The week before I moved from Minneapolis, my aunt and I went on a spontaneous road trip through South Dakota! It was a new state for me and there was lots to see and do even though we only had a few days.
Visiting Mount Rushmore was the main reason for the road trip. We started the drive from Minneapolis and stopped for the night in Sioux Falls, SD. The next day we hit the road towards Mount Rushmore. This was during the Presidential Debates so it was kind of fitting to go visit a memorial to some of our great Presidents.
Look at that blue sky! It was a perfect day!
It was worth the long car ride to see Mount Rushmore! It’s a must-see sight.
Wall Drug Store
Apparently Wall Drug Store is famous because it opened back in 1931 as a well-known roadside stop.
It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere and it all began with free water. Business was bad until they posted signs on the highway offering free ice water. It was hot and the people driving across South Dakota could use a refreshing beverage!
They have a restaurant (or several) plus lots of cute shops and entertainment. I had some delicious fudge and we took some fun pictures.
Custer State Park
After visiting Mount Rushmore, we headed over to Custer State Park. We must’ve taken the scenic route through the park because it was a very curvy road and I was starting to get motion sick.
The first sight we saw was Needles Eye.
Then we got to Sylvan Lake, the main reason I wanted to visit Custer State Park. It was beautiful and we got there just in time as the sun was starting to set.
Bear Country USA
The next day we got up and headed for Bear Country USA, which is a drive-through wildlife area with wolves, bears, elk and other wildlife.
Even some fall leaves hanging on!
After the drive-through area, they had an area you could get out and walk and see some baby bears and other wildlife.
Badlands National Park
Next we headed to Badlands National Park. It was cool to learn that although it looks like not a lot of wildlife would live here, it’s actually very full of life!
The Badlands is where my family saw lots of prairie dogs a few years ago when I was unable to go on the trip and I’ve been desperate to see prairie dogs ever since. And I was finally able to!!
So many prairie dogs!!
They were super cute and fat because they’re getting ready for hibernation.
Here’s a short video so you can hear them too:
I could watch them for hours!
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
On the way back towards Minneapolis, we stopped at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, where nuclear missiles were held during the Cold War. It was a sobering experience to visit and realize the mass destruction that almost happened several times!
South Dakota Sunset
On the drive back to Minnesota, we got to see a beautiful sunset.
Even though we only had less than 3 days to travel South Dakota, we made the most of it! I am glad I got to see these places before moving south to Nashville.
Have you been to South Dakota? Anything you would add to my list of things to see and do?