South Dakota has a lot to offer when it comes to natural wonders, American history and outdoor activities. Visiting South Dakota should be on everyone’s list of places to travel too. Some of the fascinating locations include the Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and the Black Hills National Forest. All of these are located very close to each other.
Visiting South Dakota should be on everyone’s list of places to travel too.
The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site will give you a feel for what it was like when the United States and Soviet Union were going through the Cold War. There are three major areas on site, the main offices which housed the 66th Strategic Missile Squadron, then there is the silo, known as launch facility Delta Nine (D-09) which housed a Minuteman II missile and lastly the launch control facility, known as Delta One (D-01). There are tours of the D-09 and D-01 facilities as well as a cool 15-minute movie showing the history of the site. It was also nice just walking around the grounds.
The Badlands National Park is a geological wonder and the views are spectacular. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. This park is approximately 244,000 acres. There are two campgrounds in the park but camping in the summer gets to be very hot. One big highlight when there is all of the hiking available. Be sure to bring plenty of water if you head out on the trail. If you come through or stay a night, the wide open sky is amazing for seeing the stars.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is more than just some Presidents faces chiseled in stone though it never ceases to amaze me just how amazing it is. While visiting, take a walk on the Presidential Trail which is just over a half mile long and has 422 stairs. Trust me, its great exercise. The Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center has a great museum and shows a short film of how Mount Rushmore was created. The Memorial is located in the Black Hills. Keep in mind if you have an Annual National Parks pass you will still need to pay for parking.
If you’re looking for a place to put a tent, overland vehicle or an RV after all the places you just visited the Black Hills National Forest has some of the most beautiful locations to camp in the upper Midwest. There are 30 campgrounds, 2 beautiful scenic byways and with 13,000 acres of wilderness and 353 miles of trails so you won’t run out of places to walk. When I visited I stayed at the Horse Thief campground located just 2 miles from Mount Rushmore. It is located on the Horse Thief Lake which has some excellent fishing and a nice trail that goes all around the lake. If campground camping isn’t your thing and you like it even more rugged, there is dispersed camping within the National Forest.
These beautiful locations should be on everyone’s bucket list. And remember, if you have an eParks National Parks Passport this is a great area to get those stamps and cancellations!