Here are the Great 8 Places that put South Dakota on the map.
America’s Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore National Memorial (features the 60-foot faces of four great American presidents who represent the birth, growth, development and preservation of this country. Open year-round, and near hotels, the park includes a half-mile walking trail, museum, gift shop and dining room.
The striking South Dakota Badlands landscape boasts a maze of buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires. Skeletons of three-toed horses and saber-toothed cats are among the many fossilized species found here. Wildlife abounds in the park’s 244,000 acres and can often be seen while hiking, camping and traveling the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway.
Korczak Ziolkowski began work on Crazy Horse Memorial in 1948. Once complete, this tribute to the Lakota leader will be the largest mountain carving in South Dakota, and the world. The on-site Indian Museum of North American and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center also provide educational and cultural programming.
Walk in the footsteps of historic Old West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock in historic Deadwood. This 1870s gold rush town became a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Today, it teems with Black Hills entertainment and things to do including concerts, casinos, museums, historic sites, spas and parades.
With a name derived from the crystals that line its walls, Jewel Cave National Monument is even more significant as the third-longest cave in the world. Features of this South Dakota attraction include a variety of cave tours below the forest, and a 1,279-acre park with nature trails above ground.
Few truly wild places remain in this country. Custer State Park is one of them. Nearly 1,300 bison wander the park’s 71,000 acres, which they share with pronghorn antelope, elk, mountain goats and a band of burros. Trail rides, scenic drives, bike rides and safari tours are perfect ways to explore this impressive South Dakota attraction.
The first cave to be designated a national park, Wind Cave National Park features the world’s largest concentration of rare boxwork formations along with a 28,295-acres of South Dakota wildlife sanctuary on the surface.
History and adventure abound along and on the waters of the Mighty Missouri. Free-flowing sections and four reservoirs – Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case and Lewis & Clark Lake – are prime for fishing, boating and water recreation. Dedicated by President Kennedy in 1962, the Oahe Dam controls the waters surrounded by Lake Oahe’s 2,250 miles of shoreline. More than a million people, annually, visit the country’s fourth-largest reservoir.