A trip to the Midwest to soak in the heart and soul of America is a must for every Proud American Traveler.
In South Dakota you get it all – up close views of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes that will make you proud to be an American.
From open grassy fields to the roaring black hills, South Dakota is said to be one of the most photographed areas in the nation.
And depending on your vacation style, you can experience it all.
Downtown Rapid City has no shortage of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and shops, and just 30 miles south are some of the most breathtaking views in all of America.
So check out our top “must see” attractions in South Dakota.
Buffalos And Black Hills
This rolling mountain range may look black from a distance – but up close and personal, you’ll see the hills are really lined with deep green forest trees.
Here in the Black Hills the buffalos roam free, and you can even snap photos of them as they graze and wander about.
But please don’t be “’that guy” who feeds the buffalo or tries to get a selfie….
… after all they ARE wild animals.
While exploring the Black Hills, be sure to stop at Custer State Park – one of the largest parks in all of America! Here you’ll see everything from roaming bison to prairie dogs, even mountain goats and white-tailed deer!
Badlands National Park
The beauty of the badlands draws in visitors from all over the world, eager to view firsthand the multi-colored rock formations.
You can view them from a distance as you drive, then stop at an overlook and snap some great photos – or actually drive in them and explore!
If you take the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway, you can make the loop through the badlands, and get out of your car and climb up the dirt and rocks for some incredible photos.
Of course, do this at your own risk as some of the areas are slippery – and the tall grass hides the rattlesnakes!
For serious outdoor enthusiasts, you can hike off the beaten path and even camp outside!
This iconic sculpture pays tribute to some of the greatest presidential heroes in American history and is a must-see when in Rapid City!
One simple look at this magnificent sculpture is sure to reinforce American pride.
It’s estimated nearly three million people a year visit Mount Rushmore to catch a glimpse of the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
*Protip – if you just want “see” the presidential sculpture to snap a photo and check it off your bucket list, you can view it from the road and avoid paying the $10 parking fee to enter the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
*Bonus – Crazy Horse Memorial
Located in the Black Hills, the Crazy Horse Memorial pays tribute to Native American Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, who was a fierce advocate for his people.
The memorial is not yet finished, but once complete it will be the largest mountain sculpture in the world standing at 534 feet high and 641 feet long!
After checking out the memorial, visitors can explore the Native American Educational and Cultural Center which provides the incredible story of how the Crazy Horse Memorial came to be, while offering other hands-on activities with local artists and history buffs!
You can purchase Native American art and jewelry and explore the rich history of the Native people.
There are often live musical shows and performances – and even a restaurant called the “Laughing Water Restaurant” where you can try their Tatanka stew made from the local Black Hills buffalo!
Consider booking a visit to Rapid City and revel in some of the most gorgeous landscapes in America. You’ll experience a rich history that highlights both the greatness of America and the culture of the Native American people.
You’re bound to leave forever changed… and you’ll score some incredible photos!
Have you ever been to South Dakota? If so, what was your favorite attraction?
Tell us in the comments below and be sure to share this article with all your friends!