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Follow Me to South Dakota
You know.........South Dakota. That state sitting between North Dakota and Nebraska. The one with all the beautiful historical sites and fun attractions. To be more specific, I want you to follow me to the Black Hills area of western South Dakota. That's where all the fun is happening. Keep reading and I'll show you how to have a vacation filled with fun from start to finish.
Nobody knows if South Dakota was the 39th state or the 40th state. The rivalry between North Dakota and South Dakota presented a dilemma. So Harrison directed Secretary of State James G. Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first. The actual order went unrecorded.
Storybook Island is the land of fairy tales. This free park is full of story book characters from Cinderella to Jack and Jill and everything in between. You can climb Jacks giant beanstalk, explore Winnie the Poo's clubhouse, and even stick your head in a lions mouth to get a drink of water. From the fantastic castle at the entrance, to Snow White's house (surrounded by her seven dwarfs), the Dalmatians, a train to ride, swings, the Crooked Man's house, a Dragon, a maze, and a petting zoo - your child will be lost within a fantastic world of storybook creatures and play sets.
Some famous movies filmed in South Dakota are: 'Dances with Wolves', 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets', 'North By Northwest', 'Armageddon', 'Wyatt Earp', and 'Head Of State'. For a complete list visit the South Dakota Film
Mount Rushmore features the faces of four great presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. This amazing monument was started in 1927 and took 14 years to complete. With recent construction, the memorial now includes many fun activities. You can start by walking through the Avenue of Flags. That leads straight to the Grandview Terrace where you can view those famous faces from afar. For an even better view, you can walk the half-mile Presidential Trail. After that, head over to the Lincoln Borglum Museum to take part in their interpretive programs, exhibits and films. And don't forget to watch the lighting ceremony at the amphitheater at 9pm. And if you have some extra time before the lighting ceremony, take a look around the 5,300 square foot gift shop and make sure to try the delicious food at the Carvers Cafe.
If you'd like to learn more about the amazing history of Mount Rushmore, please visit Follow Me to Mount Rushmore.
Pictures of Mount Rushmore
Click on any picture to see a larger version
South Dakota is home to eight federally recognized native american reservations.
For one week every year, the tiny town of Sturgis, SD -population 6,442- is host to one of the largest motorcycle events in the world, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. It's held during the first full week of August and attended by over 500,000 people from many different countries. The weeks many events include nightly concerts, bike races, motorcycle stunt shows, organized bike rides and much, much more.
Quick Tip: If you're planning to visit during the Sturgis Rally, you'll need to book your hotel room 6 months to 1 year in advance.
Warning: The Sturgis rally is not an appropriate setting for children.
Pictures of the Sturgis Rally
Click on any picture to see a larger version
The estimated population of South Dakota is 800,000 people. That number almost doubles during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Other fun things to do in South Dakota
- Visit the Crazy Horse Memorial.
- Drive through the beautiful Badlands National Park for scenery you'll never forget.
- Take a tour of the Cosmos Mystery Area, where you'll stand sideways and watch balls roll uphill!
- Visit the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- Visit the petting zoo at Old McDonald's Farm.
- Take the 3 mile drive through Bear Country to view bears, buffalo, wolves, elk, and more from the comfort of your car.
- Tour Reptile Gardens for a look at the worlds largest reptile collection.
- Spend the day with the Flinstones at Bedrock City.
- Race go-carts, play mini golf and ride the bumper boats at The Ranch Amusement Park.
- Play some fun mini golf at Pirate's Cove.
- Take a swim at Evans Plunge, the world's largest natural warm water indoor swimming pool.
- Visit the Rushmore Waterslides for 17 acres of the funnest slides.
- For a quiet retreat, visit Chapel in the Hills.
- Take a 2 hour train ride through the Black Hills on the 1880 Train.
- Visit historic Deadwood and walk in the footsteps of legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock. Also try your luck in any of the 80 gambling halls.
Keystone and Surrounding Areas
You could spend your whole vacation in and around Keystone and never get bored. Take a look at this video to see just what Keystone has to offer.
If your idea of a great vacation is finding beautiful scenery, South Dakota is definitely where you want to go. To the east you'll find the Great Plains Region, full of prairies and grasslands. Towards the south is the Badlands, and to the west is the Black Hills. So no matter what your favorite scenic view is, you'll probably find it in South Dakota.
Here's are 5 great scenic drives for you to explore.
- The Badlands Loop Scenic Byway
- Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
- Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway
- Wildlife Loop Road Scenic Byway
- Native American Scenic Byway
- Save big with a coupon book from Black Hills Discounts. The book is just $14.95 and includes a bunch of BOGO coupons for most of the attractions mentioned here. There's also coupons for lodging, dining, and shopping. I bought one for my vacation and ended up saving over $200. If you plan ahead, you can look at the coupons and see if the book is worth buying.
- Print this page and present it along with your out-of-town driver's license to the Security & Guest Services kiosk near Cafe Court to receive a complimentary Shopping & Dining Visitor Rewards coupon book featuring 57 Rushmore Mall stores and restaurants with over $250 in money saving coupons! This is a great deal, especially if you plan to shop the Rushmore Mall in Rapid City.
- Take a moment to browse the coupons at blackhillsbadlands.com. You might see something you'll like!
- Here's a whole list of coupons from Black Hills Visitor Magazine. Just browse through and print what you want.
- This won't save you money, but it will save you time! Visit travelsd.com and take advantage of their easy to use trip planner. It lists everything from hotels to attractions to local stores. It also lists prices and how much time to allow for each activity, so you can make the most of your vacation.
Don't forget your South Dakota Trave Guide!
This lens won a purple star award!
Thanks to VickiSims
Photos and text; Â© 2010-2013 Catherine Taylor. All Rights Reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.