"Many people come to South Dakota for the icons like Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, but they stay for the soul-stirring moments, like the magical mesas of the Badlands and the traditional Native American culture."
Admire the Mount Rushmore National Memorial
You’ve seen it in the movies, but there’s nothing like seeing Mount Rushmore up close. The most iconic of all South Dakota attractions, you can’t miss seeing the faces of four of the country’s most admired presidents, carved 18 metres high into the cliffside. You’ll even have the chance to see this famous landmark in a new light with the moving lighting ceremony.
See the Crazy Horse Memorial
Journey through the stunning landscapes of the Black Hills to the Crazy Horse Memorial, where you’ll gaze up at the enormous face of the legendary Lakota war chief, carved into the granite rock. Your South Dakota travel guide will share the incredible history of Crazy Horse and you’ll learn how your visit helps preserve the Native American culture of the region.
Discover the Rapid City
Famed as the ‘City of Presidents’, Rapid City is one of the best places in South Dakota to soak up the state’s rich history. You can head downtown to find a life-sized bronze statue of every president in US history, admire the well-preserved buildings like Hotel Alex Johnson and the historic Firehouse Brewery, or wander through the amazing murals of Art Alley.
Our top 3 things to do in South Dakota
As your personal South Dakota trip planner, we’ll show you all the very best things to do in South Dakota, from the faces of Mount Rushmore to the beauty of the Badlands.
South Dakota Air and Space Museum
You’ll dive into the incredible story of aviation and aerospace in America at this South Dakota museum, with all kinds of fascinating exhibits and artefacts, housed in the former aircraft alert hangars used during the Cold War. See missiles, aircraft, historic bombers and even take a tour of the historic underground launch facility.
The Journey Museum and Learning Center
This amazing museum takes you on a complete journey through the Western Great Plains, from the billion-year-old formation of the Black Hills, to the history of the Western Frontier and the Lakota people. Don’t miss the Wells Fargo Theatre, the Lakota Star Knowledge exhibit, and the Paleontology Tent where you can dig for dinosaur bones.
Museum of Geology
You’ll travel back over 500 million years in time at this museum in Rapid City, with fascinating paleontology exhibits featuring complete skeletal fossils of the dinosaurs, mammals, reptiles and fish that once roamed the lands of South Dakota. You can even check out the beautiful collection of minerals discovered all over the world.
Best museums in South Dakota
Many of the top places to visit in South Dakota are the museums, with amazing displays on everything from Native American culture to dinosaurs and space.
This classic South Dakotan dish is deeply loved by locals and found on almost every menu in restaurants, bars and grills across the state. It’s made with chunks of meat (usually beef, lamb or venison) that are seasoned with garlic salt and deep-fried, then served up on a skewer or with toothpicks. You can’t visit South Dakota without trying it.
This traditional skillet bread is another specialty that can only be found in South Dakota. Originating with the Lakota people, it’s made with flour, baking powder, milk, salt and bacon fat, similar to Native American fry bread, but made in a skillet with less oil. You can eat gabubu bread with stews, soups or as a tasty snack with jam, and it’s delicious in every way.
Chili and Cinnamon/Caramel Rolls
A bowl of chilli served with a cinnamon roll may seem like an odd food pairing… but it’s a state treasure in South Dakota. The salty, sweet and spicy flavours are irresistible to the locals, and you can eat them separately, dip the sweet roll in the chilli, or even pour the chilli over the roll and eat them together… Just be sure to give it a try!
Best food in South Dakota
Our South Dakota tours will take you on a mouthwatering journey through all the state’s foodie delights, from grilled meats to sweet cinnamon rolls.
What to pack for South Dakota
Whether you’re roaming the Badlands National Park or wandering through the Black Hills, you’ll need a reliable pair of walking shoes for your South Dakota trip.
Camera & extra SD card
South Dakota serves up the most extraordinary sights, from the magical spires of the Badlands to iconic Mount Rushmore, so be sure to bring backup memory cards.
The weather can change quickly in South Dakota, even in summer, so bring some warm layers and to stay cosy and comfortable throughout your trip.
You can’t miss stopping at the famous Wall Drug in the Badlands, famed for offering free ice water to travellers since the 1930s. Bring your bottle and fill up at this iconic roadside stop!
From sunscreen and snacks to water bottles and jackets, a day bag is perfect for carrying all the essentials while keeping your hands free on your South Dakota adventures.