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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

  1. Mt. Rushmore -
  2. 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.
  3. Crazy Horse -
  4. 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

State Parks

Historic sites

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!

Camping tips

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.

There are both state parks and private campgrounds.