Great Plains Travel Guide

Originally inhabited by Native American tribes for many centuries, the Great Plains were first explored by the French and Spanish explorers in the 17th century. The entire region was under French possession for over a century, and then Napoleon surprisingly sold it to the United States under the famous Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

The Great Plains are a major holiday destination in the US, known for their scenic landscapes, cowboy culture, historic sites, ancient caves, state and national parks, good recreational opportunities, and much more.

Major tourist attractions in the region include the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial in Black Hills, Badlands National Park, and cowtown of Deadwood in South Dakota; the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri; National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma; memorials to the Oregon Trail at Chimney Rock Historic Site in Nebraska; historic attractions in Dodge City, Kansas; and much more.

Major Cities: St. Louis, Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Jamestown, Wichita and Rapid City.

Weather & Climate

The Great Plains has an interior continental climate, with hot summers and mild to cold winters. January is the coldest month in the region with temperatures averaging 37°F-10°F (–12°C to 3°C), while July is hottest with average temperatures ranging from 65°F (18°C) to 90°F (32°C).