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Top Ten Destination Spots in South Dakota

Updated on August 15, 2015

Did you watch the popular television series, Little House on the Prairie?

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10. Ingalls Homestead

Located in De Smet, South Dakota; near Silver Lake lays land that once belonged to Charles Ingalls. Charles Ingalls was an actual person as well as the rest of the Ingalls family.

The Ingalls Homestead is based in the Little House on the Prairie series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These books are based on her childhood.

The family moved to Ingalls Homestead in 1879 and Charles, Caroline and Mary stayed until death. Today this site open to the public and offers many different events and activities.

You will have the opportunity to ride in a covered wagon just like the wagons used by the Ingalls for transportation. There is also an 1880’s school session where you will dress in clothes from the era and spend some time in the one room classroom.

These are just some of the activities offered here. When you visit this beautiful prairie you will be brought back in time.

The Surveyor House and former home of Laura Ingalls

The Surveyors House in which the Ingalls lived in.
The Surveyors House in which the Ingalls lived in. | Source

9. Wall Drug

Close to the badlands, Wall Drug is a drug store best known for serving free ice water. Wall Drug labels itself as, “Americas First Roadside Attraction” and offers more than just ice water.

While visiting Wall Drug you will find books, candy, souvenirs, and a rock hound shop and of course, admission is free.

There are signs all over the world promoting Wall Drug.

If you are on your way to visit the badlands, why not stop in and visit this world famous drug store, leave with a souvenir to remember your trip by, or just stop in to look around.

Wall Drug

Wall Drug
Wall Drug | Source

8. The Corn Palace

Located in Mitchell, South Dakota, The Corn Palace is a multipurpose building used for various events such as; concerts, entertainment and more.

Established in 1892, this colorful building is decorated with the local harvest products and is themed based.

The Corn Palace is redecorated every year based on the theme chosen for that year. Ever year the Corn Palace hosts, The Corn Palace Festival.

The Corn palace is always decorated and you can see it any time of the year while visiting or driving through Mitchell South Dakota.

The design on the building is always detailed and unique architecture of the Corn Palace makes it stand out from the other buildings around it.

The Corn Palace

The Corn Palace
The Corn Palace | Source

7. Badlands

Housed in South West South Dakota, The badlands is a national park filled with beautiful red rock formations. These eroded formations are in the form of buttes, spires and pinnacles. To this day there is still deposition and erosion which will cause the badlands formations to eventually erode away. Located in the Great Plains, these formations started being evident about a half a million years ago. Because the whole area was under water 75-67 years ago, the Badlands are home to the largest assemblage of Eocene and Oligocene of mammal fossils. There are trails in the area and great places to climb around and explore the flora and fauna in the area. Don't forget to bring your camera to this breathtaking national park, the formations are unique and picturesque.

The Badlands

The Badlands
The Badlands | Source

6. Custer State Park

Custer State Park is a beautiful piece of land best known for the 1300 bison that roam the area. Other wild life there include; wild turkeys, antelope, mountain goats, mountain lions and big horn sheep. The best time to see these animals is in the early morning or the late afternoon. Custer State Park houses several gorgeous lakes, the unique Sylvan Lake being one of them. There are campground along a stream and lodging. Custer State Park also has some history; the Custer expedition discovered gold in Custer State Park in 1874. There are also recreational opportunities. Trails, and fishing are available in the area and trout is the most popular fish to catch.

Drop in and feed the fish

5. DC Booth Fish Hatchery

Located in Spearfish, South Dakota, DC Booth Fish Hatchery is a unique hatchery. Established in 1896, this hatchery is one of the oldest hatcheries in the country still operating. DC Booth Fish Hatchery houses rainbow trout and the hatchery has a park feel to it. Located to the hatchery is a park and they blending in well together. Not only is this a hatchery, but it is a museum too. Located on the hatchery grounds is a museum with different exhibits of history about the hatchery. There is also a train cart that is available to take a short tour on. The Yellowstone fishing boat is there as well. DC Booth Fish Hatchery also offers two trails and a gift shop. This hatchery is on the national register of historic places and admission is free. Update: Unfortunately; there have been debates on whether to close this wonderful hatchery and its looking like they might have to.

Fish Car at DC Booth Fish Hatchery

DC Booth Fish Hatchery; Fish Car
DC Booth Fish Hatchery; Fish Car | Source

4. Sturgis

Sturgis is a small town in South Dakota and is famous for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that runs for a full week in the first week of August every year. The rally is full of all kinds of entertainment. The Buffalo Chip is a campground set up specifically for the rally and many bands play there during this time. Along the streets there are vendors and events as well. Poker Alice is known to have lived there later in life. Fort Meade is a neat spot to visit and has some history as well. In 1878, after The Battle of Little Bighorn, the 7th Calvary was stationed at Fort Meade.This hatchery is also on the national register of historic places and admission is free.

Sturgis Bike Rally

Sturgis Bike Rally
Sturgis Bike Rally | Source

Visit Jewel Cave

3. Jewel Cave

Discovered in the Black Hills in 1900, Jewel Cave is the third longest cave in the world. There are 166 miles of cave and more is being discovered every year. Jewel Cave is located west of Custer, making it close to Custer State Park and Mt Rushmore as well. The inside of the cave is decorated with calcite crystals which is where it got its name. Jewel Cave also houses; hydromagnesite balloons and aragonite frost work.

Jewel Cave

Jewel Cave
Jewel Cave | Source

2. Deadwood

In 1876 miners found a beautiful gulch and a creek full of gold in Deadwood, South Dakota. Deadwood attracted gunslingers and outlaws. Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, Seth Bullock and AL Swearengen are well known names in Deadwood. Mount Mariah Cemetery is the resting spot of all of them besides All Swearengen and Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried next to each other. Gambling in Deadwood was legalized in 1989 and is full of all kinds of events and casinos. One of the events includes a reenactment of the Trail of John McCall who shot and killed Wild Bill in Deadwood August 2, 1876.


The Grave of Wild Bill Hickok and the Historic Deadwood

Wild Bill Hickoks Grave
Wild Bill Hickoks Grave | Source
Main street in Deadwood, South Dakota
Main street in Deadwood, South Dakota | Source

1. Mount Rushmore

Located in Keystone, South Dakota is the National Monument, Mt Rushmore featuring the faces of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt carved into a granite mountain. This monument also houses trails that give you the option to see the Mt Rushmore at different angles. Iron Mountain Road is close to Custer State Park and Mt Rushmore. This road is full of wild life and has several tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore as you approach them and pass through. Some of the wild life on this road includes; Bison and wild donkeys. The donkeys there are so use to people stopping and feeding them that they will walk right up to you. If you ever visit Mount Rushmore, Iron Mountain Road is a must see!

Mt Rushmore

Mount Rushmore framed in a tunnel
Mount Rushmore framed in a tunnel | Source
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore | Source

Here is a map to help you get around South Dakota

show route and directions
A markerIngalls Homestead -
Ingalls Homestead, 20812 Homestead Road, De Smet, SD 57231, USA
get directions

B markerWall Drug -
Wall Drug Store, 510 Main Street, Wall, SD 57790, USA
get directions

C markerThe Corn Palace -
Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD 57301, USA
get directions

D markerBadlands -
Badlands, Badlands National Park, Interior, SD 81503, USA
get directions

E markerCuster State Park -
Custer State Park, 13329 US Highway 16A, East Custer, SD 57730, USA
get directions

F markerDC Booth Fish Hatchery -
D.C. BOOTH HISTORIC NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY & ARCHIVES, 423 Hatchery Circle, Spearfish, South Dak
get directions

G markerSturgis -
Sturgis, SD, USA
get directions

H markerJewel Cave -
Jewel Cave National Monument, Black Hills National Forest, Jewel Cave National Monument, 11149 US Hi
get directions

I markerDeadwood -
Deadwood, SD, USA
get directions

J markerMount Rushmore -
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, 13000 S Dakota 244, Keystone, SD 57751, USA
get directions

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    • April Dawn Meyer profile image
      Author

      April Dawn Meyer 4 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

      Thank you!!!! I obviously goofed :) thanks for letting me know

    • jericho911 profile image

      Kenneth Claude 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Nice hub. One question...why does the map say "to help you get around West Virginia " ?