Are you looking for a new place to vacation this year, but aren’t sure where to go? Check out these 7 reasons you need to visit South Dakota in 2018.
South Dakota is home to six national parks and 56 state parks. It is an adventurers dream state with mountains, prairies, lakes, and lush forests.
From caving, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing, to history, fossils, Native American culture, and the Wild West experience, South Dakota has so much to offer every type of traveler.
But, if you need convincing, keep reading. Here are the top seven reasons why you should visit South Dakota this year.
1. Mount Rushmore
Every U.S. citizen should pay pilgrimage to Mount Rushmore at least once.
Mount Rushmore has more to offer than its famous sculpture of four of our most beloved presidents. It is in a prime adventure location.
Mount Rushmore sits in the Black Hills and is surrounded by beautiful forest and granite stone ranges. If you visit in the evenings, the park will play an informative video about the four presidents and a lighting ceremony.
While you’re in the region, you can explore numerous famous parks and wildlife within the five million acres of forest and mountains.
2. Custer State Park
Also in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the U.S. It has been named among the world’s top 10 wildlife destinations.
Custer covers 73,000 acres and is famous for its pristine lakes, above par fishing, wild bison, antelope, and bighorn sheep, rocky mountain scenery, and the famous Needles Highway.
Needles Highway is something to see all on its own. It is National Scenic Byway that was constructed in 1922 and includes touring granite borders, steep tunnels, and lots of curves.
Custer State Park is also a well-flocked spot for camping, historical sites, as well as resorts.
3. Badlands National Park
While you’re in the Black Hills, you might as well make your way to Badlands National Park during your South Dakota trip.
Badlands National Park is more than 240,000 acres in size and features unique geology. The park protects the largest undisturbed grass prairie in the U.S., which means the wildlife is immaculate.
You can find the black-footed ferret, which is the most engendered land mammal on the continent, along with many other interesting species such as the black-tailed prairie dog, bobcats and coyotes, elk, bison, and more.
The park also brings paleontologists, zooarchaeologists, and onlookers from all over the world to see its famous fossil beds. Here you can see ancient animals including the rhinos and saber-tooth cat.
There is also a rich Native American history at the site. Visitors can learn about the history of the area and visit the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
4. Mammoth Site
If you’re a fossil and/or history lover, then you must explore Mammoth Site when you visit South Dakota.
Mammoth Site is located in Hot Springs, South Dakota. It features 26,000-year-old remains of dozens of mammoths that were killed by a sinkhole collapse. It currently has the largest concentration of mammoth bones in the world.
The site is an active research venue. Visitors can watch paleontologists as they work and learn an array of information about the wildlife and environmental history.
5. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Even if you’re not a biker, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is something everyone should see and experience at least once in their lifetime.
This annual event includes 10 days and nights of good food and live music concerts throughout the black hills of South Dakota. People visit South Dakota from all over the world just for this event.
This year the rally will be from August 3rd to 12th, making August one of the best times to visit South Dakota. For accommodations, check out this company that provides house rentals for parties of all sizes.
6. Wind Cave
The first cave to be recognized as a national park was Wind Cave in Hot Springs, South Dakota.
Wind Cave is much more than a simple cave. It features rare cave formations including boxwork, frostwork, and popcorn formations. It is named after the barometric winds that glide through the entrance.
Outside the cave, you will find wildlife who call the cave home. These include buffalo, a variety of birds, prairie dogs, elk, and more.
7. Historical Towns
The cities and towns of South Dakota will take you back in time. Exploring their histories is one of the most fun things to do in South Dakota.
Deadwood, in particular, is alive with history and wild west elements. This is the place to go if you’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in the American Wild West.
Deadwood was home to Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, the famous old west duet. You’ll also find remnants of the gold rush and many Wild West activities including historic gaming, hunting, bull riding, hiking, and good ol’ fashion home-style cooking.
Other great cities to see during a South Dakota trip include Sturgis, home to the annual motorcycle rally, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City.
Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota and is growing rapidly. It is home to many craft breweries, roasteries, the National Music Museum, and historical buildings.
Rapid City is cool for its art, historical sites and memorials (it is often called the city of presidents), craft breweries, and international food.
So, When Will You Visit South Dakota?
If this hasn’t convinced you to visit South Dakota then I don’t know what will. Except for taking a South Dakota trip!
There’s so much more to do than what I have listed, including rock climbing, camping, Native American interaction and more.