Being sparsely populated, the State of South Dakota is mostly covered by grasslands. And with the fertile flat plains covering almost 75% of the State, no wonder that the agriculture industry is expanding in the past decade. You will see the vast expanse of agriculture when road-tripping across this Midwestern region of the U.S.
Most of the tourist destinations are located in the southwestern part of the State where the hilly terrains dominate the landscape. It is also where the highest peak in South Dakota is located; the Harney Peak is at elevation 7,242 ft (2,207 m). If you are planning to visit and see South Dakota, the best option is to directly go to the southwestern part via Rapid City. There, you can spend a week enjoying the region’s beautiful landscape, its wildlife, its history.
Below is a list of attractions tourists go to have a full South Dakotan vacation experience.
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs.
This is an “active paleontological dig site that boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world!” Currently, the mammoth count is 61, with 58 Columbian and 3 woolly mammoths discovered.
Read more about the Mammoth Site here.
Bear Country USA.
Drive through a natural habitat and see bears, elks, wolves, mountain goats, big horn sheep, mountain lions, and more.
Read more about Bear Country USA here.
South Dakota Air and Space Museum.
The museum is just less than half a mile north of I-90. If you are traveling along that route, this is worth a stop. Pay for a tour, so you’ll get the chance to enter a training missile silo.
Read more about the South Dakota Air and Space Museum here.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Of course, who doesn’t want to see what South Dakota is famous for — four faces of U.S. Presidents carved on the mountain slope! The faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln represent the resounding pillars the four of them hold in the history of the United States.
Read more about the Mount Rushmore National Memorial here.
The Wildlife Loop at Custer State Park.
Experience wildlife in close range. It is a little Safari trip in South Dakota.
Read more about the The Wildlife Loop here.
Wind Cave National Park.
This is one of the longest caves in the world. Inside is a rare cave formation called boxwork.
Read more about the Wind Cave National Park here.
Badlands National Park.
Apart from the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, this is the other attraction that is uniquely South Dakota. This natural wonder was born out of volcanoes 30 million years ago.
Read more about the Badlands National Park here.
From the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, head to the Needles Highway via winding roads. You will reach a short stretch of the road where everyone slows down to pass through a narrow opening. Warning: Roads are very narrow and sometimes scary. Steep roadsides do not have railings.
You visit this place for its history and all its crazy gift stores. Make this as a side trip.
Read more about the Wall Drug attraction here.
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