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South Dakota Travel Guides

Welcome to South Dakota, the Mount Rushmore State!

South Dakota is located in the northern central part of the US midwest, bordered by North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.

This is the 17th largest state by area, but the 5th least populated state. South Dakota is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes with nine reservations currently in the state.

Capital City: Pierre

Population: About 900,000

Time Zone: South Dakota has two time zones, the western portion of the the state lies in Mountain Standard Time (MST) while the eastern portion of the state lies in Central Standard Time (CST).

A couple posing for a photo in front of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
Mark and Kristen standing in front of Mount Rushmore National Memorial

South Dakota Highlights

South Dakota is the perfect USA travel destination for less crowded areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The southwestern part of this state packs a mighty punch with Badlands National Park, Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore all surrounded by the stunning Black Hills National Forest.

National Parks In South Dakota:

  • Badlands National Park
  • Wind Cave National Park

Want more National Parks? Visit our National Parks page.

  • Wall
  • Mitchell
  • Rapid City
  • Deadwood
  • Spearfish Canyon
  • Custer State Park
  • Black Hills National Forest
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
The famous ladder section on the Notch Trail in Badlands
Kristen climbing the ladder section on the Notch Trail

Badlands National Park

Badlands is known for its dramatic landscapes featuring unique layered rock formations, towering spires and steep canyons. But the best part about Badlands, in our opinion, is the wildlife.

You will most likely encounter bison, prairie dogs and bighorn sheep in Badlands. Explore some of our popular guides below to makes the most of your time in Badlands National Park.

Two people standing at the top of Black Elk Peak in South Dakota
Mark and Kristen at the summit of Black Elk Peak

Black Hills National Forest

The first time we drove through the Black Hills, we were blown away by the natural beauty of this area. We have since returned for a second time and we are planning to visit again in the future.

  • Custer State Park – Amazing things you need to experience in one of the largest, most diverse State Parks in the United States.

Need a new hiking app? Check out the best hiking apps and get 20% off a Gaia GPS subscription with our special link.

Bright yellow geyser in Yellowstone National Park
Morning Glory pool in Yellowstone National Park

South Dakota Road Trip

In our opinion, the state of South Dakota is severely underrated. We recommend you add South Dakota to your next road trip itinerary.

If you are traveling from further afield, fly into Rapid City and then you will have the entire region on your doorstep.

We highly recommend driving Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway, but be sure to use caution on those winding roads.

Road Trip To Yellowstone

If you are planning to travel in South Dakota, consider a longer road trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Need a travel itinerary? Shop our travel ebooks.

More South Dakota Guides