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South Dakota has good golf courses, skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, hiking, and biking among rolling prairies, pine forests, and granite mountain peaks like Mount Rushmore. Glacial lakes and Missouri River reservoir lakes provide great fishing, boating, canoeing, water skiing, and windsurfing. The whole family will enjoy this prairie land where grain growing begat roadside attractions like the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Everything made from corn, even the popcorn, tastes better here. Where buffalo roam, roadside diners serve up buffalo and luscious homemade fruit pies. Shop for good deals on cowboy boots on the same Black Hills and Badland Main Streets where cowboys and cowgirls outfit themselves.
Be near the eroded buttes, spires, and prairie grasslands of Badlands National Park with a vacation rental house, cottage, or log cabin in Lead, Deadwood, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis, Hill City, Custer, and other nearby towns. The whole family will enjoy watching for big game like bison, bighorn sheep, antelope, eagles, and hawks. Drive the one-hour Hwy 240 loop road, with a side-trip to Robert's Prairie Dog Town. Learn about the Oglala Sioux Tribe at the White River Visitor Center, which is near Wounded Knee. Tour the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site's Cold War nuclear silos, just outside the Park's boundaries. About 90 minutes west of Badlands National Park is Mount Rushmore.
Rushmore, Custer & Caves
A money-saving vacation rental home, ranch house, or log cabin in Lead, Deadwood, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis, Hill City, Whitetail Springs, or Custer is also very near Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Jewel Cave National Monument. View Mount Rushmore from the aerial tramway in Keystone, which also houses the Borglum Historical Center celebrating the artist behind the sculpting of Rushmore. Take the kids to the Dinosaur Park in Rapid City. Attend Custer State Park’s Annual Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival. Bedazzle the whole family with sparkling calcite crystals in 151-mile long Jewel Cave. Bison, pronghorn, and elk graze the grasslands of Wind Cave National Park.
Lakes & Rivers
Central South Dakota has the state capitol, Pierre, in addition to numerous lakes along the Missouri River. Go fishing and boating in the rivers and lakes. Take the kids to the South Dakota Discovery Center and Aquarium in Pierre to see the state’s native fish. Drop by the Dacotah Prairie Museum along the James River in Aberdeen in the northeast to learn prairie history and natural history. Swing by Sioux Falls to see the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial and special exhibits at the Old Courthouse Museum. Choose from among 10 golf courses in Sioux Falls.