woman walking down the sidewalk of a historic downtown area

Regions & Cities

in South Dakota
Hot Springs

No matter what city or region of South Dakota you’re visiting, you’ll discover incredible sites, attractions, and places to visit. 

Hit the waterways of the Missouri River or visit the capital in the central region. Explore national parks, monuments and caves in the Black Hills and Badlands of the west region. Learn about frontier history and Native American culture on the glacial lakes and prairies of the northeast region. Sample local wines, go fishing on more than 175 lakes, or discover the exceptional art scene in South Dakota’s largest city—all in the state’s southeast region. Whether you’re on a solo journey or traveling with friends or family, South Dakota’s diverse regions offer unique experiences for everyone.

The West Region: Black Hills & Badlands

The western region of South Dakota offers majestic granite spires, pine-covered peaks and unique rock outcroppings. Named “Paha Sapa” by the Native Americans, the Black Hills are full of scenery, adventure and rich history. With one of the largest concentrations of national parks, monuments and caves in the Midwest, you’re sure to discover the family vacation destinations that capture the spirit of America when you vacation in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. 

largest city:  Rapid City
population:  74,000+
website:  VisitRapidCity.com

Near Rapid City:

Find yourself in smack dab in the middle of the country in Bell Fourche at the official Center of the Nation Monument. Head out for outdoor adventures at many National Park landmarks and spot native bison in Custer. Experience the wildest part of the West in Historic Deadwood. Cast a fly fishing line out in Spearfish, join the buzzing motorcycle rally in Sturgis, and much more.

Other cities in the western region:

Belle Fourche  |  Custer  |  Deadwood  |  Hill City  |  Hot Springs  |  Lead  |  Spearfish  |  Sturgis

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The Central Region: Missouri River

In the late 1940s, the Missouri River was dammed to create the massive Oahe, Sharpe, Francis Case, and Lewis & Clark reservoirs. These massive bodies of water together make up South Dakota’s Missouri River region, where you can retrace the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, experience Native American heritage, and unwind on the more than 3,000 miles of shoreline. Not to mention, this is the region where our State Capitol resides, along with a bounty of interesting artifacts, government sites and state history. 

largest city:  Pierre
population: 14,000+
website:  Pierre.org

Near Pierre:

Discover the outdoor beauty of Chamberlain, where the South Dakota Hall of Fame resides. Go cycling through the growing Old Western town of Fort Pierre. Catch the Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo in Mobridge, visit the Dakota Sunset Museum in Gettysburg, where the 40-ton Medicine Rock is embedded, and more.

Other cities in central South Dakota:

Chamberlain  |  Fort Pierre  |  Gettysburg Mobridge  |  Platte  |  Wagner  |  Winner

The Northeast Region: Glacial Lakes & Prairies

If you love the great outdoors, you’ll love the fresh glacial lakes and prairies of northeastern South Dakota. The region offers unique family attractions, countless camping opportunities and plenty of outdoor adventures for kids of all ages. You’ll also find frontier history, plentiful walleye and one-of-a-kind events as well as art galleries, museums, wineries and Native American culture.

largest city:  Aberdeen
population:  28,000+
website:  VisitAberdeenSD.com

Near Aberdeen:

Explore the small but mighty town of Watertown, aplenty with culture and attractions. Experience vibrant indigenous culture in Sisseton. Don't miss the World's Largest Pheasant statue in Huron, catch a movie at one of the oldest and last remaining drive-in theatres in South Dakota in Redfield, and more.

Other cities in the northeastern region:

Brookings  |  Clear Lake  |  Huron  |  Milbank  |  Redfield  |  Sisseton  |  Watertown  |  Webster

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The Southeast Region

Bustling cities, quiet country escapes, fine arts and culture, family attractions and an abundance of outdoor adventures offer a variety of fun in the southeastern region. Great fishing, boating, and swimming abounds in numerous rivers and 175 fishing lakes ranging in size from three to 29,000 acres. Stroll through vineyards and sample local wines along the winery trail. Explore the Missouri River National Recreational River as Lewis and Clark did more than 200 years ago or the city-wide art installation known as SculptureWalk in Sioux Falls.  

largest city:  Sioux Falls
population:  178,000+
website:  ExperienceSiouxFalls.com

Near Sioux Falls:

Experience the small-town charm and The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell. Take in the views of the beautiful riverside gem of Yankton, a prime position along the Missouri River. Explore the charming art, history and recreation of Vermillion, and more.

Other cities in the southeast region:

Brandon  |  Canton  |  Dakota Dunes  |  Dell Rapids  |  Elk Point Freeman  |  Hartford  |  Madison  |  Mitchell  |  Parkston  |  Springfield  |  Vermillion  |  Yankton  

Illustrated image of three bison grazing in Custer State Park. The Needles rock formation is visible in the background.
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