South Dakota Bucket List ~ Black Hills and Badland Region

Today we hit the final region of South Dakota and by far the largest bucket list for the state as it hits upon the popular tourist areas of the state: The Black Hills and the Badlands. Lots to see and do here!

Belle Fourche

  • Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center: This small museum focuses on history from the tri-state area and also is home to the “Center of the Nation.”


  • Crazy Horse Memorial: This constant work in progress will one day be a magnificent memorial to the great warrior Crazy Horse.
  • Custer State Park: Beautiful state park that features a wildlife viewing loop and beautiful Sylvan Lake.
  • Jewel Cave National Monument: Unique cave filled with “boxwork” and very interesting tour.

Hill City

  • 1880 Train/South Dakota State Railroad Museum: Ride the train from Hill City to Keystone and back again after exploring the museum.

Hot Springs

  • Mammoth Site of Hot Springs: This is an active paleontologist site.
  • Wind Cave National Park: Come hike along the prairie or take a tour of this impressive cave system.


  • Badlands National Park: Experience this unique landscape! Gorgeous views and hiking!


  • Mount Rushmore National Monument: See the famed “mountain of presidents.”
  • National Presidential Wax Museum: See wax presidential figures in specific moments of history along with other presidential artifacts.


  • Black Hills Mining Museum: Explore the history of mining and take a simulated “mine tour.”
  • Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center: Explore the Underground Lab mission, the history of Lead and view the iconic Open Cut.


  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site: Explore the history of the Cold War and visit the missile site and control bunker on a tour.

Rapid City

  • America’s Founding Fathers Exhibit: Found in a replica of Independence Hall, this attractions takes you back in history to explore our Founding Fathers.
  • Bear Country U.S.A.: Drive thru nature park. Get up close and personal with some native animals.
  • Chapel in the Hills: Take in the beauty of this unique church.
  • Dinosaur Park: Visit this iconic attraction built in the 1930’s with sweeping views of the town below.
  • The Journey Museum and Learning Center: Explore the history of the Black Hills and the Native Americas who called the area home.


  • Spearfish Canyon: Take in the gorgeous views of the canyon by driving along the byway.
  • Roughlock Falls State Nature Area: Enjoy a beautiful waterfall area just a short hike from your parking spot. Be sure to check out nearby Spearfish Falls as well.


  • Bear Butte State Park: Attempt to summit Bear Butte and take in stunning views of the beginning of the Black Hills.
  • Old Fort Meade Museum: Learn the history of the fort that was built to protect miners and settlers on the Western fronteir.


  • Wall Drug Store: No visit to South Dakota is complete without visiting the famed Drug Store. Overpriced but still a must see.

All attractions found in the 2019 South Dakota Vacation Guide.


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