It’s easy to see why the state enjoys such a robust level of tourist traffic. Nestled between rolling Midwest farmlands and rugged Rocky Mountain ranges, South Dakota is a rich interplay of varying terrain, topography, vegetative growth, and pristine water reservoirs. From the precipitous spires of the Badlands National Park to the lush forests of the Black Hills National Forest, the state is a picturesque playground for those who appreciate the contrasts of nature in its purest form. And its breathtaking beauty runs even deeper—add a rich cultural heritage and history rooted in nineteenth-century American Indian settlements, and South Dakota’s widespread appeal is completely understandable.
A beacon for tourism, South Dakota is home to an abundance of attractions. Topping the list is Mount Rushmore, the awe-inspiring mountainside sculpture that has become a nationally recognized symbol of freedom and democracy, captivating more than two million visitors annually. Another popular sculpture is the constantly evolving Crazy Horse Monument, a labor of love that commemorates the state’s American Indian heritage. The Badlands and the Black Hills are magnets for nature lovers, while dozens of state parks afford plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. Adventurous types enjoy exploring the depths of such magnificent natural formations as Wind Cave and Spearfish Canyon. The town of Deadwood affords tourists an authentic feel for the delightfully raucous Old West mining towns that prevailed during the 19th century, complete with historic casinos. Each year, the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attracts more than half a million biking enthusiasts to the usually small, sleepy town.
And that’s just the beginning. The question isn’t “what’s to see in South Dakota?”, but what’s not to see. From cultural museums and festivals to eclectic shopping and dining to year-round outdoor sports, the state truly offers something for everyone. Explore our comprehensive tourism directory to learn more.
South Dakota is loaded with fun and exciting attractions. The most popular attractions are Mount Rushmore, Black Hills and the Badlands but there are plenty of attractions that may not have the notoriety of those attractions but still offer some great fun and excitement. To check out all of the top attractions South Dakota has to offer check them out at our top attractions section.
You may or may not know about the attractions below, but if you don't we highly recommend them if you can fit them into your travel plans. South Dakota has a plethora of unique attractions, some off the beaten path, that will make your trip to South Dakota one to remember. From a 40 foot dinosaur replica to a palace covered in corn, you'll find a South Dakota attraction that will capture your attention. Click here to learn more about Attractions We Recommend.
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. Click here to learn more about Things To Do.
Located in the center of the Midwest, South Dakota is easily accessible by both road and air. If you feel like getting there is half the fun, traveling to South Daktoa by car or RV affords the opportunity to enjoy the expansive landscapes of the state, while traveling by air will get your trip started even more quickly. Click here to learn more about Travel to South Dakota.
Planning a trip to South Dakota? One of the first—and probably among the most important—things you’ll need to do is choose a place to stay. The good news is, the state is packed with high-quality lodging opportunities to accommodate all traveling tastes and price points. We’ve compiled a comprehensive database of places to stay in all of South Dakota’s major cities, a majority of which are within close proximity of the most popular tourist attractions. Click here to learn more about Places to Stay.
|Beaver Lake Campground
Custer, SD | Travel and Tourism
|Suzies Camp Sturgis
Sturgis, SD | Travel and Tourism
|Ramada Rapid City
Rapid City, SD | Travel and Tourism
|Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites
Rapid City, SD | Travel and Tourism
|Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort
Deadwood, SD | Travel and Tourism