Picturesque national parks, monuments, and historical sites draw millions of visitors to South Dakota each year. The National Parks of South Dakota are a mecca to travelers in search of unique vacationing experiences. Travelers to these scenic outdoor areas are treated to unique geologic formations, pristine water reservoirs, and an abundance of outdoor recreational activities.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site are powerful representations of our nation’s freedom and South Dakota’s history. Mount Rushmore National Memorial commemorates the first 150 years of the United State’s history. Visitors can view the majestic granite sculptures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, and become inspired by this enduring symbol of our nation’s freedom. The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site once housed warheads capable of mass destruction. Learn more about the Minuteman Missile’s role in maintaining peace against the threat of Cold War, and explore actual launch sites and control center sites.
At The Badlands National Park, visitors are awed by the buttes, pinnacles, and spires that were formed more than 35 million years ago by erosion and glacial movements. The Badlands are also home to one of the world’s richest mammal fossil beds.
Retrace the path of explorers Lewis and Clark on land at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, or by water at the Missouri National Recreational River site. While at Missouri National Recreational River, enjoy popular aquatic activities like canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hunting, and hiking.
Below the surface of the beautiful mixed-grass prairies and the beating hooves of bison and elk lay the treasures of two national park caves. South Dakota, home to the world’s second and third longest caves, is a spelunker’s delight. Jewel Cave National Monument, with more than 143 miles of mapped passageways, enchants visitors with its glinting walls of calcite crystals. Wind Cave National Park, mapped at 128 miles in length, features the world’s most extensive formation of boxwork, which resembles a lace made out of minerals like calcite in caves.