Driving through the Badlands in the snow

Let's Road Trip!

Iconic national and state park units and recreation areas — check. Wide open spaces, jaw-dropping sights and the freedom of the open road — check. Kitschy roadside attractions, untamed Wild West history and wilder critters — check. Mix in the friendly, personable nature of people in this Midwestern state with the surprisingly diverse landscape and you have something special. There’s no other place where you can check so many things off your bucket list.

South Dakota has all the makings for an epic road trip. See the iconic 60-foot stone faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Get a rare chance to see creation in action at Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest in-progress mountain carving. Take in nature by exploring the wildlife and rock formations of Custer State Park and the open prairie of central and eastern South Dakota. Wander the otherworldly landscapes of Badlands National Park. Set off on the mighty Missouri River like Lewis and Clark. From the area’s first Native American residents to the Wild West and beyond, history is alive and ready to be experienced.

When you're ready, discover what great places are waiting in South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore Through the Trees
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone
Sunflower Sunset
Sunflower field, Central region
Needles Highway, Custer State Park
Needles Highway, Custer State Park
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Scenic Byways

South Dakota is home to five nationally and state-recognized scenic byways that are always making lists for being some of the best in the country. Hundreds of miles of smooth blacktop take travelers through some truly great places. Experience the otherworldly formations of the Badlands and world-famous monuments like Mount Rushmore. Take in the state's rich Native American history on tribal lands that include the final resting places of spiritual leaders like Sitting Bull and Black Elk. Finally, experience the crown jewel of the state. Custer State Park is not only beautiful. It's also where the buffalo still roam free and the deer & antelope play. 

Great 8
Badlands National Park

This striking South Dakota landscape boasts a maze of buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires. Skeletons of three-toed horses and saber-toothed cats are among the many fossilized species found here. Wildlife abounds in the park’s 244,000 acres and can often be seen while hiking, camping and traveling the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway.

badlands national park
Badlands
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Mount Rushmore National Memorial

America's Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore National Memorial features the 60-foot faces of four great American presidents who represent the birth, growth, development and preservation of this country. Beginning summer 2019 and lasting approximately 18 months, enhancements are being made to the park grounds. Mount Rushmore remains open during this time.

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
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Jewel Cave National Monument

The third-longest cave in the world features a variety of cave tours below the surface and a 1,279-acre park with nature trails above ground.

Jewel Cave Interior
Jewel Cave
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Custer State Park

Few truly wild places remain in this country. Custer State Park is one of them. Nearly 1,300 bison wander the park’s 71,000 acres, which they share with pronghorn antelope, elk, mountain goats and a band of burros.

Needles Highway
Custer State Park
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Historic Deadwood

Walk in the footsteps of historic Old West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock. This 1870s gold rush town became a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Today, it teems with Black Hills entertainment and things to do including concerts, casinos, museums, historic sites, spas and parades.

Deadwood
Deadwood
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Missouri River

History and adventure abound along and on the waters of the Mighty Mo’. Free-flowing sections and four reservoirs – Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case and Lewis & Clark Lake – are prime for fishing, boating and water recreation.

Missouri River Fishing
Pierre Missouri River
Great 8
Wind Cave National Park

The first cave to be designated a national park, Wind Cave National Park features the world's largest concentration of rare boxwork formations along with 33,851 acres of forest and prairie on the surface creating a sanctuary for wildlife.

Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave
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Crazy Horse Memorial

Korczak Ziolkowski began work on Crazy Horse Memorial in 1948. Once complete, this tribute to the Lakota leader will be the largest mountain carving in South Dakota, and the world. The on-site Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center also provide educational and cultural programming.

Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse
Badlands
Badlands icon
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore icon
Jewel Cave
Jewel Cave icon
Custer State Park
Custer State Park icon
Deadwood
Deadwood icon
Pierre Missouri River
Missouri River icon
Wind Cave
Wind Cave icon
Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse Icon
START PLANNING YOUR NEXT TRIP TO SOUTH DAKOTA
Cover of the 2022 South Dakota Vacation Guide
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