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Things to Do in South Dakota

While it may be tempting to just stand still and behold the breathtaking scenery, South Dakota is packed with hundreds of activities to keep you entertained for hours on end. Whether you’re fishing on the Missouri River, exploring a natural cave, visiting an exhibit of Native American artifacts, or shopping for the perfect souvenir to memorialize your trip, one thing is for certain: you’ll never find a dull moment in this historical, heritage-rich state.

Badlands National Park, one of the most popular attractions in western South Dakota, provides its visitors dazzling views of beautiful, striking rock-like formations.

Below are just some of the popular activities enjoyed by natives and tourists in South Dakota. We’ve only scratched the surface—so dive into our things to do section to discover even more fun, educational activities to indulge in while visiting South Dakota!

Top Attractions

From the internationally renowned Mount Rushmore monument to natural wonders like Wind Cave, South Dakota offers dozens of crowd-pleasing attractions. Outdoorsy types can explore the scenic state parks and lakes and rivers, or cruise the scenic byways to get a breathtaking view of the Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park. For those who prefer guided excursions, there are many sightseeing tours available throughout the state. Learn more.

Arts & Entertainment

With its rich history and heritage, South Dakota is chock full of cultural offerings. From American Indian artifacts to local artwork to fossilized remains from the Ice Age, its many museums and cultural centers offer thousands of awe-inspiring exhibits. Arts and entertainment are also prevalent, with hundreds of annual musical festivals, dramatic productions, and concerts. Learn more.

Casinos & Gambling

The fun never stops at South Dakota’s historic casinos and gambling centers. Perhaps most famous is the action-packed casino district in Deadwood, a restored Old West town with an illustrious history. Learn more.

Caves & Caverns

It’s not surprising that prospectors in search of gold discovered many of the underground treasures of South Dakota: its caves and caverns. Learn more.

Colleges & Universities

Education is important in South Dakota, evident in the nationally renowned universities and technical schools. Learn more.


Satisfy your appetite at one of the state’s renowned eateries. From small mom-and-pop cafes to rustic steak houses to romantic Italian restaurants, South Dakota’s diverse network of restaurants caters to a wide variety of tastes. Learn more.

Festivals & Events

South Dakota offers many types of festivals and events located throughout the state. One of the most popular is Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Learn more.


The natural versatility of South Dakota’s terrain provides golfers with spectacular scenery and lush grounds on which to enjoy their favorite pastime. Whether you’re planning a golf getaway at championship-caliber courses, or you just want to slip away for a leisurely morning at the driving range, the golf courses of South Dakota are sure to delight. Learn more.


South Dakota boasts a large amount of museums that share its' rich history and heritage. There is a wide selection of museums located throughout the entire state to choose from. These museums are just waiting to catch your eyes and spark your interest in South Dakota's heritage and culture. Learn more.

Scenic Byways

South Dakota’s scenic byways transform windshields into theatres as miles of pavement provide spectacular views of the surrounding scenery. Traveling the scenic byways of South Dakota will make getting to your destination half the fun. Ignore your GPS, sit back, and enjoy the ride. Learn more.


From bustling Sioux Falls to tiny Elkton, nearly every city in South Dakota features great shopping opportunities. Those seeking the perfect gift or souvenir can peruse charming antique shops, sprawling malls, Black Hills gold dealers, and specialty shops. The one-of-a-kind Wall Drug combines an authentic Old West experience with an abundance of unique merchandise. Learn more about South Dakota shopping.

Sightseeing Tours

Although you may be tempted to hop in your car and enjoy a cross-state drive to experience South Dakota's scenic wonders, it’s wise to consider a sightseeing tour. By joining a group led by a guide who’s highly familiar with the area, you’ll be less likely to miss some of the amazing sights South Dakota has to offer. Learn more.

Sports & Recreation

From scenic golf courses to local sports arenas, South Dakota offers sports enthusiasts a wide array of participatory and spectator sports. The many lakes and rivers promote such outdoor recreational pursuits as kayaking, canoeing, hunting, and fishing. Learn more.


South Dakota offers some fun and exciting waterparks located throughout the state. There are both indoor and outdoor parks so regardless of when you are visiting the state there is always a waterpark available. Learn more.


South Dakota has some great zoological exhibits in both the eastern and western parts of the state. There are a handful of zoos that each offer their own unique animals. Learn more.

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