Get Out There

So Much to See in South Dakota

We are so pleased to be rolling into South Dakota! The Mount Rushmore State features the famous monument but has so much more to offer. The weather is supposed to start cooling off this weekend, and we want to get out there and see the sights before it gets chilly!

Of course, we will be visiting Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and the Dignity sculpture. These beautiful monuments mark America’s history and are can’t-miss attractions.

We’ll also be spending large amounts of time in the state’s beautiful parks. We can’t wait to watch the sunrise in the Badlands. The park is open 24 hours a day, and we want to see the rocks lit red by morning sun! We’re looking forward to visiting Custer State Park and seeing the bison, burros, elk, antelope, goats and more. There are scenic drives and safari tours to see the animals close up with a tour guide! There are lodges, campgrounds and cabins. With so much to do in the park, we might end up spending the night. We also want to see the wild mustangs of the Black Hills. While in the Black Hills, we have to check out Spearfish Canyon. Frank Lloyd Wright claimed it was the most beautiful canyon he had seen. And, he had been to the Grand Canyon.

Of course, we will be hitting tourist spots as well as the beautiful places. We will go to Cosmos Mystery Area to take zany pictures. The attraction also has a geode mine that is sure to be a thrill for kids as they look for beautiful crystals of their own! Then, we’ll go to Wall Drug to get a glass of free ice water. They have been handing out free ice water since 1931, and people see the promise of a cold drink on billboards from 100 miles away. There is even a sign in Afghanistan — put up by an American soldier — informing the reader that Wall Drug is 6,964 miles away. And, in Antarctica, there’s a sign offering free ice water at Wall Drug — 9333 miles away! On a road with few rest-stops, Wall Drug hands out around 20,000 glasses of water a day. You can take photos with the 80-foot dino or a t-rex right out of Jurassic Park, enjoy a meal, shop, visit multiple museums and visit the giant statues kids love climbing. Coffee is five cents, and coffee and doughnuts are free to veterans. We’ll also stop off to see the Giant Prairie Dog and the dinosaur park built by the WPA in the ‘30s. We love Americana, and they are things we just have to see for ourselves.

Our final stop is the city of Deadwood. The whole city is on the National Historic Register. We look forward to learning more about the history, visit the Days of ’76 Museum, hear great music, ride a historic train, visit a goldmine and so much more! We will also visit a beautiful cemetery, Mount Moriah Cemetery, and pay our respects to both Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, buried next to each other. Many other figures from the wild west are interred in the graveyard and it’s well worth a visit. The hill to walk up to the graves is quite steep however there is a tour bus you can take around the grounds instead, which many people prefer.

After Deadwood, we’ll hit the road again, but we already look forward to our next to the state to see even more culture, history and nature!

Banner: White River Valley Overlook in Badlands National Park. Image: NPS, Cathy Bell

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