Top Ten Reasons to go to South Dakota

 

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South Dakota has some great attractions, and has quite a bit more than I will mention here.   The drive across central S.D. can be painful, and once again I recommend podcasts to get you through those long drives.  South Dakota has quite a bit more than is listed here, but this is a good start if you have not been before.

  1. Mt Rushmore – Mt. Rushmore is one of those iconic things that every American should see.  Located near Keystone in the Black Hills, the scenery around Mt. Rushmore is an attraction itself.  The faces of our four presidents are carved out of granite and will last for thousands of years.  Upon entering the Mt. Rushmore Memorial Park there is a walking path that will get you several different angles on the Mountain and lots of photo opportunities.
  2. Badlands – The badlands are an area of land that has been eroded by wind, and water over time to form an other worldly landscape.  The grassland prairie in the area just seems to drop off into what I would imagine the moon would look like with oddly formed ridges, hills and drop offs.  The road through the Badlands National Park winds right through the middle of it all giving you great views an lots of photo opportunities.  20160423_081357
  3. Dinosaur bones – When I was a child I was obsessed with everything dinosaurs.  I’m sure today’s youth are no different.  In Hot Springs, South Dakota, just south of Rapid City you can tour an active fossil dig site.  Amazingly in this one small area, 58 Colombian mammoths have been found, and 3 Wooly mammoths have been found.  Click here for their site.
  4. Falls Park, Sioux Falls – I hadn’t done much research on Sioux Falls when we decided to stop by on our road trip this year, but we stopped in and were really surprised with how nice the this town was.  Falls Park is a must do when in town and is located downtown.  This falls cascade over a large area creating lots of space to explore and view the falls.  There are two pedestrian bridges, and a tower to get a higher perspective.  Click here for more information on Falls park.DSCN1313
  5. Deadwood – Deadwood does its best to recreate the feel of an old west town, and it does a pretty good job of it.  Gun fights break out, and cowboys saunter the streets.  You can also see the final resting places of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.  Click here for more information on Deadwood.
  6. Needles highway – The Needles highway is a great place to see the best of what the  Black Hills area has to offer.  If you like scenic driving, its hard to beat the switchbacks, tunnels, and cruise through the Needles.  Highway 87 as it is officially known was thought to be impossible to build, but was completed none the less in 1922.  Clear out a few hours to drive the needles.  Click here for more information.
  7. The Wildlife of Custer State Park – Custer State Park will remind you of all those old westerns you might have watched with your parents.  The terrain is rugged, and wild complete with buffaloes roaming, and lots of wildlife.  This is a good place to see the wildlife of the old west in its natural state.  Click here for more information.20160422_155611.jpg
  8. The Corn Palace – The Corn Palace (located in Mitchell) is not made completely of corn as you might think, but has mosaic murals made of corn on the outside of the building.  The palace was built to show that the area had a good climate for agriculture, and is the only corn palace left in the world. This is quite the busy place hosting everything from basketball games to concerts.  Click here for more information.
  9. Wall drug – If you are not aware that Wall Drug is coming up on your journey west you might want to check your eyesight.  There seem to be hundreds of billboards touting it, most stating how many miles you have to go.  Wall Drug is full of western kitsch, and souvenirs, and a good spot to get something for the kids.  The ice cream is great here, and they have cafeteria style food.  There are quite a few opportunities for photos with cowboy statues, giant jack elopes you can ride, and wall drug billboards.  Click here for their site.20160422_130625
  10. Crazy Horse – Crazy Horse is a large stone monument carved in the side of a mountain.  This memorial to the Native American Crazy Horse will be the largest in the world when completed.  This undertaking will take quite some time, but the face is clearly visible, and rock is being cleared away on the lower regions.  Click here for more information.  The link has some great aerial photos of the memorial.

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