South Dakota destinations, parks and attractions
Are you going on a road trip to South Dakota, looking for tips about the destinations so you and your party can enjoy it, be comfortable and not spend a fortune?
Here are some of the top destinations in South Dakota and tips about visiting them
Top South Dakota destinations
- Mt. Rushmore -
- Minuteman Missile Launching Bunker - Learn what it was like to have the awesome responsibility of thermonuclear war at your fingertips. The
ranger-guided tour of Delta-01 begins with a walk through of the grounds and topside support building. Visitors then descend via elevator 31 feet
underground to the Launch Control Center to see the electronic consoles used by missileers to control ten Minuteman II missiles. Built for
nuclear war, the control center features a small elevator and a tight underground space. To protect the historic facilities and to provide for
visitor safety, each tour is limited to six participants and a park ranger. This tour lasts forty-five minutes, beginning and ending at the entry
gate to the Delta-01 compound. The tour is moderately strenuous and requires a quarter mile round trip walk. All tour participants must be able to
walk and stand unassisted; modern seating is limited on the tour. Visitors who need mobility assistance (wheelchairs and etc.) on the tour should
contact the park at least a day before their reserved tour. All tours of the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility require advanced reservations and an
amenity fee. Reservations can be made on-line or by phone at 605-717-7629. Reservations can be made up to 90 days prior to tour date. In the summer
season tours fill up quickly.
Delta-01 Tour Fee
$12.00 - Adult age 17 and over
$8.00 - Youth ages 6-16 All youth must be accompanied by an adult.
- Crazy Horse -
- The Corn Palace - OK, this is not a "top destination", more like the "largest ball of string" category. But it is immensely silly and they have excellent popcorn and kitsch tchotchkes for corn lovers.
National parks and monuments in South Dakota
- Fossil Butte - Kemmerer, WY. Some of the world's best preserved fossils are found in the flat-topped ridges of southwestern Wyoming's cold sagebrush desert. Fossilized fishes, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals are exceptional for their abundance, variety, and detail of preservation. Most remarkable is the story they tell of ancient life in a subtropical landscape.
- Mormon Pioneer Trail - Covers several States IL,IA,NE,UT,WY. The 1,300-mile route was traveled by Mormons who fled Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1846-1847.
- Pony Express Trail - Various States CA,CO,KS,MO,NE,NV,UT,WY. It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph.
South Dakota State parks and historic sites
- Bear River State Park
- Boysen State Park
- Buffalo Bill State Park
- Curt Gowdy State Park
- Edness K. Wilkins State Park
- Glendo State Park
- Guernsey State Park
- Hawk Springs State Recreation Area
- Hot Springs State Park
- Keyhole State Park
- Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site
- Seminoe State Park
- Sinks Canyon State Park
- Ames Monument State Historic Site
- Camp Douglas Officers' Club State Historic Site
- Connor Battlefield State Historic Site
- Fort Bridger State Historic Site
- Fort Fetterman State Historic Site
- Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site
- Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site
- Granger Stage Station State Historic Site
- Historic Governors' Mansion State Historic Site
- Independence Rock State Historic Site
- Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site
- Names Hill State Historic Site
- Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site
- Piedmont Charcoal Kilns State Historic Site
- Point of Rocks Stage Station State Historic Site
- Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility
- Register Cliff State Historic Site
- South Pass City State Historic Site
- Trail End State Historic Site
- Wyoming Pioneer Memorial Museum
- Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historical Site
- Fort Bonneville State Historic Site
- Fort Supply State Historic Site
- Fort Reno State Historic Site
- LX Bar Ranch State Historic Site (No public access)
- Platte River Crossing State Historic Site (No public access)
- Wyoming Trails Program
South Dakota Seasons, bugs, topography and climate
Located in the the plains, South Dakota has flat plains rolling hills and some mountains. In the summer, it tends to be semi-arid, hot during day and cool at night. Winters can be brutally cold. Many roads are closed or impassible in the winter. Bugs are thankfully few!
If you're not from the plains, you may not realize that even in the middle of July, the air gets cool at night. It will dip to the 60's most summer nights. Summers tend to be dry with occasional popup evening thunderstorms.