Travel South Dakota | Exploring the Midwest Episode 4

Last Updated on April 29, 2021 by Jody Halsted

Today’s guest is Ciara Rounds, Global Media & Public Relations Representative for the South Dakota Department of Tourism.

Broadcast moderator is freelance writer-photographer Mike Whye who has been writing about travel across the world but primarily the Upper Midwest since 1990.  His articles and photographs have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and state tourism productions.   He lived for a couple years in Grand Forks, then lived near Sioux Falls for nine years and continues to travel across the states.  Mike is the author of The Dakotas Off the Beaten Path.

About the South Dakota Landscape

South Dakota is a brilliant mix of plains, canyon, and mountains. It’s a state that isn’t defined by one thing – though there is something that people tend to focus on when considering a South Dakota vacation…

Misconception About South Dakota

While Mount Rushmore is a defining piece of South Dakota – it isn’t the only thing to do in the state!

What to See & Do in South Dakota

South Dakota is a large state- it takes approximately 6 hours to cross, west to east, along Interstate 90. You will drive past farm fields and plains and into mountains.

Big Horn Sheep in Badlands National Park, South Dakota
We found these Big Horn Sheep near Notch Trail

The Badlands (National Park) are nearly indescribable. Some spots feel otherworldly. It’s a terrific place to go hiking or camp for a night or two.

The Black Hills are the beginning of the ‘mountain region’ of the US. Terrific spots for hiking and biking. Custer State Park and, of course, Mount Rushmore.

Sioux Falls area: Palisades State Park, the Washington Pavilion museum, and state parks for outdoor recreation.

In the middle of the state: water adventure on the Missouri River and a fun, kitchy stop at Wall Drug.

prairie girls at Ingalls Homestead, DeSmet, South Dakota

The Ingalls Homestead and DeSmet, South Dakota, were the location of most of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Other historic sites include ‘Wild West’ and gold rush history, Native American lands and cultural sites, and Lewis & Clark trails.

The Mammoth Site, Hot Springs, South Dakota

The Mammoth Site is an active paleontological dig site in Hot Springs.

I-90 stretches the width of South Dakota and with five National and State Scenic Byways covering hundreds of miles make it the perfect road tripping state. 

South Dakota has 56 State Parks and recreation areas and 6 National Parks Service sites, so there is a lot of opportunity for wide open spaces and outdoor adventure.

National Park Sites in South Dakota

Native American History in South Dakota

Crazy Horse memorial and cultural center

Pow Wows take place across the state during the summer.

Cities in South Dakota

Sioux Falls in the eastern part of the state and Rapid City at the western edge. Both cities have beautiful art scenes and public sculptures.

South Dakota Highlights in 2021

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