Whether you are hiking through the Black Hills or marveling at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota offers many attractions for travelers. The state has a rich and complex history, which has created some must-see spots the next time you find yourself in the Coyote State. Let’s take a look at the top South Dakota bucket list items to see what you don’t want to miss!
10. Historic Old Town Deadwood
On this location, many legendary names in the Wild West—such as Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Seth Bullock—rose to fame. Deadwood was established during the gold rush, and its inhabitants aim to preserve the memory of their ancestors. Guests are able to relive an important piece of American history.
9. The Corn Palace
The first thing you notice when you see the Corn Palace is the artistic murals covering the exterior walls, which are completely made of corn and changed annually based on a chosen theme. There are also many murals inside the building, representing the history of the area. The Corn Palace is also used as a concert venue, sports arena, and art exhibition hall.
8. Jewel Cave National Monument
Containing nearly 200 miles of mapped passageways, Jewel Cave is the third-longest cave in the known world. Depending on your experience and comfort level, there are four different degrees of tours through the cave, exploring all of the colorful underground rock formations.
(image via Flickr)
As its name would suggest, SculptureWalk is an outdoor art exhibit comprised of sculptures from local artists. The lineup is always changing because artists display their work, and visitors vote on which ones they enjoy the most. Every year, there are more than 50 new sculptures rotated through the space.
6. Chapel in the Hills
A scale replica of the Borgan Stavkirke in Norway, Chapel in the Hills brings a taste of Scandinavia to South Dakota. Vespers services are conducted every night during the warmer months. There is also a museum that chronicles the lives of Norwegian immigrants.
5. Needles Highway
South Dakota Highway 87
Because of its sharp turns and low tunnels, many thought that Needles Highway was an impossible engineering feat to complete. Nevertheless, the road was opened in 1922, and it has since been named a National Scenic Byway. Located in Custer State Park, you can’t beat the unique views.
4. Art Alley
(image via Flickr)
Begun in 2005 as a public art project, Art Alley quickly became one of the most exciting attractions in Rapid City. Located downtown, the area is constantly changing due to the street artwork of graffiti artists who come from all over the world. Beyond its colorful walls, Art Alley is also known for its street performers.
3. Falls Park
Covering 123 acres, Falls Park has been a favorite spot for locals since the city was founded in 1856. In addition to the natural beauty of the region, Falls Park is home to many famous structures, including Queen Bee Mill, Now Falls Overlook Cafe, and Horse Barn.
2. Crazy Horse Memorial
This planned mountain monument shows Crazy Horse, leader of the Oglala Lakota, valiantly riding his steed. Though construction began in 1948, the Crazy Horse Memorial is still a work in progress. When completed, though no end date is currently in sight, it will be the largest sculpture in the world.
1. Badlands National Park
No South Dakota bucket list is complete without a visit to this last location. Covering 244,000 square acres, Badlands National Park serves as a wildlife preserve for native bison, prairie dogs, and bighorn sheep. The scenic mountain views look like something from a postcard. While there, you can learn about the history of the area, such as when saber-toothed tigers roamed the land.