If you’ve happened upon this article, you’re likely looking for things to do in South Dakota.
One of the most beautiful midwestern states, South Dakota is home to some of the most incredible natural wonders.
With magnificent parks by the hundred, there are endless opportunities for travelers to encounter some of the country’s most gorgeous sights.
National monuments, landmarks, historical encounters, caves, waterfalls, parks, gardens, and so much more are some of the natural wonders you’ll encounter while visiting South Dakota.
Beyond all of the natural beauty in South Dakota, there is tons of culture, excitement, and entertainment.
If you’re looking for a break from all of the outdoor recreation there are theatres, museums, aquariums, amusement parks, waterparks, and more to keep the excitement going.
Essentially, whether you’re passing through the state or making a vacation of your visit to South Dakota, you can be sure that you’ll have plenty of amazing attractions to visit in South Dakota.
Things To Do In South Dakota
1. Mount Rushmore National Monument
You’ve likely seen pictures of these majestic stone sculptures, but pictures pale in comparison to the real thing.
As you’ll likely recall from your history lessons, Mount Rushmore consists of four stone carvings made in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The monument depicts the images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
Notably, each image represents the history of our country from its birth, growth, development, and preservation.
One of the most famous places in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Monument brings visitors face to face with our rich history.
Weather permitting, the monument is open every day of the year.
In addition to your visit to Mount Rushmore National Monument, the grounds house an information center, visitor center, cafe, and souvenir shop.
This American landmark is one of South Dakota’s top tourist attractions.
It’s no wonder the state’s official nickname is “The Mount Rushmore State.”
Be sure to include it on your itinerary to South Dakota.
Address: 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, United States
2. Mammoth Site
Once the grounds for projected housing development, Mammoth Site is now home to a museum where bones of prehistoric mammoths were uncovered.
Upon the discovery of mammoth bones, the owner of the property (slated to become a housing development) believed that the property was better suited to scientific study and so he abandoned his development plans.
Now visitors to Mammoth Site can view the real-life prehistoric bones, teeth, and tusks of mammoths that roamed SD millions of years ago.
During your visit to Mammoth Site you’ll have the opportunity to explore the edges of a sinkhole, now a treasure trove of prehistoric fossils, that claimed wooly mammoths, ancient camels, wolves, and bears.
Additionally, there are other interesting exhibits like full-sized mammoth replicas, a mammoth bone hut, baby mammoth mummies, and much more.
If you’re looking for unique places of interest in South Dakota, be sure to check out this educational and immersive experience.
Address: 1800 US-18 BYP, Hot Springs, SD 57747, United States
3. Reptile Gardens
Reptile Gardens opened in 1935 as a collection of reptiles belonging to reptile enthusiast Earl Brockelsby.
Through the years, the reptile collection has grown and resultantly was moved to its bigger, current location in 1965.
The current park is home to a skydome with a safari room, the first of its kind in the country.
Reptile Gardens houses a wide array of reptiles including snakes (both venomous and nonvenomous) from all over the world, crocodiles, tortoises, lizards, frogs, salamanders, and bugs.
This wide array of reptiles can be observed and interacted with during your visit.
In addition to the many wonderful reptiles you’ll encounter, Reptile Gardens is home to botanical gardens too.
There’s a walking garden, a living wall, Tortuga Falls, and more.
A visit to Reptile Gardens is an all-encompassing reptilian experience.
If you’re wondering what to do in South Dakota, be sure to add Reptile Gardens to your list of must see tourist attractions.
It won’t disappoint.
Address: 8955 US-16, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States
4. Terry Peak Ski Area
If visiting South Dakota in the winter months, you might consider checking out Terry Peak Ski Area, the state’s premier ski destination.
Terry Peak Ski Area is a family-friendly destination where you can ski or snowboard.
If you’ve never done either before, not to worry, the resort offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for all ages.
Once you’re ready to hit the slopes, you’ll encounter a variety of terrain suitable for novices to professionals, including a terrain park.
Located near the famed Deadwood region of the Black Hills, Terry Peak Ski Area is one of many top vacation spots for visitors to The Mount Rushmore State.
Terry Peak Ski Area is a wonderful destination for travelers as it’s home to many convenient amenities.
The Steward Lodge, the area’s main lodge, is where you’ll begin ski lessons, procure rentals, shop retail goods, and enjoy a meal at the cafeteria and lounge.
Moreover, the Nevada Gulch Lounge is home to the famous Dark Horse Saloon.
So whether you plan to ski/snowboard or just hang back and watch, Terry Peak Ski Area makes it possible to do so comfortably.
One of many cool places in one of the most beautiful states, you’ll want to be sure to check out this top destination.
Address: 21120 Stewart Slope Rd, Lead, SD 57754, United States
5. Dinosaur Park
If you’re interested in free things to do while visiting SD, be sure to check out Dinosaur Park.
Situated on a ridge encircling the Black Hills, Dinosaur Park pays homage to the dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous eras.
In the very location where the park now sits, dinosaur remains and footprints were once found.
Now the park is home to 7 true-to-size replicas of dinosaur reproductions.
The concrete replicas include a Stegosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and an Apatosaurus to name a few.
As you meander about the dinosaurs atop the Black Hills, you’ll also enjoy picturesque views of the South Dakota Badlands.
Following your tour of Dinosaur Park, be sure to check out the park’s gift shop where you’ll find unique dino-merchandise.
Dinosaur Park is a wonderful pit stop to make when visiting South Dakota; it is one of many notable tourist sites in The Mount Rushmore State.
Address: 940 Skyline Dr, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States
6. The Adams Museum
The Adams Museum was established to preserve and share the unique history of Deadwood, South Dakota.
Established in 1930 by William Emery Adams, a loyal South Dakotan, the museum was eventually donated to the city of Deadwood under whose proprietorship it remains today.
Today, the museum comprises five individual properties that bring the history and spirit of Deadwood to life.
Some of the unique exhibits you can plan to see during your visit to the museum include a legends gallery, a historic transportation display, a tour of the Historic Adams House, and so much more.
Named a National Historic Landmark in 1960, The Adams Museum is the site of the last major gold rush which is evidenced in each of the exhibits on display.
South Dakota is one of many underrated places to go on vacation, but with unique attractions like The Adams Museum, you’ll surely have the best time during your visit.
Address: 54 Sherman St, Deadwood, SD 57732, United States
7. National Music Museum
Established in 1973 on the campus of The University of South Dakota, National Music Museum is lauded as a “musical Smithsonian.”
The museum is home to musical instruments of all kinds from all over the place.
The instruments on display are representative of many cultures and historical periods.
If you’re traveling with music lovers or history enthusiasts, be sure to check out the National Music Museum.
With over 15,000 instruments running the gamut from priceless Italian violins to celebrity guitars, your visit to the museum will certainly wow you.
The vast collection of instruments include percussion, toy, electric, brass, woodwinds, and much more.
Music lovers alike are astonished by instruments used by the one and only Elvis Presley, instruments used to compose Sgt. Pepper, and other significant and historical instruments.
The National Music Museum is the epicenter for musical instruments which is why it’s no surprise that visitors come from far and wide to basque in the museum’s glory.
One of many significant points of interest in South Dakota, be sure to check out the National Music Museum during your stay.
Address: 414 E Clark St, Vermillion, SD 57069, United States
8. Petrified Wood Park & Museum
Filling an entire block in downtown Lemmon, South Dakota, Petrified Wood Park & Museum is one of many must see places to visit in South Dakota.
Notably, the entire block comprises art built completely of petrified wood, stones, and fossils.
Some of the many art exhibits include a wishing well, a waterfall, and even a castle.
Notably, there are more than 100 exhibits that reach heights of up to 20 feet.
Additionally, within the park are two museums built entirely of petrified wood.
Housed within the museums are artifacts and relics from the greater Lemmon vicinity.
The unique exhibits you’ll encounter during your visit will make for great photo ops and even better memories.
Petrified Wood Park & Museum will certainly be of interest to those fascinated by geology and architecture.
One of many South Dakota attractions, be sure to add this site to your itinerary.
Address: 500 Main Ave, Lemmon, SD 57638, United States
9. McCrory Gardens
The beautiful McCrory Gardens are located on the campus of South Dakota State University.
Open to the public for a nominal admissions fee, visitors can tour the nearly 50 acres of floral gardens and tree/shrub collections.
Of that, 25 acres of the property are formally developed into garden and arboretum spaces.
Additionally, there are over 1.5 miles of walking trails that are both pet-friendly and handicap-accessible.
Established in the early 1960s as a research garden, the property is now maintained by university students.
McCrory Gardens, named for the professor credited with its establishment, has many astounding exhibits like a mum garden, a shrub rose collection, a children’s maze, a butterfly garden, an herb garden, and dozens more.
With hundreds of different varieties, you’ll encounter something new and beautiful at every turn.
With so many things to see in one central location, inevitably you should plan a trip to McCrory Gardens when visiting South Dakota.
Address: 631 22nd Ave, Brookings, SD 57007, United States
10. South Dakota Air and Space Museum
If you’re interested in free things to do in South Dakota, be sure to check out South Dakota Air and Space Museum.
Located at Ellsworth Air Force Base, the museum offers a fully immersive experience to visitors.
With many indoor exhibits as well as an outdoor airpark, this is one of many top places to see in SD.
During your visit to the museum, you’ll walk the halls of aviation history which includes vintage military aircraft, military missiles, and aerospace exhibits that showcase different aspects of aviation.
Some of the unique aspects of aviation that you’ll encounter during your visit to the South Dakota Air and Space Museum deal with engineering, history, innovation, and science.
Moreover, many exhibits showcase aviary artifacts from historical events like the Cold War, pioneers in aviation, and the history of the Ellsworth Airforce Base itself.
One of the best points of interest in South Dakota, be sure to check out this history-rich attraction.
Address: 2890 Davis Dr, Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706, United States
11. Storybook Island
If you’re looking for free things to do or places to see in South Dakota, you’ll want to be sure to visit Storybook Island.
Essentially, Storybook Island is an amusement park that brings the pages of our favorite childhood stories to life.
Located in Rapid City and in operation for more than 60 years, the park allows visitors to become characters in their favorite stories.
Notably, fairytales like Humpty Dumpty and Dr. Seuss’s stories like “The Cat in the Hat” come to life at Storybook Island.
In addition to the life-like storybook attractions, the park also houses amusements like a carousel, a train ride through the park, and a bounce house.
For an added thrill, you can visit the park’s caricature artist for a souvenir.
Finally, the park also has live theatre performances, a snack stand, and a gift shop.
Storybook Island is an iconic South Dakota attraction with plenty to do.
Best of all, admission is free.
Address: 1301 Sheridan Lake Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States
12. Lewis & Clark Lake
If you’re looking for fun places to visit in South Dakota, look no further.
Lewis & Clark Lake is a recreation area with lots of free things to do in one central location.
If you’re interested in South Dakota vacation ideas, this location comprises three separate campgrounds with modern resort facilities.
Amenities at the campground include showers, bathrooms, a swimming pool, a marina, restaurants, and boat rentals.
Any South Dakota travel guide will tell you that this place is the cream of the crop for outdoorsy and camping vacations.
In addition to the campgrounds and amenities, Lewis and Clark Lake has a variety of things to do for visitors.
Some of those activities include archery, bike trails, hiking trails, fishing pier, horse trails, playgrounds, lakeside swimming beaches, and more.
With so much stuff to do in one central locale, you could make a weekend or more of your stay at Lewis and Clark Lake.
Address: 43349 SD-52, Yankton, SD 57078, United States
13. The Corn Palace
If you’re looking for interesting and unique places to visit in South Dakota, make sure to add The Corn Palace to your list.
One of South Dakota’s best tourist attractions, The Corn Palace is made of and decorated entirely with corn and other colorful grains.
Notably, it hosts harvest festivals, proms, expos, and all sorts of big events each year.
However, if you’re visiting The Mount Rushmore State, you can plan a tour of The Corn Palace too.
Another of many free things to do in South Dakota, tours of The Corn Palace run daily year-round.
Throughout the year the walls of the palace are redecorated with corn and grains to reflect new themes.
So even if you’re visiting during a time when there aren’t festivals running, you’ll still be treated to the unique art that is The Corn Palace.
During your tour, you might visit the snack bar where you’ll find a bevy of unique corn concessions for sale.
The Corn Palace is a truly iconic sightseeing treat that you should make room on your itinerary for.
Address: 604 N Main St, Mitchell, SD 57301, United States
14. Strawbale Winery
This environmentally conscious winery takes its name from the straw bales with which the buildings of the property are built.
That’s right, the winery is constructed entirely of straw bales!
Born of one couple’s pet project, the winery is now home to a farm setting that reminds visitors of a simpler time.
Notably, the winery uses the natural insulation of straw bales to reduce energy in harvesting and creating their wine varietals.
During your visit to Strawbale Winery, you’ll have the opportunity to tour the vineyards, cellars, and unique properties of the buildings’ construction.
Following your tour of the winery, you may sip and taste the more than 20 varieties of wines procured from grapes and other fruits grown on the property.
In addition to wine-tasting, the winery has weekly events to look forward to too.
Sangria Sunday and Summer Porch are weekly events that combine wine with the arts.
Food trucks, music, and artisans all come together to create a wonderful time at Strawbale Winery.
This immersive wine experience is the best attraction for wine-lovers visiting South Dakota.
Address: 47215 257th St, Renner, SD 57055, United States
15. Crazy Horse Memorial
One of the coolest sights to see in South Dakota is the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Similar to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial is an epic stone sculpture carved into the hillside of the picturesque Black Hills.
Conceived as an homage to North American Indians, this monstrous sculpture is the unfinished work of Polish sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski who died in the 1980s amid the project.
Albeit unfinished, the face of Crazy Horse is the hill’s prominent feature and nonetheless a marvelous sightseeing attraction.
Beyond the stunning hillside sculpture, the memorial is home to three museums.
While touring the museums, visitors are treated to an orientation film that recaps Native American history and culture.
Additionally, the memorial hosts interesting cultural programming and a nifty laser light show at nightfall.
One of the most unique sites to see in South Dakota, be sure to check out the awe-inspiring Crazy Horse Memorial.
Address: Crazy Horse, SD 57730, United States
16. Custer State Park
Taking up over 70,000 acres of natural wonder in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park is a must do attraction.
If you’re interested in a fun outdoor adventure during your visit to South Dakota, Custer State Park has it all.
Surrounded by the hill’s granite peaks and inviting clear mountain waters, the options for outdoor activities are endless.
Notably, visitors can use the park’s bike trails, birdwatch, fish, boat, hike, horseback ride, swim, and so much more.
The backdrop of all of these activities is majestic and picturesque.
If you’re looking for places to visit in South Dakota for an extended period, you may also book camping reservations at Custer State Park.
Camping amenities include showers, flushable toilets, drinking water, picnic pavilions, and wi-fi.
There are both cabins and tent sites available for rental.
Additionally, electrical campsites, a concession stand, swimmable beaches, and playgrounds all make for a comfortable camping setting.
Custer State Park is one of many gorgeous places to visit in South Dakota; be sure to add it to your itinerary.
Address: 13438 US Highway 16A, Custer, SD 57730, United States
17. Badlands National Park
South Dakota is full of natural wonders and outdoor attractions.
Badlands National Park is another of many beautiful and picturesque places to visit in South Dakota.
The rugged yet beautiful setting of this park is what draws locals and visitors alike.
With nearly 250,000 acres of prairie, rich fossil beds, and wildlife roaming the park, it’s no wonder the views never get old.
It’s not uncommon to run into wild bison, prairie dogs, and bighorn sheep while visiting the park.
Another of many free things to do in South Dakota, Badlands National Park is one of many scenic places to go in The Mount Rushmore State.
Notably, the park is opened to visitors year-round so you can visit no matter what time of year you come to South Dakota.
Best of all, whether visiting with family, friends or alone, there is something to do for everyone.
For instance, there is a Junior Ranch program for children, a unique Fossil Exhibit Trail, hiking trails for all experience levels, wildlife observation, drivable dirt roads, horseback riding, campgrounds, biking, and so much more.
One of many points of interest in South Dakota, Badlands National Park is definitely worth the visit.
Address: South Dakota, United States
18. Butterfly House & Aquarium
This unique South Dakota attraction is a wonderful place to visit.
The only saltwater aquarium in the whole state and one of few butterfly houses open year-round, Butterfly House & Aquarium is great to visit anytime.
Beginning as a butterfly house in 2002 and adding an aquarium in 2010, this unique coupling draws visitors from all over the country.
One of the big draws of the aquarium, in particular, is the ability to see glimmers of ocean life in the middle of the country.
While visiting this lovely South Dakota attraction, you can plan to encounter hundreds of species of marine life and coral, an interactive stingray habitat, a tide pool with slow-moving creatures, and so much more.
While in the butterfly house you’ll encounter colorful and tropical butterfly varieties from all over the world.
Additionally, Butterfly House & Aquarium hosts special programs and educational projects throughout the year.
With so many places to go to in SD, this attraction is one of the best!
Address: 4320 S Oxbow Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57106, United States
19. Historic Deadwood
Historic Deadwood is one of a few South Dakota attractions that will bring you back in time to the Old West.
You’ll have loads of fun exploring this gold rush town that is now a National Historic Landmark.
With museums, free reenactments, and entertainment by the mile, the fun you’ll have in Historic Deadwood is limitless.
With things to see like an 1880 train, an 1876 mystery dinner, a mining museum, a historic gold mine, and more, this SD town packs a punch.
Moreover, Historic Deadwood is home to shopping centers, casinos, experiential tours, spas, breweries/wineries, and fun citywide events.
This city’s history is rich and exciting, providing the backdrop for limitless visitor engagement.
Learn about Deadwood legends like Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, and Poker Alice Tubbs.
Immerse yourself in the history of prostitution, gold mining, and Cheyenne Crossing.
You’ll never wonder what to see or what to do when visiting Historic Deadwood.
Address: 480-484 Lower Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732, United States
20. Spearfish Falls
Outdoor South Dakota attractions are not hard to come by, providing free things to do by the hundreds.
Spearfish Falls provides a scenic backdrop for loads of outdoor fun.
A bit off the beaten path, the majesty of Spearfish Falls is accessible by way of a walking path.
The end of the trail brings you to the bottom of the canyon and face to face with the roaring waters of the waterfalls.
The hiking trail is suitable for all experience levels, although the mist of the falls renders it slippery so caution should be taken.
If you prefer to appreciate the beauty of Spearfish Falls without the hike, they can also be admired from a scenic overlook at Latchstring Inn, a local restaurant.
No matter the time of year, Spearfish Falls provides a sightseeing wonder beloved by locals and visitors alike.
A beautiful photo op, Spearfish Falls doesn’t disappoint.
If you’re wondering what to do in SD, this gorgeous natural attraction is the answer to your question.
Address: 14A in Savoy Behind Latchkey Restaurant, Savoy, SD 57754, United States
21. Good Earth State Park
You’ll never run out of things to do in South Dakota with tourist attractions like Good Earth State Park.
Both a cultural and historical site, the park is a popular gathering place for locals and visitors.
With the Big Sioux River passing through the park, watersports like fishing, swimming, and kayaking are all possible.
Furthermore, the park is home to abundant wildlife, flood plains, and plentiful catlinite (a sacred red clay).
Seasonal recreation such as snowshoeing, birdwatching, and hiking make Good Earth State Park a desirable travel destination.
Additionally, if you prefer to stay for a few days, campgrounds are available with amenities like showers, toilets, and drinking water.
Furthermore, the park hosts cultural events like outdoor concerts throughout the year.
With many things to see in one central location, it’s no wonder that travelers love visiting this super fun, SD park.
Address: 26924 480th Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57108, United States
22. Porter Sculpture Park
South Dakota has a lively art scene that sometimes goes unnoticed.
However, Porter Sculpture Park, which couples art with the outdoors, is one of the top things to do in SD.
Home to the work of sculptor Wayne Porter, the park is a colorful and eclectic collection of his renderings.
Admittedly, Porter is an untrained artist who remarkably relies on his instinct instead of math, sketching, and engineering skills.
Notably, except for some blacksmithing skills, learned from his father, Porter is entirely self-taught.
While visiting this South Dakota gem, visitors are treated to more than 50 larger-than-life sculptures.
Each is interactive in that visitors are welcome to interact with, touch, and freely photograph each piece.
Tours of the park are pet-friendly making this roadside attraction perfect for the whole family.
Golf carts are even available for those unable to walk the large property.
Of unique South Dakota attractions, Porter Sculpture Park is definitely worth a place on your itinerary.
Address: 45160 257th St, Montrose, SD 57048, United States
23. Termesphere Gallery
If you’re looking for fun things to see in South Dakota, look no further.
Termesphere Gallery is a unique attraction on the Black Hills of South Dakota.
This geodesic dome invites visitors to admire spheric art whose painted finished products create magical, optical illusions that leave visitors scratching their domes (pun intended).
Aptly named for artist Dick Termes, these trippy renderings are quite the sight to behold.
In addition to touring the property, Termesphere Gallery also hosts instructional programs and workshops which are said to be lots of fun.
Moreover, many of the spheres, in addition to other collectibles and souvenirs, can be purchased in the gallery’s gift shop.
Termesphere Gallery is a great attraction to visit in South Dakota.
Address: 1920 Christensen Dr, Spearfish, SD 57783, United States
24. Rushmore Tramway Adventures
If you’re wondering what to do with the thrill-seekers in your group, this South Dakota attraction is sure to please.
At Rushmore Tramway Adventures, visitors will soar high through the sky as they zipline through the Black Hills overlooking Mount Rushmore.
If ziplining isn’t your thing, you may wish to try the 2000 foot Alpine slide.
This attraction is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Essentially, riders descend tracks on wheeled sleds at top speeds with amazing views.
Rushmore Tramway Adventures is also home to an epic sky-high adventure park.
Visitors can ascend more than 100 treetop platforms and traverse different courses over the 2-acre park.
If all of this action-packed adventure isn’t enough, Rushmore Tramway Adventures is also home to tubing hill, scenic chairlift, and even a jump tower.
Top all of this off with lunch at the Mountaintop Grill, and you’re sure to have an awesome day.
South Dakota attractions like Rushmore Tramway Adventures provide adrenaline-pumping fun for the whole family!
Address: 203 Cemetery Rd, Keystone, SD 57751, United States
25. Bear Country USA
With so many cool things to do in South Dakota, narrowing down your game plan may seem daunting.
However, Bear Country USA is a unique drive-thru wildlife experience.
Located in the Black Hills of SD, visitors come face to face with full-grown and cub black bears through the thin barrier of their car window.
Nature at its finest, this unique black bear experience gives visitors a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
In addition to meeting the majestic bears, Bear Country USA is also home to more than 20 different species of mammals.
Arctic wolves, badgers, beavers, sheep, and more can all be observed during your tour of the park.
There’s also a unique Wildlife Walk experience during which visitors can interact with friendly wildlife.
Finally, be sure to check out the awesome gift shop where you can procure black bear novelties and souvenirs.
Address: 13820 US-16, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States
26. Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake is one of the most beautiful things to see in South Dakota.
Picturesque is an understatement.
A favorite destination for both locals and travelers, photographers and artists, Sylvan Lake is a must-see South Dakota destination.
With more activities and amenities than can be named, this sight is sure to please your travel party.
If you plan to visit for a few days, the lake has campsites, a general store, and other desirable amenities.
Whether you plan to camp or just make a day of your visit, Sylvan Lake has loads of exciting and/or relaxing activities.
Some of the more adventurous activities include paddle-boating, hiking trails, and watercraft rentals.
If you’d like to spend your stay a bit more leisurely, you can swim, picnic, birdwatch, and more.
No matter your preferences, the backdrop of gorgeous Sylvan Lake alone is worth the visit.
Address: SD, United States
27. Falls Park
Falls Park in Sioux Falls is one of many awesome things to do in South Dakota.
Composed of nearly 130 acres with nearly 8,000 gallons of water falling 100 feet each second to the Sioux River, the falls are simply magnificent.
Observable from viewing platforms and an observation tower, there’s no wrong way to see the waterfalls.
There are also tour groups and other cool ways to see the falls like “Phillips to the Falls,” which is a walking or driving tour of the falls.
Additionally, Sioux Falls is home to nearly 35 recreation trails that weave in and around the waterfalls.
Whether you enjoy walking, running, hiking, or biking, the beauty of the falls are the backdrop against which you’ll enjoy your activity.
There’s no doubt that if you’re in or around Sioux Falls, you’ve got to check out the waterfalls for which the city is named.
Address: 131 E Falls Park Dr, Sioux Falls, SD 57104, United States
28. Jewel Cave National Monument
Beneath the Black Hills of South Dakota is this magnificent cave system that brings you face to face with dazzling crystal formations.
Better suited for adults and older children, a tour of the caves is not for the faint of heart.
Cave tours are dark, cold, and composed of treacherous terrain but an awesome experience nonetheless.
Notably, Jewel Cave National Monument is the third-largest cave system in the world and has over 200 miles of mapped passageways.
During your visit to Jewel Cave National Monument, you’ll encounter fragile yet splendid crystal formations.
These formations are interesting, unique, and beautiful, giving visitors a glimpse of what exists in typically unseen parts of the earth.
As such, Jewel Cave National Monument, the gem of SD, is a must-see attraction.
Address: 11149 US-16 B-12, Custer, SD 57730, United States
29. Dakota Discovery Museum
Dakota Discovery Museum unites the arts and cultures of SD to preserve history and inform present times.
A unique museum great for both adults and children, the museum essentially tells the story of South Dakota and its people.
Of note, the museum has themed galleries like the “Dakota History Gallery,” multiple artist galleries, and the “Historic Village,” wherein visitors explore the work of local artists and preserved historical artifacts.
Furthermore, new exhibits are frequently introduced as well as special programs and fun events.
Periodic “family nights” are a fun way to see the museum and learn about South Dakotan art, history, and culture.
As you arrive at the museum, you’re welcomed by unique Lewis and Clark statues and, upon entry, you can expect welcoming and knowledgeable tour guides to make your visit memorable and informative.
Overall, Dakota Discovery Museum is a lovely way to spend a few hours in South Dakota.
Address: 1200 W University Ave, Mitchell, SD 57301, United States
30. Evans Plunge
This super cool indoor waterpark plunges visitors into warm natural spring water.
Uniquely, the park was built over the sparking, mineral springs of SD.
Historically, the springs were thought to have healing powers by Native Americans.
Before the addition of water slides in 2013, Evans Plunge’s location was used as healing baths that visitors soaked and relaxed in benefiting from the spring’s rejuvenation properties.
In 2013, the addition of water slides added a recreational component to the attraction.
Now, visitors come from all over for purposes of relaxation and/or recreation.
Moreover, the park has convenient amenities like rentable lockers, a concession stand, and showers.
This unique South Dakota attraction is a wonderful place for families to visit, so be sure to add it to your itinerary.
Address: 1145 N River St, Hot Springs, SD 57747, United States
31. Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame
This incredible South Dakota museum preserves and shares the history of motorcycles and important contributors to the industry.
Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame pay homage to motorcycles as a sport, lifestyle, and heritage.
Through the preservation of historical artifacts and educational workshops, the museum shows great respect to a sometimes misunderstood sport and lifestyle.
During your visit to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame, you will hear and see the stories of honored industry leaders.
Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with interactive displays, hang in the visitors’ lounge where famous motorcycle movies play throughout the day, and explore a prized collection of motorcycles and related antiques.
Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame is a wonderful place for motorcycle enthusiasts to see when visiting South Dakota.
Address: 999 Main St, Sturgis, SD 57785, United States
32. Big Thunder Gold Mine
South Dakota’s Big Thunder Gold Mine is a mining experience, fun for families, in the Black Hills.
Essentially, visitors have the opportunity to mine for real gold.
Walking the gold mine is easy for all ages and is both wheelchair accessible and pet-friendly.
Through guided tours into the forest of the Black Hills, you will learn to mine gold and gems by “panning;” best of all, you can keep any gold you find.
Additionally, this attraction is home to a mining museum that replicates an 1895 gold mill.
The museum houses thousands of artifacts preserved from three old working mines in the Black Hills.
You will find relics like a stamp mill, old blacksmith equipment, elevator equipment, and more.
This immersive and hands-on gold mine experience is an activity your whole family can enjoy when visiting South Dakota.
Address: 604 Blair St, Keystone, SD 57751, United States
33. WaTiki Waterpark
This is an awesome indoor waterpark that’s fun for the whole family all year long.
With more than 30,000 square feet of water attractions, WaTiki Waterpark is a must-see in South Dakota.
The park is home to exciting attractions like a kid’s activity pool, a lazy river, a cool body slide attraction, a hot tub, and so much more.
With age-appropriate attractions for infants to adults, there’s something for everyone.
Beyond the amazing water attractions, WaTiki Waterpark also has an arcade and a few dry attractions too.
When you’re done playing or if you just need a break from all the excitement, there are several on-site restaurants.
Moreover, the park is close to nearby hotels, restaurants, and other attractions.
If you’re looking for some indoor fun with children, this is definitely your place.
Address: 1314 N Elk Vale Rd, Rapid City, SD 57703, United States
34. Black Hills Balloons
Black Hills Balloons gives guests the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon.
While soaring over the scenic Black Hills you will make memories to last a lifetime.
One of the best ways to see the Black Hills, your hot air balloon ride will take you over mountains, lakes, prairies, and valleys.
During your one-hour flight, you can hope to see wildlife, Mount Rushmore, and some of the Badlands.
Taking off at sunrise each day, your hot air balloon ride will deliver thrills and scenery galore.
Notably, your balloon reservation includes champagne, snacks, and a flight certificate souvenir.
Best of all, your pilot will steer you to see as many of the wonderful SD sights that weather and time permit.
Adults and children age 4 and up are welcome to enjoy this distinct and memorable activity.
Black Hills Balloons comes highly recommended so try to book a flight during your visit to South Dakota.
Address: Custer, SD, United States
35. The National Presidential Wax Museum
Located a short drive from Mount Rushmore, The National Presidential Wax Museum pays homage to US presidents.
With more than 100 lifelike wax figures, including all US presidents, the artistry housed at the museum is astounding.
Each of the presidential figures is set prominently in iconic historical moments.
Your self-guided tour of the museum includes narrated contextual information at each exhibit.
Beyond your tour of the museum, you can also learn about the sculpting process through a theatre experience.
Each of the museum’s ten artists is highlighted in the film as well as presentations of the wax-sculpting process.
Finally, The National Presidential Wax Museum is a unique South Dakota experience that you can enjoy with friends and family.
Address: 609 US-16A, Keystone, SD 57751, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To South Dakota
As highlighted herein, South Dakota is a beautiful Midwestern state with plenty of tourist attractions.
Visitors to The Mount Rushmore State can enjoy hundreds of thousands of acres of natural outdoor spaces with adventure waiting at every turn.
Additionally, the state is home to many exciting attractions like water parks, adventure parks, cave systems, hot air balloon rides, and much more.
Finally, South Dakota is home to a history-rich culture that is depicted through the arts, entertainment, and historical landmarks.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit SD yet, be sure to add some of these amazing attractions to your upcoming itinerary.