Likely considered to be “flyover country” by some people, they just couldn’t be more wrong about South Dakota. This state is, rather, God’s Country, with more parkland, outdoor activities and historic sites than you can imagine. The two largest cities lie at opposite ends of I-90, with Sioux Falls to the east and Rapid City to the west; this major interstate offers travelers opportunities for South Dakota hotel accommodations.
The state is also divided east and west by the Missouri National Recreational River. The east region is more populous, with Sioux Falls besting 225,000 residents; the area is one of the fastest growing in the country – you may end up wanting to move here, too! Falls Park, on the Sioux River, sports a beautiful waterfall, 5-story viewing tower and café and is site of many annual festivals. The largely rural west region is greatly dependent upon tourism, with hunting and fishing contributing major dollars to the economy.
Rapid City, with a population near 70,000, offers the shopping, dining and services you would expect, but it is her surroundings which really shine. A must-see attraction just 30 minutes southwest of Rapid City, the patriotic granite carvings of Mt. Rushmore are witnessed by millions each year. This National Memorial is found within the Black Hills National Forest, where you will also find the following: Wind Cave National Park, featuring an amazing complex of caves featuring the unusual “boxwork” formations; Custer State Park’s 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road where you will see a huge herd of bison and its four crystal blue lakes for trout fishing; Historic National Landmark mining town, Deadwood (casinos are located here!; and Crazy Horse Memorial, an in-progress memorial to the Dakota warrior who defeated Custer. For winter action in this area, check out the Black Hills Snowmobile Trails, 350 miles of groomed trails through deep canyons, pine forests and to pinnacles with outstanding views.
Badlands National Park is located about an hour and a half to the east of Rapid City; it offers over a quarter million acres where you can explore rich fossil beds, camp and hike in relative peace and quiet, with only the wind in your ears. The capital city of Pierre lies between the two major cities, chosen for its geographical location, is the second smallest of the state capitals. Visit South Dakota to see for yourself that this is no flyover country!