Top 10 Best Day Trips from South Dakota

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Do you have any plans to make this the finest year ever? In South Dakotans, huge and small adventures are waiting around every turn, making good times easily ... read more...

  1. One of the best seasons to go walking in South Dakota is winter. You will really find some quiet and tranquility on the less busy hiking trails. Look at this lovely hike that will help you appreciate the state's heritage and make you feel at one with nature.

    The trailhead is located on Sheridan Lake's southeast side. The trail's intermediate difficulty is mostly attributed to the 1,322-foot elevation gain or loss. There are three portions to the path, which is around 13 miles long overall. You have the option to hike for however long you like before returning the way you came. Because of its past, this trail is recognized as a National Recreation Trail. The Rockerville Flume, which transported water from Spring Creek to the Rockerville diggings, is followed by the route. Thanks to this flume, more than $20 million worth of gold was extracted. Many tunnels can be found on the route. To navigate through some of the longer ones, it's a good idea to have a flashlight or headlamp. Along the route, you'll see a lot of historical relics. So that future hikers can appreciate them as well, and leave them intact.

    This hike has some steep and rocky sections. It could be beneficial to have some grip cleats for your hiking boots if there is snow or ice on the ground. Beautiful vistas may be seen from the walk. Spring Creek, which was frozen when this picture was taken during a trip in January, is visible from this vantage point.

    Address: Pennington County, South Dakota
    Official site:
    Phone: N/A
    Entrance fee: $7/vehicle/day day use; campground fee variable
    Google rating: 4.6/5.0

  2. The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department runs the Outdoor Campus West. In Rapid City, it is situated at 4130 Adventure Trail. The Outdoor Campus in Rapid City exists to give practical experiences in outdoor activities including fishing, hunting, and trapping. All year long, free educational sessions are offered to children, adults, and families. Along with a 4,600-gallon freshwater tank, visitors can tour indoor displays displaying various western South Dakota environments and fauna. Additionally, the campus offers daily access to more than 1.5 miles of nature paths. Everyone can engage in the lifelong sport of fishing. Children and families can learn how to become excellent fishermen in the fishing basics classes.

    The US Green Building Council granted LEED Gold certification to the SDGFP Outdoor Campus. By utilizing a wide range of credits, the site's features—including geothermal heating and cooling systems, bike and pedestrian access, increased open space, and restored habitat—helped to support the team's sustainable design solutions. Individual lighting and temperature settings, a wide variety of recycled content materials, unobstructed views, and extensive use of daylight and water-efficient fixtures are just a few examples of interior sustainable design solutions. As a starting point for the LEED strategy, both the Owner and Design Team concentrated on conservation ties with material recycling, use of local resources, and land conservation.

    Address: Adventure Trail, Rapid City, South Dakota
    Official site:
    Phone: +1 605-394-2310
    Entrance fee: free
    Google rating: 4.8/5.0
  3. In South Dakota's stunning and majestic Black Hills, you may find Bear Country USA. Bear Country USA is simple to find and visit because of its convenient location close to Rapid City, Sheridan Lake, Keystone, and the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. There are parks, trails, lakes, caves, events, and sights in the Black Hills that you have never seen before. While in the area year-round, there is no lack of attractions to see.

    Bear Country USA has developed its own pasture grass mix, combining native species of drought-tolerant grasses like brome, crested wheat grasses, and buffalo grass, and uses rotational grazing programs with hoof animals. Ponds' water is used to irrigate shelter belts and grazing fields. Native shrubs and trees that can withstand drought are used to create shelter belts because they require minimal water, feed songbirds all winter long, and provide as a windbreak and source of shade. Eggs from chickens are utilized as animal enrichment at Babyland. Free-range chickens and peafowl are employed to control ticks. Bear Country USA has collaborated with many groups by accumulating and exchanging knowledge about bear hibernation and captive breeding. Special services groups can receive discounted pricing; for additional information, visit their gift shop.

    Address: 13820 US-16, Rapid City, South Dakota

    Official site:

    Phone: +1 605-343-2290

    Entrance fee: 12$-18$

    Google rating: 4.7/5.0
  4. McCrory Gardens ranks 4th on the list of the best day trips from South Dakota. On the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, are the botanical gardens and arboretum known as McCrory Gardens and South Dakota State Arboretum (70 acres). Hundreds of various flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses are displayed in a variety of settings at McCrory Gardens' 45-acre arboretum and over 25-acre formal display gardens for the purpose of educating visitors and promoting the creation of new species. Although McCory Gardens is open all year round, the spring is when it really comes to life. The gardens become more colorful as the weather gets warmer.

    The Gardens' 25 acres of formal gardens are frequently bursting with vivid reds, yellows, pinks, and purples in May. if you adore tulips in spring. TulaPalooza is an event you won't want to miss. The gardens can be walked around for several hours. Relax on a bench and take in the new blossoms. Or take some time to photograph these stunning objects up close.

    Address: 631 22nd Ave, Brookings, South Dakota
    Official site:
    Phone: +1 605-688-6707
    Entrance fee: 4$-6$
    Google rating: 4.6/5.0
  5. Looking to arrange the ideal exciting short getaway this spring? One of South Dakota's most breathtaking adventure parks is the only place to go. This is a unique location to visit, offering challenging courses, zip lines, free-falling adventures, and breathtaking hilltop views of the Black Hills region. This is also one of the best day trips from South Dakota. Rushmore Tramway Adventures is located in Keystone, a small hamlet in the Black Hills. Established in 1965, this fascinating park is stuffed to the gills with outdoor attractions.

    Rushmore Tramway Adventures has evolved into the most thrilling attraction in the Black Hills since coming under new management at the turn of the century, but it hasn't lost sight of its primary objective, which is to provide breathtaking aerial views of Mount Rushmore. Every site provides a different perspective of the stunning region's spectacular landscape. There are 8 unique challenge courses in the Arial Adventure Park, all of varying degrees of difficulty. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced climber, you may discover the ideal course suspended high in the Ponderosa Pines.

    Address: 203 Cemetery Rd, Keystone, South Dakota
    Official site:
    Phone: +1 605-666-4478
    Entrance fee: 12$
    Google rating: 4.6/5.0
  6. One of Spearfish Canyon's most satisfying hikes is Devil's Bathtub. Depending on your hiking experience, the full hike can be finished in an hour or can be extended out to take the entire afternoon from the stoplight in Spearfish that denotes the start of the canyon. What are the bathtub's directions? You must eventually be on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway because the bathtub is in Spearfish Canyon. From Spearfish, you'll be traveling south. Between Bridal Veil Falls and Savoy, there is a turnoff. To be more precise, between Bridal Veil Falls and the bend where you can park to walk the Eleventh Hour.

    You'll probably have to cross the stream multiple times along the trip. You might frequently try to cross on improvised bridges made of branches and rocks. Although the trail is present on both sides of the stream, sometimes it is simpler to hike on the other side. This varies yearly owing to changes in the environment brought on by the weather, animals, time, etc. Please respect the fact that the parking area and the start of the hike are on private land. Always remember to take only what you need. Due to the high likelihood of having wet feet, this hike may not be appropriate for very small children. The round-trip distance of the hike is just over a mile. If you intend to stay outside for more than a few hours, pack some food and water because it would be costly to return to your car.

    Address: 1917 Spearfish Canyon Hwy, South Dakota

    Official site:

    Phone: N/A

    Entrance fee: free

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0
  7. About a half-hour west of Brookings, SD, in De Smet, South Dakota, is where you can find the Ingalls Homestead. Parking is abundant and free at the Homestead. As "Laura's Living Prairie," the Ingalls Homestead is the genuine property that Charles Ingalls, the father of real-life Laura Ingalls, successfully tamed and acquired under the Homestead Act in the late 19th century. Today, it is a public attraction run by a family that offers lots of interactive fun for visitors of all ages to learn about pioneer life and the Ingalls family. Additionally, a Little House-inspired show has been staged there annually for the past 50 years right next to the pageant grounds!

    Parking is available at the tourist center when you first approach the farmhouse by car. In addition to housing the gift shop and several facilities, this structure is where you may purchase tickets for the activities at the farmhouse. Babies and toddlers under the age of 5 are admitted free; admission is $15 for everyone else. Outside the visitor center, there is also an observation tower. You may get a breathtaking perspective of the entire farm by climbing it.

    Address: 20812 Homestead Rd, De Smet, South Dakota
    Official site:
    Phone: +1 800-776-3594
    Entrance fee: 15$
    Google rating: 4.8/5.0
  8. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a national treasure in the United States and stands for the values of democracy and freedom. The four faces of the United States presidents, each measuring 60 feet high, are painstakingly carved out of a granite mountainside at Mount Rushmore, which was finished in 1941. Mount Rushmore, which is situated in the South Dakotan Black Hills, is frequently regarded as a must-see landmark. More than 3 million tourists come here each year from all over the world to take in the breathtaking vistas of this patriotic location.

    Mount Rushmore was chosen by the sculptor and tribal representatives because it also offers the benefit of facing southeast for optimum light exposure. Heroic figures from the American West, including Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, the expedition's leader among the Oglala Lakota, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Crazy Horse, were included at Doane Robinson's request. Borglum decided on the four presidents because he thought the sculpture should appeal to a wider audience.

    Address: 13000 SD-244, Keystone, South Dakota

    Official site:

    Phone: +1 605-574-2523

    Entrance fee: free

    Google rating: 4.7/5.0
  9. South Dakota's Badlands National Park is an absolute must-see if you are there. As far as the eye can view, this enormous open area is covered by an infinite bright blue sky that contrasts with spectacular topography. Badlands is the ideal family-friendly national park, with a variety of quick and simple hiking paths that make it possible to view some of the park's most breathtaking rock formations, like the Badlands Wall.

    The park is divided by a circular road, so you may drive it and see everything. Along the loop, there are several overlooks where you may pause and take in the views of this amazing landscape. Although you can explore the Badlands in about 4-5 hours, you should stay the night at one of the campgrounds. Staying over gives you the finest chances to see wildlife early in the day and late in the day, as well as the opportunity to stare up at the stars in an extremely clear night sky.

    Address: 25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, South Dakota
    Official site:
    Phone: +1 605-433-5361
    Entrance fee: 15$-30$
    Google rating: 4.9/5.0
  10. One of the biggest and nicest state parks in the country is Custer State Park. It's extremely possible that you'll be halted by herds of bison crossing the road on Custer's 18-mile, one-way wildlife loop through undulating hills and meadows. In Custer State Park, you can see burros, prairie dogs, elk, pronghorn, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and 1,500 bison. More Bison live there than everywhere else in the nation.

    Two exceptionally beautiful highways have entrances within the park's boundaries. One is Needles Highway, and the other is Iron Mountain Road (see our Iron Mountain Road time-lapse). Both involve thrilling drives with hairpin corners, tunnels, and stunning vistas of the Black Hills. Black Elk Peak and Cathedral Spires are the most highly regarded hiking routes. The latter is a magnificent 3-mile roundtrip easy to an intermediate hiking trail that passes through gorgeous forest and leads to granite rock formations that resemble needles. On Needles Highway, right at a hairpin bend, is where the trailhead to Cathedral Spires may be found.

    Address: 13438 US Highway 16A, Custer, South Dakota
    Official site:
    Phone: +1 605-255-4515
    Entrance fee: 20$
    Google rating: 4.8/5.0

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