South Dakota is home to some of the best National Parks in the country. Free entry to these parks is available on certain days, but you’ll find plenty of other complimentary things to do on a South Dakota vacation to fill your other days.
Be sure to check before you go to make sure entry policies haven’t changed and make donations when you can to non-profits.
1. Jewel Cave
It’s the third longest cave in the world and has more than 180 miles of mapped passages. Jewel Cave is a National Monument you’ll definitely want to explore. In 2016, for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the per person fee was waved on these days: January 18, April 16-24, August 25-28, September 24, and November 11. [Current fee information, including free entrance days, can be found on the National Park Service's website for Jewel Cave.]
2. Black Hills National Forest
Over 1.2 million acres of forest and mountains make up the Black Hills that go through South Dakota and Wyoming, allowing for endless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding and watching nature. You can discover streams, lakes, canyons, and unique rock formations in the Black Hills National Forest.
3. Mount Moriah Cemetery
Learn about some of the notables in South Dakota history, including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, through a visit to Mount Moriah Cemtery.