North America

Best Things to Do in South Dakota

Best Things to Do in South Dakota

Most Unique Things to Do in South Dakota

With over 70,000 miles of land to cover, travelers can engage in many things to do in South Dakota, be it hiking, visiting museums and other unique attractions in SD, or visiting the world-famous Mount Rushmore. There are numerous things to do in South Dakota for all ages, couples, and even families without costing too much. The best thing to do is to have a vehicle to travel to these great spots and you can explore them within two weeks.



What’s Special in South Dakota?

South Dakota is a special place because it is home to many national icons and beautiful landscapes hence drawing tourists from other estates and nations. Also, South Dakota is famous for its agricultural capabilities and pristine national parks. The best time of the year to visit these attractions in South Dakota is in summertime, from May to October. One fun fact about South Dakota is that this estate is not only home to a pristine national park but you can also visit barren and dry terrain called the badlands.


Skiing at Great Bear Ski Valley very Close to Downton Sioux Falls

Things to do in South Dakota in Winter - Skiing at Great Bear Ski Valley located very Close to Downton Sioux Falls

For those who have not experienced skiing, one of the things to do in South Dakota in December or the wintertime in general is going to Great Bear Ski Valley near Sioux Falls, downtown. This ski resort is one of the unique attractions in SD because there are not many ski resorts nearby and a lot of effort goes into it to make the hill compatible with ski boards and tubing.

The ski resort covers an area of 220- acres, not too shabby but it is mostly for families not for pros. In Summertime, you can also enjoy this area by hiking across the Wallin Nature Trail. The ticket price for the ski resort is dependent on the day of the week and the type of activity you want to engage in but it goes from $8 to $40. the summer, spring, and fall hike is one of the free things to do in South Dakota, especially for friends and couples.


Visiting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone Town

Free Attractions in SD - Mount Rushmore National Memorial Found in Keystone Town

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is perhaps among the most famous South Dakota tourist attractions, with many crows from all over the country coming to visit the depiction of a great past president carved on the side of a mountain. If you love taking pictures, one of the main free things to do in South Dakota in July is to visit Mount Rushmore and immerse yourself in the glory of this magnificent stone sculpture in Keystone Town. There is a small charge for parking fee though.


What is the number 1 attraction in South Dakota?

The number one attraction in South Dakota is undoubtedly the Mount Rushmore National Memorial that depicts the most influential presidents in U.S. history.


Custer State Park in the Black Hills in the Custer County

Custer State Park in the Black Hills Found in the Custer County  -Things to Do in SD for Couples

The numerous things to do in South Dakota’s Custer State Park make this park a truly beautiful natural gem, with an area of over seventy thousand acres of beauty, for all nature lovers. Custer State Park is among the most favorable attractions in SD for couples who love trekking and enjoy boating, doing some picnicking in 341 campsites, and maybe even biking on designated trails. This park opens to nature lovers from October 1st till the end of April.


Seeing Wildlife at Bear Country USA in the Black Hills Area

Natural beauty is a big part of South Dakota and there are many incredible wildlife present in this region. Visiting one of such wild parks is one the most memorable things to do in South Dakota in May since the Bear Country USA opens beginning of this month.

Owned and operated by Casey’s family, the Bear Country USA when first opened in 1972, only has several bears and a handful of other animals like buffalos, cougars, a wolf, and an elk. Now, they care for about 30 species of animals, with bears still the stars of the place, creating an environment where animals roam free and people can also engage with them and get to know them.

You can either explore the designated paths by walking or take the drive-through option and see these majestic creatures from the comfort of your vehicle. In both cases, you need to adhere to the rules, for your safety. The current rate per adult and child in a private car is $22 and $17 respectively. The maximum fee for a vehicle is $80. They also provide a guided tour that takes about 2 hours and costs $20.


Why Do People Visit South Dakota?

There is no shortage of South Dakota tourist attractions just a lack of time to visit them fully! South Dakota has nice landscapes, great mountain ranges, diverse terrains, and free-roaming wildlife. Therefore, any season you travel to this great estate, there are things to do in South Dakota, especially if you love nature or enjoy photography. Even though Mount Rushmore is the most photographed place in South Dakota, other hidden spots are worth visiting and should not be missed.


Feeding Butterflies at Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sertoma Park in Sioux Falls

Places to See in South Dakota for Families - Feeding Butterflies at Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sertoma Park in Sioux Falls

Opened in 2002 as a butterfly conservation and research institute in Sioux Falls, this place is one of the most fantastic South Dakota attractions for families to learn about marine life and observe the life of colorful butterflies. The aquarium tank here holds around 10,000 gallons of water and houses coral reefs and sea life from the Caribbean as well as the Indo-Pacific region.

The Butterflies at Butterfly House & Aquarium is part of the Sertoma Park and the admission fee is around $15 per adult and $11 per child with an additional $3 for feeding butterflies. The Butterfly House is open from Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Aquarium operates every Saturday and Sunday on the same time frame.


Exploring the Jewel Cave National Monument in Town of Custer

Jewel Cave National Monument Located in Town of Custer -Adventurous Attractions in South Dakota

When President Roosevelt declared the Jewel Cave a national monument in 1908, this cave was still one of the hidden attractions in SD but after that several tour operators started to bring people in and more explorations ensued resulting in the discovery of about 220 caves miles of passageways.

This cave is currently the second longest in the U.S. and fifth in the entire world. That is interesting because, upon its initial discovery, it was believed that it went down for up to 2 miles. On top of the cave, people can walk along the 4 miles of Canyons and Roof Trails plus an additional 5 miles of Black Hills National Forest which is full of pine trees all free of charge.

There are various activities you can take part in Jewel Cave National Monument. The educational tour, which is in a room, suitable for adults and children will cost per adult $6 per child $3. The scenic tour which is in the actual cave takes roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes costing each adult visitor $16 and half of that for children above 5. Children under 5 are not charged for either. There are two more strenuous tours, Lantern, and Wild Caving, that take place mostly in the summer season if the situation allows it.

The shoe you wear here needs to be proper to avoid slipping and in summertime, you need to check for ticks and bugs as they are not uncommon in this cave. The Jewel Cave National Monument hours of operations are from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 in the afternoon. One of the best things to do in South Dakota in the summertime is visiting Jewel Cave as all the facilities are fully operational that time of the year.


Admiring Airplanes in South Dakota Air and Space Museum in Northeast of Box Elder City

Admiring Airplanes in South Dakota Air and Space Museum in Northeast of Box Elder City is one of Things to See in SD

If you are a fan of military war crafts, fighter jets, and experimental airplanes then exploring the South Dakota Air and Space Museum is one of the unique things to do in South Dakota for enthusiasts. Most of the interesting aircraft like Bombers are located outside the museum building but on the inside, you get to experience the history of each mission and craft. This museum is located on the premises of Ellsworth Air Force Base, northeast of Box Elder City. The admission to this air museum is free and you get to even get inside the cockpits of most planes. Make sure to check with them whether the museum is open or not as it is still under renovation.

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