State of Great Hidden Gems

May 12, 2018 - May 16, 2018

Day One

James and I woke up early in the morning to catch our flights from Portland, Oregon, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With all the coffee flowing, we made it to our destination. It was lovely to grab dinner with the @southdakota team!

Day Two

We dragged ourselves out of bed for sunrise in Sioux Falls. Found a lovely coffee shop: Josiah’s Coffeehouse & Cafe! We were v stoked about the avocado toast. Then we hit the road. My lack of direction led us in to Nebraska and Iowa. Once we finally realized we were in the wrong state, we hurried back to South Dakota!

We had lunch at Al’s Oasis, a good ol’ Western-style diner. Then, we stopped by 1880 Town. So amazing to see Dances with Wolves memorabilia and feel like a cowgirl in the old town.

Then we made it to the Badlands! It’s soooooo beautiful. We loved Pinnacle Overlook. It reminds me of a greener version of Utah or Arizona. 

Day Three

We were pretty exhausted from everything we did yesterday, so we decided to skip sunrise and catch up on rest. We found Essence of Coffee, which is now one of my favorite coffee shops ever. Their breakfast is insane. 

The clouds started rolling in, which is my favorite light to photograph, so we decided to check out Falling Rock Road. We met a local high-liner there named Caleb, who let us photograph him walking the tightrope that hung from canyon wall to canyon wall. 

From there we met up with local photographer Jesse and our South Dakota guide, Steph. They took us on a hike to a secret little waterfall buried in the woods. From there, we had to make the classic Mt. Rushmore stop and then watched a beautiful sunset at Breezy Point lookout. We ate dinner at the Alpine Inn, which consisted of a ranch-soaked salad, steak and the best bread pudding!

Day Four

This was a more relaxing day. We decided to spend the early morning checking out Crazy Horse Memorial and hearing its story. It’s stunning to know that 10–15 years from now the hands and hair will be sculpted, but the statue won’t be completed for many more.  

From there, we decided to get our cowboy tourist vibes on and walk around the old Western town of Deadwood

We decided to spend sunset watching the buffalo and deer roam around the Wildlife Loop. We made friends with the local buffalo as they used our car as a neck scratching post and stuck their heads through our car windows. All in all, a great day. 

Day Five

We rallied and woke up at 4am to catch the sunrise in the Badlands before jetting home to Portland. 

We are beyond thankful for the experiences, friends made, and photos captured in beautiful South Dakota. Everyone should see this state at some point in their lifetime!