"Worth a Trip" South Dakota by DueSer
South Dakota Travel Guide: 1,235 reviews and 3,017 photos
If they grew up in the United States, most people have been forced into the car by their parents and driven to Mount Rushmore, located just outisde Rapid City.
This monument to American history (and possibly to what one man with a crazy dream can accomplish) is beautiful and stunning to see in person. The only problem is that it is located a long way from anywhere and it's one of those sites that, once you arrive, all you can really do is look at it, take a few pictures, and then leave.
There are other things to see in the area though, so don't just turn right around and head back home after seeing Mt. Rushmore.
Rapid City isn't a huge city but it is a good enough size to offer several restaurants, hotels, and shopping areas. Downtown, Main and St. Joseph Sts are lined with historic buildings, interesting and eclectic little shops, and life-sized statues of the presidents. That last one is especially fun to check out because it's always fun to discover you're taller than, say, Nixon.
Not far outside of town, the famous (or infamous?) town of Deadwood offers some interesting diversions. The town is so packed with casinos, though, that you have to really search to find historic points of interest such as Mt. Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried.
This park is by far the best site in the entire state. The park is beautiful - almost like a moonscape and definitely not like anything else in the U.S. The best time to go is early in the morning. It may be too foggy to fully appreciate the rock formations and the fossil beds but the park has a lot of wild animals and they are out and about in the morning. If you drive slowly you can get to see some pronghorn antelope up close. They are beautiful animals.
Also, just outside the park (on the east side) is national historic site. It's called the Prairie Homestead and it consists of an original sod house - these were homes common in the plain states that are built into the side of a hill. It's fascinating to see how people lived just a little over 100 years ago. It is inexpensive and educational. Also, the site is home to white prairie dogs - the only place you can see white ones. They seem to be fairly comfortable around people so while you can't get too close to them, they won't run down into their holes just at the site of you so you can get a good look at these cute little critters.
I briefly mentioned this place - Prairie Homestead - in my introduction to South Dakota but thought I'd use this place... more travel advice
The title "The World's Only Corn Palace" is how they bill this unique structure, which I find hilarious because OF... more travel advice
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