Have you ever been to South Dakota?
As an avid traveler I am all about seeing the world and visiting those treasures that are across the globe. However, I have lived about 10 hours drive from South Dakota most of my life, and have never bothered to visit. It is South Dakota…why would I? Beyond Mount Rushmore, this is not a location/destination that ever appealed to me. The Dakotas are not exactly touted as the place to go as a tourist or traveler, if you know what I mean. But I had a chance to visit this summer, and my mind has been changed. Completely. I now think everyone should visit South Dakota, and I am going to share 5 reasons why that includes YOU!
History and Heritage
South Dakota has a rich history. From Pioneers, to Native Americans, to Wild West Legends, South Dakota has been home to much of our nation’s history. You can walk in fossil fields, visit a Native Americans pow wow, pretend to be Laura Ingells Wilder from The Little House on The Prairie, and more. It is the home of the Sioux Nation, including the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota Indians. And it is has the Louis and Clark Trail. When Thomas Jefferson finalized the Louisianna Purchase, he sent these two explorers out to see what he had bought, and you can visit the trail in the heart of South Dakota.
I never imagined South Dakota to be as beautiful as it was. Everywhere you look you will see green trees, rolling hills, wildlife, etc. It is truly a idyllic wilderness area. Gorgeous. Green. And Fun! There are places to hike, ride horses, and chase bunnies (as pictured). I want to go back just to spend more time in the Black Hills, as they are lovely.
Parks and Monuments
South Dakota has tons of monuments, like Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and state parks, like Custer State Park, which offer a lot for visitors to do. Of course, Mt. Rushmore was the big draw for us, but my kids loved Crazy Horse too. And the state parks that are so beautiful and have plenty of hiking trails.
The Top 3 Are:
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
This monument is so awesome that I will be dedicating a whole post to it, but I think you should visit at least once in your life. It is a Testament of Democracy and evidence to the American dream.
Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial is a monument in the making, so in other words, it is not finished. It i sprivately funded, so it may take time to get it finished. It is the world’s largest mountain carving in progress. It is a memorial to the great Lakota leader Crazy Horse, and was started in 1948.
Black Hills National Forest
You will see large pines, granite peaks, and over a million acres of lovely scenery.
I mentioned earlier that there is horse back riding, but there are many other amazing outdoor activities you can participate in while visiting South Dakota: hiking, biking, rock climbing, sailing, kayaking and jet skiing. You can do it all!
We loved camping in South Dakota. We opted for cabin camping, where you stay in a cabin on a bunk, with your sleeping bag. You still cook over a fire, and what not, but you get to sleep inside (less bugs), use a working toilet, and there are perks like pools and playgrounds. South Dakota has tons of KOAs and other camping and cabin camping options to choose from, and at very reasonable rates! We loved it.
Ok, so there are really so many more reasons to visit, these are just the reasons we loved it so much!