22 Photos That Will Convince You to Travel to South Dakota Now
South Dakota is known as the land of “Great Faces, Great Places” for good reason. From east to west, sprawling prairies, farmland and glistening glacial lakes transform into mountains and rugged Badlands. One day you could be kayaking on crystal-clear Sylvan Lake, biking through spruce and ponderosa pine forests of Custer State Park, and taking in the majestic faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial. One day later, you could be strolling the path Lewis & Clark once took at Spirit Mound and along the Missouri River while exploring the West. Scenic byways run through South Dakota and are one of the best ways to appreciate the state’s unique landscapes. Loop around wooden “pigtail” bridges on the mountainous Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, and pass through the lands of five Native American tribes as you follow the Missouri River on the Native American National and State Scenic Byway. Another popular route is Spearfish Canyon, a 22-mile stretch that passes by towering limestone cliffs, waterfalls and a rushing mountain stream.
Throughout this shifting scenery, history is ever-present. Gaze upon ancient fossil fields where prehistoric beasts once roamed, come face-to-face with U.S. presidents at Mount Rushmore, or walk in the footsteps of Native and Wild West legends such as Crazy Horse, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. Between destinations, you might stop by one of several time-honored road stops, including the Wall Drug Store and its giant animatronic dinosaur. While South Dakota embraces the past, it is at the same time ever-evolving. Explore Sioux Falls' growing culinary scene at places like C.H. Patisserie, or stroll through the graffitied Art Alley in Rapid City. Wherever you go, South Dakota is ripe with moments that last a lifetime.
Feast your eyes on the images below, including selections from the annual Smithsonian.com photo contest, and discover why you need to make South Dakota your next travel destination.