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Home of the Perfect Road Trip
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Home to treasures like Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Custer State Park, South Dakota holds adventure no matter what your age. Six national parks and monuments allow visitors to marvel at a larger-than-life sculpture at Mount Rushmore, hike through other-worldly terrain at Badlands National Park, and explore deep below the surface in two of the world’s longest caves.

South Dakota has a rich paleontological history that includes the finding of one of the most complete T. rex skeletons ever discovered and the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world, which are still being unearthed in the Black Hills. Hikers in Badlands National Park can periodically watch ongoing digs in what is considered one of the richest fossil beds in the United States.

Visitors can step back in time to the Wild West in Historic Deadwood. You can see where Wild Bill Hickok played his last hand of poker, visit the gravesites of Calamity Jane and other notable characters, and learn about the history of the gold rush in the area.

South Dakota is also abundant in water recreation. The Black Hills area is home to several lakes and streams, the Missouri River runs down the centre of the state, and north-eastern South Dakota is dotted with dozens of clear lakes. All of these bodies of water offer visitors the perfect opportunity for kayaking, fishing, boating and other water recreation.

South Dakota is home to the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people, collectively known as the Great Sioux Nation. Several museums and cultural centres across the state depict the history and traditions of these nations as well as display ancient artefacts and modern artwork. Visitors may also experience this colourful culture at one of many powwows held across the state.

The early pioneers that conquered the prairies left a lasting legacy across South Dakota. Central South Dakota was the setting for the majority of the film, "Dances with Wolves," which won seven Academy Awards. In her book series, “Little House on the Prairie,” author Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of her life growing up in the town of De Smet. Four of her six books were written about her family’s adventures on the prairies of South Dakota. You can tour her childhood homestead and see the places that inspired her classic books and a television series.

Whatever the adventure visitors are looking for, they will find a wide variety in South Dakota.

Home of the Perfect Road Trip
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Must see places

The faces of Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The faces of four U.S. presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln – gaze over the Black Hills in southwestern South Dakota on a mountainside sculpture that took 14 years and $1 million to complete.

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A hike through the Badlands

Badlands National Park

Among the stunning sharp buttes and gradient rocks at the 98,700-hectare Badlands National Park are fossil beds 25 to 35 million years old. Today, plants and wildlife thrive nearby in a mixed-grass prairie.

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Buffalo stopping traffic in Custer State Park

Custer State Park

Stay at a lodge resort, explore mountain ranges, tour a log cabin, fish for trout and take a scenic drive at the 28,733-hectare park, where an abundance of wildlife includes a free-roaming herd of 1,300 bison.

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A long view of historic Deadwood

Historic Deadwood

History comes alive during tours of the Wild West gold rush mountain town, where Calamity Jane is buried, and where Jack McCall gunned down Wild Bill Hickok in 1876 during a poker game in Saloon No. 10.

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Spearfish Canyon’s jagged streams

Spearfish Canyon

Take a leisurely 35-kilometer drive along Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, where the elevation changes nearly 610 meters from one end to the other. Stop along the way, maybe at Bridal Veil Falls, for breathtaking views.

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The city skyline with Mount Rainier in the distance
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Destination

Seattle