South Dakota Travel Guide

South Dakota is nestled in the center of the US Midwest. Almost square in shape, the state is bordered by North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Very much a rural economy, South Dakota offers visitors a laidback vacation in the Great Plains state. Most famous for its Mount Rushmore carving, South Dakota welcomes many Americans who make what could almost be described as a pilgrimage to see the spectacular carvings.

The Great Plains provides a great ecology for wildlife and visitors will enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitat, such as the pronghorn, bison and coyotes. Visitors should seek out the Badlands National park and Wind Cave National Park. To see the most popular attraction of South Dakota head to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Here visitors will be awestruck by the amazing presidential faces protruding from the rock face. South Dakota is also home to the second and fourth longest caves in the world, Jewel Cave and Wind Cave.

South Dakota’s capital is Pierre, although the largest city is Sioux Falls. Pierre has a population of less than 15,000 and is a quaint town. Looking over the Missouri River, Pierre is only a stone’s throw from Lake Oahe, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Lake Oahe is a popular sporting destination for locals who enjoy fishing and other activities there. The main architectural attraction in Pierre is the State Capitol, with its beautiful domed ceiling.

The two larger cities in South Dakota are Sioux Falls and Rapid City. However, even Sioux Falls has a population of less than 150,000. Sioux Falls is the main cultural center for South Dakota and visitors should seek out the Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science and the Visual Arts Center. The city is also famous for the annual Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Festival. Rapid City, although much smaller than Sioux Falls, offers a range of attractions for visitors. The main attractions include the Journey Museum, Dahl Arts Center and the Parade of Presidents.

South Dakota is also famous for its numerous archeological finds and children may especially enjoy seeing them. The state is home to the largest fossil of the t-rex in the world, while many other interesting specimens to be seen at the Journey Museum in Rapid City and the Pioneer Museum of Hot Springs.