South Dakota's Must-See Attractions

From Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial to historic Deadwood and Custer State Park, check out South Dakota’s must-see attractions.
By: Krystyna Barnard

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: AWL Images / Getty Images

Photo By: Robert Harding World Imagery / Getty Images

Photo By: National Park Service

Photo By: Greg Valladolid

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Photo By: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Mount Rushmore

Completed in 1941, Mount Rushmore is undoubtedly one of the most recognized memorials in South Dakota, and in the US. Each year, more than 3 million visitors come face-to-face with the likeness of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Plan a visit to Mount Rushmore in 2016 when it will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Badlands National Park

Located 75 miles east of Rapid City, SD, Badlands National Park spans across 244,000 acres of prairie grassland, and boasts beautiful landscape views of unique and rugged geologic formations. Visitors from around the world visit the Badlands to camp, hike and view wildlife like bison, bighorn sheep and black-footed ferrets roaming throughout the park.

Deadwood, SD

Once home to Wild West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock, Deadwood, SD, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Located in the northern Black Hills, visitors can experience the rich history of the Wild West at family-friendly museums and attractions, test their luck gambling at one of the casinos, or get a taste of South Dakota at Belle Joli or Schade Winery.

Crazy Horse Memorial

A short distance from Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial -- the world?s largest mountain carving -- stands as a tribute to Crazy Horse, a Lakota warrior and one of the most important Native American tribal leaders. Construction on the memorial began in 1948, and has been in progress since; once complete, it will stand 563 feet tall. Other attractions located at Crazy Horse Memorial include the Indian Museum of North America, a cultural center, restaurant and gift shop which showcase the culture, tradition and heritage of North American Indians.

Custer State Park

Seventy-one thousand acres of breathtakingly beautiful scenery awaits the outdoorsy and adventurous at Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. From hiking and mountain biking to fishing and wildlife viewing, the park offers a little bit of everything for everyone. In addition to camping, the park offers a variety of accommodations, including the historic State Game Lodge and Blue Bell dude ranch.

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

Each September, thousands of people travel to Custer State Park to experience the annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup when a group of cowboys and cowgirls roundup and drive a herd of approximately 1,300 buffalo. After the roundup, grab a small bite to eat at the Dutch Oven or Chili Cook-off then stop by the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival for arts and crafts vendors and entertainment.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Named a National Historic Site in 1999, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site stands as an ongoing reminder of the Cold War Era. Learn about the history and significance of the Cold War and nuclear weapons development on a tour throughout the Minuteman Missile Silo launch facility and control room.

Akela Spa of Deadwood

Designed with luxury and serenity in mind, Akela Spa of Deadwood -- the area?s only destination spa -- uses Native American treatments to calm and soothe its guests. Book the spa?s signature massage, Akela Hante, which uses cedar oil -- a sacred element in the Native American culture -- to purify and heal your mind and body.

I-29 Cultural Corridor

The I-29 Cultural Corridor in east South Dakota features a variety of attractions including the South Dakota Art Museum, National Music Museum and Children?s Museum of South Dakota. 

Ingalls Homestead

Experience life on the prairie with a visit to Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, SD. This is where author Laura Ingalls Wilder once lived, and the inspiration began that sparked her popular Little House books. Travelers of all ages will enjoy an old-fashioned day on the prairie with a covered wagon ride, an authentic 1880s school session, pioneering activities and more.

The Corn Palace

Opened in 1921, the Corn Palace -- the world?s only palace built entirely out of corn -- is a popular attraction visited by more than 500,000 people each year. Some visitors return to see the new theme of the mural on the outside of the palace, which changes annually. In addition to being a tourist attraction, the palace is used for a variety of events, including exhibits, performances and the annual Corn Palace Festival.

National Music Museum

It?s music to your ears. The National Music Museum, located at the University of South Dakota, features a collection of more than 15,000 musical instruments from various cultures and centuries. A designated ?Landmark of American Music,? the museum has one of the largest collections of its kind in the world, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Get ready to hit the pavement at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally -- one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. Welcoming almost 400,000 bikers and biking enthusiasts each year, the 7-day rally takes place the 1st week of August in Sturgis, SD, and includes scenic drives, concerts, races and more.

Tabor Czech Days

Experience the rich Czech culture of Tabor, SD, at the annual Tabor Czech Days celebration. The 3-day event includes music entertainment, dancing and traditional Czech cuisine, as well as parades and craft fairs that showcase the town?s heritage.

Children’s Museum of South Dakota

You?ll find fun for the whole family at the Children?s Museum of South Dakota, located just off the I-29 corridor in Brookings, SD. Here, children?s minds will run wild as they sing, dance, craft and play throughout the museum?s 21,000-square-foot interactive exhibit space and 1.5-acre outdoor exhibit space.

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