During the summer breaks, beaches and big cities attract record numbers of tourists. But if you’re looking for a quieter holiday in a jaw-dropping location that combines iconic monuments, Native American history, Wild West feelings and American history galore, you should head to South Dakota. I hear you; South Dakota might not be the state next door. But it is most certainly worth the trip. It is one of the most overlooked areas in the country, and you’re in luck as the best period to visit South Dakota is between May and September. If you live nearby, take your car and drive. If you’re far away, you can book a flight to Rapid City airport and sort your 3-day road trip from there.
Day 1: Badlands National Park and Rapid City
There are a few flights flying to Rapid City Airport so that you won’t have much difficulty getting there and hiring a car. However, if you’re struggling, you can get to Denver, CO and catch a bus to Rapid City. But remember to plan one or 2 days extra for the travel journey. Rapid City is set against the Black Hills mountain range so that you’re best placed to begin your epic journey. However, before heading to the mountains, take the time to visit the Badlands national park, one-hour drive from town. As one of the most underrated parks in the country, the Badlands park offers a quiet atmosphere even at the heart of summer. Take the time to appreciate the rocky landscape created by wind and water erosion over the years. If you’ve got a creative soul, no doubt you’ll be soon posting poems about it.
Day 2: Mount Rushmore
Spend your first night in a hotel near Mount Rushmore, so that you’re best prepared for a visit of this bigger-than-life sculpture. Initially, the Black Hills were a holy region for the Native American population, which is why you can find the Crazy Horse Memorial in the vicinity of the Four Presidential Heads, in an effort to commemorate American Indian history.
Day 3: Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota
It’s easy to forget that Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, due to the fame that Mount Rushmore and the Badlands park. It’s a relatively small and traffic-free place that is filled with open spaces. In other words, you’ll love to visit a town that doesn’t make you feel like you’re in the middle of a busy urban environment. If you wander downtown, you might even come across Fernson Brewing Company, which specializes in craft beer. For the science lovers, you can also experience a tornado at the Washington Pavilion.
What to Think of When You Go
Finally, a little word of warning for your quick road trip adventure. If you’re using a rental, you need to pick a vehicle that suits your needs. You’ll find that SUVs are best-fitted for South Dakota rocky landscapes. Additionally, you will need to prepare the itinerary in advance. There is a lot to see and not much time, so don’t waste it looking for the right road!
Now, there’s only one question left to ask, not if you’re ready for an adventure in South Dakota, but when you’re going to pay a visit to this understated state. Pack your camera: You will be taking more pictures than you’ll ever care to admit! Have you ever been to South Dakota? It isn’t a state that you hear about very often unless it is about the Badlands National Park. Do you have any other suggestions to add?
Until our next rendezvous …
This post was a collaborative effort.