The great plains, vast open spaces, and rolling terrain that define South Dakota make it a remarkable state. Located on the east side of the Missouri River, South Dakota’s fertile land provides a perfect environment for diverse flora and fauna to flourish, making it an ideal destination to visit. The state’s legendary landscapes, featuring a diverse range of terrains and vast, enigmatic spaces, establish South Dakota as a prime travel destination.

Mount Rushmore stands as one of the best places to savor exceptional hiking trails, scenic highways, mountain lakes, and wildlife encounters. South Dakota offers an incredible journey where you can explore its unique features. Home to the great Sioux Nation, South Dakota is deeply rooted in Native American history.

The rich traditions of the indigenous people who have inhabited the region for millennia come to life when you visit. South Dakota welcomes you with its vibrant heritage, authentic crafts, and festive celebrations.

The state’s tribal communities are open to visitors, and it’s recommended that guests visit tribal administration buildings for additional information. South Dakota boasts a variety of urban attractions along with rugged natural beauty. The state’s exceptional outdoor opportunities allow you to immerse yourself in lush, green surroundings, providing a chance to rejuvenate and recharge.

With its wooded acres, pristine natural settings, and enduring native populations, South Dakota offers a magical experience for your vacation. The underground caves, monuments, and welcoming people you’ll encounter will make your visit to South Dakota truly exceptional.

How to Get to South Dakota?

A road in South Dakota.

South Dakota, a landlocked state in the Midwest region, is most commonly reached by flying or driving. The most convenient mode of transportation is flying, self-driving, or using public transport. Depending on your point of origin, you can find a suitable way to travel to the region.

If you visit South Dakota from continental Europe or other parts of the world, flying is the best option. However, if you’re in neighboring states, self-driving allows you to explore the region conveniently. There are various starting points for a road trip, such as Kansas, Utah, and Colorado, heading to South Dakota.

Flying to South Dakota is the most efficient and time-saving way to reach this destination. The state has five major commercial and international airports, as well as smaller airports, allowing you to move easily between regions. The Joe Foss Field Airport in Sioux Falls is the busiest airport, with major airlines operating there.

How to get around South Dakota?

A snowy road in South Dakota.

Once you’ve arrived in South Dakota, moving around the state is relatively easy. You can hire a taxi or use ride-share services for comfortable transportation. Public transport is also available and provides an excellent way to explore different parts of the state while mingling with local people.

South Dakota’s public transport system is straightforward, making it easy to plan your vacation. There are car rental services at major airports, offering you the flexibility to explore unique parts of the state.

What to Do in South Dakota?

South Dakota offers a wide range of activities, catering to diverse tastes and preferences. Whether you want to explore the great outdoors or experience urban settings, the state provides numerous exciting opportunities to enjoy and explore its beauty.

Explore the Badlands National Park

A sunset in Badlands National Park.

The Badlands National Park stands as one of the most exquisite destinations in the US to visit. It offers a tranquil setting that guarantees you the best possible experiences, allowing you to witness eroded layers of sand, mud, gravel, and the mesmerizing natural wonders displayed throughout the region.

Further reading: Dangerous animals in South Dakota

Millions of years of erosion have sculpted a pristine environment with captivating pastel colors. You can explore lunar sandcastles, cathedral ridges, gorges, cones, pyramids, and more. The park boasts numerous hiking trails, making it an ideal environment for both outdoor enthusiasts and those who prefer a more relaxed setting.

Visit the Black Hills

A lake in Black Hills.

The serene Rocky Black Hills is a must-visit destination during your South Dakota trip. The Black Hills, cherished by the Sioux, provide a spiritually enriching environment where you can relax and unwind. The mountains offer mesmerizing views of different parts of the state. Numerous gardens in the area create a perfect setting for relaxation and family picnics. Extraordinary wildlife adds to the region’s charm, making it an ideal place to rejuvenate.

Explore Deadwood

Deadwood, South Dakota

Deadwood is one of those places that exude Native American heritage, making it a captivating stop during your visit. Spectacular sceneries grace this location, which is rich in history and diversity. Preserved buildings from historical times allow you to explore elegant structures and delve into the area’s fascinating history.

Explore Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is iconic.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the most iconic monuments in the United States, and it’s essential to explore its different facets during your visit to South Dakota. Located just a fifty-mile drive south of Deadwood, this memorial is among the most stunning sites in the region. Created by a sculptor from bygone eras, it features the sculpted heads of great American presidents and stands as a place of historical and cultural significance.

Get to Know the Great Sioux Nation

A member of the Great Sioux Nation.

Your visit to South Dakota remains incomplete without connecting with the native tribes of the region. With over 62,000 Native Americans, the majority being Sioux, these communities have preserved the rich history and culture of ancient nations. It’s one of the most unique experiences, where you can explore different facets of the state and gain insight into how these tribes have evolved over centuries, preserving history. Nature enthusiasts will find the region particularly captivating.

Explore the Majestic Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota, offers an array of experiences that allow you to delve into different aspects of the city and understand the local way of life. It’s an iconic destination where you can savor a wide variety of cuisine, engaging activities, and delightful beverages.

Accommodation in South Dakota

A guesthouse in South Dakota.

During your trip to the region, one of the most vital considerations is your accommodation. South Dakota offers iconic lodges and resorts where you can enjoy comfortable rooms while gazing at the stars in the night sky.

Enjoy a Night at Deadwood Lodge

Deadwood Lodge is a perfect gateway to exploring the state of South Dakota in a historic town. Here, you can marvel at the skyline and stars. This award-winning resort boasts 140 rooms, including regular rooms with private viewing decks and charming fireplaces. These features allow you to relish the magnificent scenery while breathing in the crisp mountain air. The area also hosts numerous sports restaurants, each offering top-notch amenities for your enjoyment.

The Barefoot Resort

Situated at approximately 6,400 feet above sea level on the ski fields in the Black Hills region, The Barefoot Resort offers a tranquil environment for relaxation. The resort provides an array of exquisite facilities, including chalets and villas, allowing you to bask in the crisp mountain air while relishing breathtaking views. The resort’s culinary offerings are impeccable, providing an opportunity for fine dining experiences in South Dakota.

Check Out Mount Rushmore Resort

Mount Rushmore Resort is an iconic place to stay in South Dakota, constructed in the 1920s and subsequently growing into an award-winning destination. It offers unique accommodations for visitors, ensuring a memorable experience. With 61 rooms, on-site restaurants, and other impressive features, the resort stands out. The cuisine is delectable, and you can savor exceptional food while overlooking the state’s remarkable features. The resort provides a vibrant and dynamic experience against a mountainous backdrop.

Sleep at Elk Creek Lodge and Resort

Elk Creek Lodge and Resort is among the top resorts in the region, occupying a 150-acre parcel of land that can accommodate a wide range of guests and campers. It features numerous tent sites and RV sites, offering diverse accommodation options. The lodge provides facilities for hosting parties, catering, and even a bar. It’s an ideal destination for larger groups of friends or family.

Buffalo in Custer State Park

This hotel is situated in one of the most pristine locations in the region. A stay here offers breathtaking views of exceptional features like Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Monument, Mount Rushmore, and Jewel Cave. The hotel offers remarkable amenities, and the friendly staff provides exquisite spa services. Whether you prefer gazing at the stars at night in your tent or cottage, you’ll find something to suit your preferences in this area.

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.