5 Must-See Places in South Dakota
(Last Updated On: April 24, 2020)


There are more than five must-see places in South Dakota, but we have to start somewhere. When people talk about must-see places in South Dakota, the first thing they probably think of is Mount Rushmore. There is a good reason for this as about three million people from around the world visit the famous sculpture every year. What you may not realize is there are plenty of other places to see in South Dakota. Here are 5 of those must-see places.

1. Badlands National Park

If you are looking for some of the most breathtaking scenery in South Dakota, you will want to venture to the Badlands National Park. Located 75 miles east of Rapid City, Highway 240 takes you along Badlands Loop Road. You will see dramatic landscapes, scenic lookouts, layered rock formations, and even some bighorn sheep and prairie dogs.

2. Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes

If you’re familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House on the Prairie books, you’ll definitely want to visit De Smet. In this tiny town of just over 1,000 people, you will find the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes. You can also take a tour around De Smet that features Silver Lake, Lake Henry, and Almonzo and Laura’s claims.

3. National Music Museum

Located at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, the National Music Museum features over 14,000 instruments from all over the world. There are instruments from virtually every culture and historical period. The museum was founded in 1973 and is considered one of the most important institutions of its kind.

4. Butterfly House and Aquarium

If you’re ever in Sioux Falls, you will want to stop in at the Butterfly House and Aquarium, where you can immerse yourself in the wonders of the natural world. Kids and adults alike will discover animal and plant life from every corner of the world. The Butterfly House is a 3,600 square foot space that contains over 800 free-flying butterflies. It is the only insectarium in the Dakotas. The aquarium is a 20,000-gallon tropical habitat for hundreds of species of fish and corals. There is also a stingray touch pool and interactive exhibits in the Discovery Den.

5. Storybook Land

Storybook Land in Aberdeen is a world of imagination inspired by familiar nursery rhymes and stories, including Humpty Dumpty and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It also features The Land of Oz, which is complete with a gift shop called Dorothy’s House and a simulated tornado experience. Storybook Land is located in Wylie Park, which is a 210-acre park that offers a variety of recreational activities like camping, bumper boats, miniature golf, playground areas, wildlife exhibits, and hiking trails.

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