Falls)
Catfish Bay Water Ski Park - Greatest Show on H2O, Sioux Falls - one of the best and most famous water skiing shows in the U.S.
Corn Palace, Mitchell - roadside attraction featuring a large, funky building with siding made of real corn; several good photo-ops
Falls Park, Sioux Falls - beautiful urban park featuring impressive waterfalls
Ingalls Homestead, De Smet - learn about the famous author and farm life
National Music Museum, Vermillion - celebrates all things music & instruments
Porter Sculpture Park, Montrose - 50+ art sculptures in an outdoor park; great photo-ops
SculptureWalk & Arc of Dreams Monument, Sioux Falls - urban walk past numerous art sculptures
Sioux Falls Bike Trails, Sioux Falls - nearly 30 miles of paved, multi-use pathways that link the city's many parks and green spaces
St. Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls - very attractive Catholic cathedral and parish church
Storybook Land, Aberdeen - Wizard & Oz and nursery rhyme themed-park for young children

You may notice that I have omitted Crazy Horse Memorial in my 5-star attractions list above. This is because no noticeable progress has been made on the carving in the last few decades. Many folks feel that this attraction is just a giant money grab instead of an actual honor to Crazy Horse.

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in South Dakota? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in South Dakota? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in South Dakota, in no particular order:

Spend a week (or more) in the Black Hills region, an area absolutely packed with tourist attractions and outdoor activities
Drive the park roads and wander the trails of Badlands National Park
Visit Mt. Rushmore, both during the day and while lit up at night
Visit Falls Park in Sioux City and then ride some of the city's paved bike trails
Cycle part or all of the 106-mile George S. Mickelson unpaved rail trail from Deadwood to Edgemont
See wild buffalo and donkey's in Custer State Park
Go underground at Jewel Cave National Monument or Wind Cave National Park
Drive the Needles Highway in Custer
Shop at the gigantic Wall Drug store in Wall (near Badlands National Park)
Photograph the Corn Palace in Mitchell, one of the icons of roadside America

If I could pick only one place to visit in South Dakota, I would choose the Black Hills. If you've never been, I recommend staying for at least 5-7 days. You may even want to consider staying for up to 10 days. There's really that much to see and do there, especially for families. It's absolutely one of my favorite areas of the country, very comparable to the fun you can have in the White Mountains region of NH or the Great Smoky Mountains area of TN/NC.

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN SOUTH DAKOTA



These towns and cities in South Dakota are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Deadwood - historic buildings; several gambling parlors; wild-west history; one of best rail trails in the US (Mickelson)
Hill City - gateway to the Black Hills region, including Mt. Rushmore & Custer State Park; several gift shops and tourist attractions
Keystone - gateway to the Black Hills region, including Mt. Rushmore & Custer State Park; several gift shops and tourist attractions
Rapid City - gateway to the Black Hills region, including Mt. Rushmore & Custer State Park; historic downtown area; several good museums
Sioux Falls - famous for its urban waterfall park and 30+ miles of paved bike trails

My favorite city in South Dakota is Rapid City - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 3-4 nights here to explore the city and the surrounding area; you should also consider a day trip to Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming if you stay here

My favorite small town in South Dakota is Hill City or Keystone - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 5-7 nights here to explore all that the Black Hills region has to offer

If you like cycling, visit Deadwood or Sioux Falls.
If you like gambling, visit Deadwood.
If you like hiking, visit Hill City or Keystone.
If you like ATV/ORV-ing, visit Custer, Deadwood, Keystone, or Spearfish.
If you like family-friendly tourist attractions, visit Hill City, Keystone, or Wall.
If you want to tour a gold mine, visit Deadwood or Keystone.
If you want to visit Mt. Rushmore, stay in Hill City or Keystone.

Hill City and Keystone are both very touristy but are very close to many of the best attractions in the Black Hills.

Deadwood is best for adults as the focus there is mostly gambling and historical museums. The amazing George S. Mickelson Trail unpaved rail trail also stems from there.

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS SOUTH DAKOTA FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that South Dakota is famous or well known for:

ATV/ORV-ing
badlands
bison / buffalo
caves / cave tours
corn
family-friendly tourist attractions
fossil beds
gambling
geological formations (e.g. granite cliffs and rock spires)
gold mines
motorcycling (e.g. Sturgis Rally)
Native American reservations, history, and culture
prairies
prairie dogs
scenic drives

Click here if you'd like to learn what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



There are two national parks and several other federally-managed parks and properties in South Dakota:

National Parks
Badlands National Park - outstanding prairie & badlands scenery; fantastic day hikes and camping; backpacking in Sage Creek Wilderness
Wind Cave National Park - great guided cave tours are offered daily in season; outstanding wildlife viewing (e.g. bison) and good hiking trails

National Monuments
Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer - one of the longest caves in the world; guided tours available

National Forests
Black Hills National Forest
Custer-Gallatin National Forest

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Missouri National Recreational River
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

I recommend 1-2 days for exploring Badlands National Park. There are a good number of trails that are worth hiking there. You will likely also see wildlife. Make sure to visit Robert's Prairie Dog Town.

Unless you want to hike some of the park's trails, a few hours is usually enough time to visit Wind Cave National Park. Reserve a guided cave tour online and well in advance as they often sell out.

Take note that Devil's Tower National Monument isn't far from the western South Dakota border. I absolutely recommend a day trip into Wyoming to visit that monument if you are staying in or near the Black Hills of South Dakota. Most people have seen photographs of this magnificent rock.

For more information on South Dakota's national parks, visit the South Dakota page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota has more than a dozen state parks, plus many other state-managed areas. Many would agree that these represent South Dakota's finest state parks:

Flagship / Premier State Parks:
Custer State Park - geological formations; scenic drives; hiking trails; excellent wildlife viewing (bison & wild donkeys); camping; biking

Other Notable State Parks:
Bear Butte State Park - hike up Bear Butte to score scenic views; camping; northernmost point of the 111-mile Centennial Trail
Palisades State Park - geological formations (quartzie cliffs); camping; hiking; rock climbing

My favorite state park in South Dakota is, by far, Custer State Park. Custer is certainly one of the finest state parks in the U.S.. It has awesome hiking, scenic driving, and near-guaranteed wildlife viewing (e.g. bison and wild donkeys). The state park is also close to tons of other outdoor activities and attractions in the Black Hills. If you haven't been to the Black Hills, I would plan a trip to spend 7-10 days there and explore all that it has to offer.

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota only has a few natural waterfalls. Here are some of the best waterfalls in South Dakota:

Bridal Veil Falls - 60-foot falls visible from the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A) in the Black Hills National Forest
Cascade Falls - access via SD-71 about 11 miles southwest of Hot Springs
Devil's Bathtub - access via trailhead on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A) in the Black Hills National Forest
Roughlock Falls - access via Roughlock Falls Road off the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A) in the Black Hills National Forest
Sioux Falls - the highlight of beautiful Falls Park which is just north of the downtown area of Sioux Falls
Spearfish Falls - access via Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A) in the Black Hills National Forest

Thunderhead Underground Falls is another noteworthy waterfall of South Dakota, but it is located on private property. It was formerly open as a tourist attraction, but the property is closed to the public as of 2022.

For a listing of all known waterfalls in South Dakota, visit the World Waterfall Database website.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota has several outstanding scenic drives. The best scenic drives in South Dakota include:

Badlands Loop Road (SD-240) - 39-mile paved loop in Badlands National Park
Iron Mountain Road (US-16A) - 17-mile paved drive in the heart of the Black Hills
Needles Highway (SD-87) - 14-mile paved drive in the heart of the Black Hills
Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway - 70-mile paved drive in the heart of the Black Hills
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A) - 19-mile paved drive in the northwestern corner of the Black Hills
Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway - 18-mile scenic drive in Custer State Park, which is in the heart of the Black Hills

It's tough to choose a favorite scenic drive in South Dakota because they are quite different. Some have mountain views, some have canyon views, and some have prairie/badlands views. All six I've mentioned above are highly recommended. If I absolutely had to choose one, it would be the Badlands Loop Road.

Badlands Loop Road (highway SD-240) passes through the heart of Badlands National Park, which I consider to be one of the U.S.'s most beautiful parks. The western end of this loop is about 85 miles (or 1.5 hours) east of Mt. Rushmore. Plan on spending a full day driving and exploring the areas off this road. While in this area, consider also visiting the famous Wall Drug Store in downtown Wall.

Iron Mountain Road (highway US-16A) is a portion of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. This paved road in the Black Hills connects Custer State Park with Mt. Rushmore. Highlights include 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pigtails, 3 tunnels and simply stunning forest and rugged rock scenery. Vehicles must be able to squeeze through a tunnel that is only 11' 6" wide by 10' 9" high. This road generally stays open in winter, unless there are dangerous conditions present.

Needles Highway (highway SD-87) is also a portion of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. This paved road in the Black Hills cuts through Custer State Park and passes the famous "Needles Eye" formation. Vehicles must be able to fit through a tunnel that is 8' 9" wide by 10’10” high. This road is closed in winter

Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway combines highways US-385, SD-244, SD-87, US-16A into two extraordinarily scenic and rewarding driving loops. This byway includes the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road scenic drives that are mentioned above, so if you drive all of this byway you've essentially done those as well. Vehicles must be able to fit through tunnels that are as small 8' 9" wide and 10’9” high. Portions of this road (e.g. Needles Highway) are closed in winter.

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (highway US-14A) is a bit further away from the primary attractions of the Black Hills. The northern end of the route is 65 miles northwest of Mt. Rushmore. If you are driving south along Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A) from the town of Spearfish, visit these highlights in this order: Bridal Veil Falls (visible from road), Devil's Bathtub (1.6 mile round-trip hike), Spearfish Falls (0.8 mile round-trip hike), and Roughlock Falls (2.1 mile round-trip hike). This road is open in winter.

Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway loops through Custer State Park in the Black Hills. Wildlife viewing is almost guaranteed, especially buffalo. You may also see deer, elk, prairie dogs, and/or burros.

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in South Dakota:

Sioux Falls Bike Trails / Sioux Falls River Greenway
George S. Mickelson Trail - widely considered one of the best rail trails in the U.S.

For detailed information on all known rail trails in South Dakota, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota has a few notable amusement parks. The best amusement parks in South Dakota include:

Rush Mountain Adventure Park, Keystone - cave tours, mountain coaster, aerial adventure park, zip-lining, and more attractions
Rushmore Tramway Adventures, Keystone - alpine slide, aerial adventure park, zip-lining, and more family-friendly attractions
Storybook Island, Rapid City - very good child-friendly amusement park
Storybook Land, Aberdeen - Wizard & Oz and nursery rhyme themed-park for kids
Wild Water West, Sioux Falls - medium-sized water park with other family-friendly attractions (e.g. go-karts)

BEST MUSEUMS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota has several notable museums. The best museums in South Dakota include:

Adams House, Deadwood
Adams Museum, Deadwood
Days of '76 Museum, Deadwood
Journey Museum and Learning Center, Rapid City
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, Hot Springs
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Philip
Museum of Geology, Rapid City
Pioneer Auto Museum, Murdo
South Dakota Air and Space Museum, Rapid City - take note that the indoor section of this museum is closed as of 2022
Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, Sturgis

BEST DAY HIKES IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota offers many great hiking trails, with the best hiking found in or near the Black Hills region in the western portion of the state. Here are some of the best day hikes in South Dakota:

Black Elk Peak, Black Elk Wilderness - the highpoint of South Dakota; has a large stone firetower on top; an outstanding day hike
Castle Trail, Badlands National Park - longest official trail in Badlands National Park; can be combined with the Medicine Root Trail
Cathedral Spires Trail, Custer State Park - beautiful geology (including some of the largest rock spires in the Black Hills)
Crow Peak Trail, Black Hills National Forest - challenging hike to scenic views
Devil's Bathtub, Black Hills National Forest - pools and waterfalls; access via Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A)
Door Trail, Badlands National Park - short hike to great views of badlands; you can explore off-trail here (and many people do)
King and Queen Trail, Palisades State Park - short hike in the most famous section of the state park
Little Devil's Tower, Custer State Park - some of the most interesting geology in South Dakota; trailhead on SD-87
Notch Trail, Badlands National Park - 1.5 mile round-trip hike to dramatic views of badlands; requires climbing a tall log ladder (which can be fun or scary, depending upon who you ask)
Presidential Trail, Mount Rushmore National Memorial - this trail will get you much closer to the presidential heads than the normal views
Roughlock Falls, Black Hills National Forest - easy hike to small but attractive and photogenic waterfalls
Summit Trail, Bear Butte State Park - hike 3.75 miles round-trip to this fine summit; this is the northern end of the 111-mile Centennial Trail
Sunday Gulch Trail, Custer State Park - fun hike that includes hiking up boulders with attached handrails and stairs
Sylvan Lake Shore Trail, Custer State Park - walk around what is likely South Dakota's prettiest lake

The highpoint of South Dakota is Black Elk Peak (7,244'), and it's a fun and challenging day hike that starts within Custer State Park. There's a stone firetower on top that is very unique. Views are awesome and you might see some mountain goats en route. Stay in one of the small towns in the Black Hills if you'd like to hike this mountain.

To find more hikes in South Dakota or to learn more about the hikes I've listed above, I recommend purchasing hiking guidebooks on Amazon (or from your local retailer). Another option is using alltrails.com, but you have to be very careful when using that website as its information is often wrong or incomplete. Published hiking guidebooks will likely always be significantly better than the information you find online.

BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota offers several good backpacking opportunities. Some of premier backpacking routes in South Dakota include:

Black Hills National Forest - many different options exist
Centennial Trail - 123-mile backpacking route from Wind Cave National Park to Bear Butte State Park; trail conditions are variable
Indian Creek in Buffalo Gap National Grassland
Sage Creek Wilderness Area in Badlands National Park

The premier backpacking trip in South Dakota is the Centennial Trail. This 123-mile route leads from Wind Cave National Park north to the open summit of Bear Butte in Bear Butte State Park. Most people hike the trail in 7-10 days. The trail quality is mostly good, but the ability to perform brief route-finding is required. You'll also share portions of the trail with ATV/ORV riders, which some consider less than ideal. The biggest challenge of this trail is probably the unpredictable weather (storms, excessive heat) and somewhat limited water resupply points.

Visit the Backpacking Routes website for information on many great backpacking routes in the U.S., including South Dakota's Centennial Trail.

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN SOUTH DAKOTA



South Dakota offers many excellent adventures, including these classics:

ATV/ORV-ing in/near Custer, Deadwood, Hill City, Keystone, or Rapid City
Backpacking Black Hills National Forest
Backpacking Indian Creek
Backpacking the Centennial Trail
Backpacking the Sage Creek Wilderness Area in Badlands National Park
Caving in Wind Cave National Park
Caving in Jewell Cave National Monument
Cycling the 30+ mile paved Sioux Falls Bike Trails network
Cycling the 109 mile George S. Mickelson Trail from Edgemont to Deadwood - one of the best unpaved rail trails in the U.S.
Day hiking Black Elk Peak
Day hiking Custer State Park
Driving the Needles Highway - many curves and some tight spaces (e.g. Needles Eye Tunnel)
Fly fishing in Spearfish Canyon
Helicopter rides in Keystone
Horseback riding in Hill City
Hot air ballooning in Custer
Ice climbing in Spearfish Canyon
Ice fishing on one of many frozen lakes and ponds
Mountain biking near Spearfish
Paddle the Missouri River
Rock climbing and bouldering in the Black Hills
Rock climbing in Palisades State Park
Snowmobiling on some of more than 1,500 miles of trails

BEST SKI RESORTS IN SOUTH DAKOTA



There is only one notable ski/snowboard resort in South Dakota, and that is Terry Peak. This ski resort is found in the Black Hills and it has 30 trails with a 1,1100ft vertical drop from a 7,100ft summit.

SOUTH DAKOTA TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique South Dakota attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

If you are visiting the Black Hills region, you should also consider taking a day trip into Wyoming to visit Devil's Tower National Monument. It's one of the best national monuments in the U.S. and the giant rock should look very familiar to you.

If I had a full week to spend in the Black Hills region, I would try to do all of the following:
Drive the Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway in Custer State Park
Drive all 66-miles of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway in the heart of the Black Hills
Take a hike or two in Custer State Park (e.g. Black Elk Peak, Little Devil's Tower, etc.)
Visit Mt. Rushmore during the day and/or evening
Wake up early and take a day trip east to visit Badlands National Park and the Wall Drug Store in Wall
Visit one or two of the many tourist attractions in the Black Hills region (e.g. adventure parks, zoos, museums, etc.)
Take a guided cave tour at Wind Cave National Park or Jewell Cave National Monument
Spend a day exploring either Deadwood or Rapid City.

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN SOUTH DAKOTA



Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in South Dakota:

chislic
lefse
kuchen

For outstanding local food and mom & pop-style restaurants in South Dakota (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.

For a list of the top-rated beers to try in South Dakota (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

Click here if you'd like to explore the types of foods that other U.S. states are famous for.

OTHER KEY SOUTH DAKOTA INFORMATION



Capital = Pierre
Major airports = Rapid City and Sioux Falls (although both are only medium-sized regional airports); many people will opt to fly into Denver, CO or Minneapolis, MN instead, and then drive into SD
Largest cities = Sioux Falls (200,243), Rapid City (76,053), Aberdeen (28,975), Brookings (23,641), Watertown (22,889)
Primary U.S. interstates = I-29, I-90
State highpoint = Black Elk Peak (7,244'); a challenging day hike is required to reach the top; this is one of my favorite state high points
Professional sports teams = none

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.


Boxwork in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
Boxwork in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Buffalo near Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
Buffalo near Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota
Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota

Yellow Mounds Overlook, Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Yellow Mounds Overlook, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial at night, South Dakota
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial at night, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota
Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota

Scenic drive in the Black Hills, South Dakota
Iron Mountain Road (Highway SD 16A) in the Black Hills, South Dakota

MORE U.S. STATE TRAVEL GUIDES



Did you enjoy this travel guide? If so, here are links to more U.S. state travel guides:

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