Spotlight: South Dakota

South Dakota, the land of 'Great Faces, Great Places' offers infinite variety, reflected in the rolling prairies, glittering lakes, granite peaks, towering pines, old western towns and bustling cities. To the west, The Black Hills and Badlands are home to the spectacular mountain carvings of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, other-worldly Badlands National Park and the historic town of Deadwood. Visitors are drawn to the state's wildlife-watching opportunities at myriad sprawling national and state parks and along scenic byways. While discovering off-the-beaten-path treasures, the inherent thread of Wild West history and American Indian culture piques one's curiosity, fuelling the desire to explore some more.


The Mount Rushmore State

Major airports:
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
Denver International Airport (DEN)
Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Spring: 10°C to 16°C
Summer: 16°C to 32°C
Autumn: 7°C to 14°C
Winter: -12°C to 0°C

Mountain Daylight Time
(-6 hours GMT)


Getting around

Whether you're in the driver's seat or pedalling your bicycle (although car is most accessible in this state), begin your planning with the basics. Two interstate highways cut across South Dakota – Interstate 90 and 29 and you'll find thirteen information centres and eight rest areas along here, staffed from mid-May to mid-September, offering brochures and maps, as well in-person travel information.

New & Trending

Experience the new Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Tours where you will not only be able to hear the inspiring story about how and why Mount Rushmore was carved, but you will now be able to see photos and videos with the new Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Tours. An upgrade on the previous audio tours, the new device works just like a smartphone and features a total of 29 interactive tour stops.

Set to open in 2019, Levitt at the Falls is an outdoor music venue that will be built in Falls Park West and feature 50 free concerts from artists of various genres each summer.

The Wagons at Rushmore Shadows offers luxury wagon rentals that can sleep four to six, with a king-size bed and either one or two sets of bunkbeds. The property features a swimming pool, hot tub and free bicycle rentals for guest use. There are also hiking trails on the property for guests to explore.

Fun fact: Did you know the word 'Dakota' derives from a Native American term for 'friend'? Visitors will have no trouble making new friends in South Dakota.

Must see

Mount Rushmore, Pennington County: 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.

Badlands National Park: This striking South Dakota landscape boasts a maze of buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires. Skeletons of three-toed horses and sabre-toothed cats are among the many fossilised 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.

Custer State Park: 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.

Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer County: Walk in the footsteps of historic Old West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock. 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.

Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer County: 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 America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Centre also provide educational and cultural programming.

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