South Dakota is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated states in the U.S. Most people associate the state with Mount Rushmore and little else, but the truth is, South Dakota has a lot to offer. I used to live in South Dakota and have visited many times since then, and I always thoroughly enjoy my time there. Here are 3 reasons why I think South Dakota should be your next vacation spot:
South Dakota has a lot of awesome outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy, from hiking, fishing, kayaking, rock-climbing, and horseback riding. Badlands National Park offers some incredible hiking through crazy rock formations and features. It will seriously feel as though you’re on another planet! Custer State Park also has a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from, such as hiking the tallest mountain in the state, Black Elk Peak (formerly known as Harney Peak), fishing/swimming in Sylvan Lake, and rock-climbing The Needles. Spearfish Canyon is another great area for hiking and fishing, with lots of gorgeous streams and waterfalls to enjoy.
South Dakota has an incredibly rich history, and it’s amazing to learn about everything that has taken place in the state. While Mount Rushmore is definitely a must-visit, I would also recommend visiting the Crazy Horse Memorial which, upon completion, will be the world’s largest mountain carving. Other great areas to visit to learn about the history of South Dakota are Deadwood, where you can learn about the gold rush and visit the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, and the Mammoth Site & Museum, where you can step even further back into history by visiting the world’s largest mammoth research facility.
If you visit South Dakota, you’re sure to find some truly unique experiences and activities. For instance, Wall Drug, a massive general store located in the town of Wall, is a destination known around the world, featuring all kinds of shops and exhibits, like an animatronic T-rex and a massive jackrabbit statue. Dinosaur Park in Rapid City is another quirky spot, featuring large dinosaur statues on a hill overlooking the entire city. In Custer State Park, you have a really good chance of encountering herds of buffalo, which is an amazing sight. And of course, Mitchell, SD is home to the Corn Palace, an entire facility dedicated to (you guessed it) corn! There are so many unique and quirky spots in South Dakota that the whole family is sure to be entertained.
If you need some inspiration for your next family vacation, I hope you at least consider visiting South Dakota! It’s definitely a bucket-list destination in the U.S., and I promise you won’t be disappointed.