In addition to the geological significance of the park, it also holds pop culture significance with a few famous films shot in the park. © Copyright 2020 PlanetWare Inc. All rights reserved. Families looking for cool places to visit in South Dakota should definitely come to the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. The site serves as a museum and paleontological site for research and continuous excavations for discoveries. The historic town of Deadwood was formally a bustling center where people came to take part in the Black Hills Gold Rush. It’s most known for the unique calcite formations developed on the cave interiors, called boxwork and frostwork. As one of the best state and national parks in South Dakota, Custer State Park covers a wide range of different terrain. After the discovery of a historic mammoth tooth in 1974 near Hot Springs, South Dakota, shortly after in 1980, the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs was established. Find your own story to tell with our list of the top attractions in South Dakota. This is one of the most visited South Dakota attractions, with nearly three million people visiting Mount Rushmore each year. Visitors can see partially uncovered mammoth bones shown as they were found, in a covered, climate-controlled building. The park includes a visitor center to provide information about the park, exhibitions, and special programs throughout the year. Wind Cave National Park, located just north of Hot Springs, is home to a huge karstic cave system, thought to be among the largest in the world. Visitors can get active out on the water with various boating activities like kayaking and canoeing. Historical tours are popular for going around to the city’s landmarks and most storied locations. The tour takes visitors to the Minuteman Missile Training Launch Facility to see four missiles. The Lewis & Clark Recreation Area includes three designated campgrounds – Gavins Point Section, Yankton Section, and Midway Section. Visitors can walk amongst actual aircraft, dating back to WWII to even actively used planes. The on-site Indian Museum of North America enriches any visit to Crazy Horse. Some of the top recreational activities nearby include hiking, horseback riding, and biking. The cave contains a unique and delicate cave structure known as "boxwork," which is found in few other places in the world. Visit our beautiful state to relax, discover, and enjoy the good life. Another must-see attraction in Custer is the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road in the southeast corner of the park. It’s the world’s largest concentration of mammoth remains and attracts scientists from around the world for conducting research. Official site:, Accommodation: Where to Stay near Badlands National Park, Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane. It’s a major Missouri River Reservoir formed from Gavins Point Dam, established in 1966 along the northern shore to the Lewis and Clark Lake. Mount Rushmore is a sculpture of the heads of four former United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved into granite on the southeast side of Mount Rushmore. This inhospitable scenery is strangely beautiful and one of South Dakota's most visited destinations. Some of the unique activities here include archery and disc golf. The name derives from the early discovery of calcite crystals forming within it, referred to as jewels. Address: 20812 Homestead Rd, De Smet, SD 57231. The distinct architecture is among the first attractive features of the site. There aren’t many places where you can find Elvis’s guitar, ancient Italian violins, and didgeridoos under the same roof. Some of the remains uncovered at the site include 61 mammoth bones, short-faced bears, oxen, camel, llama, wolves, and other small mammals. Just north of Spearfish is the geographical center of the United States. The canyon also has a diverse mix of wildlife. Visitors can access scheduled bus rides to the base of the memorial throughout the day to meet Crazy Horse face to face. Essential Things To Pack When Visiting National Parks. It’s set up in two sections. You'll find plenty of culture in cities like Sioux Falls, and Rapid City. The outdoors is truly stunning in South Dakota and is what draws the most visitors. The trails lead through the park’s flora to multiple viewpoints or chances to see local forest animals. The state has excellent museums, interesting historic sites and pioneer villages, great resorts, and many attractions that focus on South Dakota… Find what to do today, this weekend or in December. It also has a nearby campsite for overnight stays. Address: 13000 S Dakota 244, Inside the house includes original furnishings crafted by her father. A large herd of bison roams the peaceful landscape, which is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife. It’s known for presenting regional history and cultural significance while providing information about the building itself. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places. The national monument is a popular South Dakota tourist destination, attracting over 100,000 people every year. The area also features several beaches for relaxing or swimming. Official site:, Accommodation: Where to Stay near Wind Cave National Park, Mammoth Site | PatrickRohe / photo modified. Some of the common animals are the endangered black-footed ferret, bighorn sheep, bison, coyotes, elk, bobcats, foxes, and prairie dogs. In 1932, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) visited South Dakota and observed the damage caused by erosion and silt on navigation and agriculture. “Celebrate what makes America great,” she says. These bizarre variety of things in South Dakota are the kind that just leaves you scratching your head and maybe weirding you out a bit. It’s one of five lakes in the park with lots of outdoor recreational activities available for visitors. “ On our road trip, we traveled scenic drives in Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt State Park, as well as Iron Mountain Road here, and I think the … South Dakota is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Address: 131 E Falls Park Dr, Sioux Falls, SD 57103, Also Read: South Dakota. One of the highlights of the museum is the full-size animatronic T. Rex, one of the only of its kind in the US. The town was founded in 1876 after discovering gold nearly and, for three years, was a popular site for digging and merchants involved with the trade. It’s a destination for outdoor recreation, but also for learning more about the history of the site. 11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Rapid City, South Dakota. Within these wooded acres, which supported indigenous populations for thousands of years, visitors find an array of attractions, including underground caves and larger-than-life monuments. At this self-touted spot for music lovers, a small admission fee provides access to a wide variety of musical instruments, ranging from American electric guitars to German zithers. The site is characterized as a prehistoric sinkhole. The Children’s Museum of South Dakota was established in a renovated Brookings elementary school, completely transforming into one of the most fun museums in the state. The first area of the museum is an outdoor airpark. The homestead has several farm animals to interact with. The monument is illuminated in the evening and accompanied by a patriotic ceremony. Coming to the Ingalls Homestead is one of the best things to do in South Dakota. Official site: Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Custer, South Dakota. Tours to the cave began long before designation as a national park and have since developed into an incredible experience for adventurous visitors. There are plenty of fun things to do in South Dakota for adventurers of all ages and interests. Another popular area is Kidstreet, an entire town operated by kids. It’s a popular place for hiking, with various trails established throughout the park. Spearfish Canyon is one of the premier destinations in the Black Hills, located nearby Spearfish, South Dakota. Many visitors come to the site for recreational activities. Deadwood is a city in Lawrence County, in the western part of South Dakota. There are more than 200,000 acres to explore with lots of things to see and do. The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs features a large number of Columbian mammoth bones. Project management changed hands frequently since beginning the project, but it’s currently a work in progress. There is an abundance of wildlife living within the park. Find what to do today, this weekend or in December. It’s the perfect place to keep kids entertained with a bit of learning and discovery. All the weird attractions, hidden sights, and unusual places in South Dakota. But that’s what you’ll find at this landmark museum. The museum is open to the public for checking out the exhibitions showcasing many of the discoveries around the site. The lake permits canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating with rentals available at the site. At its peak, the population reached approximately 5,000 people, which has since declined drastically. After discovering the Jewel Cave in 1900, the site officially became the Jewel Cave National Monument in 1908. For those not interested in an underground tour, the above ground area of the park is also very beautiful, with rolling hills and roaming bison. Note: Articles and subcategories in this category should also be included in at least one of this state's other categories. South Dakota Tourist Information - Attractions, lodging, restaurants, & events. Address: 200 W 6th St, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Kids can also enjoy the outdoor playground and water activities. The site is currently regarded as one of the oldest areas of human history in the country. For the more adventurous, there are trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. In its creation, more than 400,000 tons of rock was blasted from the side of the mountain. 8 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Deadwood, SD. The 19-mile drive winds through the canyon to provide incredible views of the forest-covered canyon. Lined with parking places and viewpoints, the Badlands Loop Road tours the scenic environment from the northwestern Pinnacles Entrance to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Wind Cave National Park also includes the above-ground area as part of the park. Find South Dakota travel tips, stories, maps, videos and news for unusual tourist attractions and sights. Trails lead around the rim of the lake, which is a one-mile stretch of shoreline. The carving, designed by Gutzon, was begun in 1927, halted for several decades, and finally completed in 1991. Popular exhibits and activities at the Butterfly House include the Pacific Tide Pool and Shark & Stingray Touch Pool, and the 3,600-square-foot indoor tropical garden that hosts the butterflies. It features an education center for learning more about the importance of the site to the Plains Indians, both historically and today. The museum is one of the many in the system of the National Museum of the US Air Force. Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities to do in the park. The museum features over 15,000 instruments on display. Located on the terrace overlooking the monument, the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center is a fun part of any visit. Different tours are available for different ability levels, with most routes following along lighted and cement pathways installed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Museums galore can be found throughout South Dakota including the National Music Museum and the Enchanted World Doll Museum. Deadwood's Wild West origins are on full display and waiting to be experienced throughout the downtown streets. The most common wildlife includes turkeys and deer, often seen while exploring the various nature trails of the park. More Places to Visit in South Dakota: The things to do in South Dakota spread far and wide. Narrow Your Results Address: 26924 480th Ave, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Official site:, Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove | minnemom / photo modified. Address: Black Hills National Forest, 12151 Ave of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse, SD 57730, Also Read: Walk the Presidential Trail to get up close and personal to the monument. The forest mainly consists of ponderosa pine trees but also has over 1,000 other plant species growing within it. Wind Cave National Park is home to the famous wind cave – a record-breaking cave by international standards for many features. South Dakota Tourism: Tripadvisor has 385,986 reviews of South Dakota Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best South Dakota travel resource. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in December. Some of the top attractions of Deadwood include reenacted shootouts on Historic Main Street, the Adams Museum, and the Broken Boot Gold Mine. More than 60 mammoths, including three woolly mammoths, have been discovered at this site. Check out the Borglum Visitor Center to view a 14-minute film describing how the monument was built. Routes like the Door, Window, and Notch Trails offer an easy hike into the challenging environment. And Granite peaks tower over the forests, lakes, and streams. To make the most out of the area, it's recommended to look into some of the best campgrounds near Mount Rushmore. Where to Stay near Mount Rushmore: Best Areas & Hotels. Explore the many attractions, eat delicious food, and find a cozy place to stay for the night. As an Amazon Associate, Attractions of America earns from qualifying purchases. The wild caving tour is for those more adventurous to explore some of the undeveloped passageways. Boating is a frequent activity. The park consists of the famous Blood Run Site, a former settlement of thousands of Native Americans. South Dakota Attractions and Oddities. Dubbed “The World’s Only Corn Palace” – this unique tourist attraction has become the headquarters of everyone’s favorite grain plant. The Sertoma Butterfly House in Sioux Falls is home to hundreds of free-flying butterflies from all over the world. Below are the 15 best roadside attractions in South Dakota: from a giant prairie dog to a giant pheasant, from a dinosaur park to a corn palace, from a city full of presidents to an iconic stop offering jackalopes and free ice water! For camping, check out our article on the best campgrounds in Badlands National Park. In addition to cave tours, there are also more than 30 miles of hiking trails and a large campground open all year. The museum open in 2010 in the city of Brookings, designed with lots of interactive features for hours of fun and education. Things to Do in South Dakota, United States: See Tripadvisor's 118,777 traveller reviews and photos of South Dakota tourist attractions. Popular roadside attractions and hikes in Spearfish Canyon include Bridal Veil and the Rough Lock Falls, and the Spearfish Peak and Little Crow Peak. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.
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