The Ultimate South Dakota Travel Guide

The Ultimate South Dakota Travel Guide

The Ultimate South Dakota Travel Guide

South Dakota: Home to two human-made marvels Mount Rushmore & Crazy Horse Memorial, and the beautiful Custer State Park, South Dakota is a must-visit in the US. Here is my South Dakota travel guide outlining the major attractions in South Dakota! 

To make it easy for you to navigate the content, I have organized my South Dakota travel guide in two sections. (1) A brief introduction to South Dakota, a little history, some geography, commute, and weather. (2) Major South Dakota attractions, if you wish, you can skip the introduction and move on to the next section, South Dakota Attractions

History: The territory, today called South Dakota, was added to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. North and South Dakota were one territory until 1889 when it came to statehood, there was an intense rivalry between North & South Dakota over which state would be admitted to the union first. President Benjamin Harrison selected the admittance of the states in the union at random, though South Dakota is traditionally listed second, incorporated to the union on November 2, 1889.

South and North Dakota were named after the Dakota tribe, Sioux tribe, who lived in the region; Dakota is a Sioux word for “friends” or “allies.” The state got its nickname, The Mount Rushmore State, from the iconic landmark – Mount Rushmore, a mountain sculpture and a major attraction of South Dakota.

Geography: South Dakota is bordered by North Dakota on the north and by Nebraska on the south. On the east, South Dakota is bordered by Minnesota and Iowa, and on the west, it’s bordered by Montana and Wyoming. South Dakota is part of the Great Plains region, and the topography can be characterized as low hills, canyons, and rolling plains.

Getting There

Flight: Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP) and the Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) are the two major airports in South Dakota.

Drive: If you live in any of the neighboring states, you could drive to South Dakota.

Train: Currently, there are no train services offered by Amtrak in South Dakota. The closest stations are in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota.


Climate: South Dakota summers range from warm to hot, with average temperatures ranging between 80°F – 90°F. Winters are very cold with average high temperatures often below freezing with a lot of snowfall in the mountain ranges. The best time to visit South Dakota is from May through October. Check current weather conditions in South Dakota.

Time zone: Mountain Daylight Time UTC-6 and Central Daylight Time UTC-5

Getting around: There is really no other means of transportation in the area besides renting and driving a car. There are services offered by RTS and Greyhound, but they won’t take you to the main attractions in the state.

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Best Places To Visit in South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

National Memorial is an iconic landmark of South Dakota, a sculpture carved into the mountains in the Black Hills in Keystone. The sculpture features the 60-foot heads of four US Presidents.

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Custer State Park

Is a State Park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills, South Dakota. The park is South Dakota’s largest and first state park, covers an area of over 71,000 acres and is home to many wild animals.

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Crazy Horse

Even though it’s not complete, the Crazy Horse Memorial is shaping up to be the largest mountain carving in the world. Currently, only the face is complete but it’s already begun drawing a lot of visitors.

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