Memorable South Dakota Vacation Adventures Are Waiting For You
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Of all the wonders of the great state of South Dakota, there are eight that stand out. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that not all of The Great Eight is found in the Black Hills.
Think of all the spectacular places you have visited here in South Dakota. The summer vacations you’ve taken with your family as a child and maybe continue as an adult now with your kids.
As you think about that one, let’s begin with the most obvious.
Mount Rushmore – The shrine of democracy carved out of granite that was started by sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1927 and completed in 1941. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are seen by over two million visitors a year from across the country and around the world.
Crazy Horse Memorial – Thanks to the cousin in which this carving is named, Chief Henry Standing Bear found a gifted sculptor in Korczak Ziolkowski to carve a memorial to honor his people. The project began on June 3rd, 1948, and continues today. The heart of the Black Hills Crazy Horse Memorial is between Hill City and Custer, South Dakota.
Historic Deadwood – How can an entire town be on this list? Well then, you’ve never been to Deadwood. Gold, gambling, brothels, and plenty of grit went into the making of this mountain village. It’s easy to say that more has been written about this popular Black Hills destination than all of South Dakota. The names alone associated with Deadwood are ‘greats’ in their own right: Wild Bill Hickok, Seth Bullock, Calamity Jane, Jack McCall, and so many others.
Custer State Park – One of the most beautiful state parks in the country that is home to mountain streams and lakes, winding roads around granite needle spires, wildlife that freely roams, and it’s all open to the public. You could spend an entire summer here exploring and hiking.
Jewel Cave National Monument – If you’re not claustrophobic then follow us deep down into the cave that sparkles with the most brilliant colors. Names like Dogtooth Spar, Cave Bacon, and Flowstone are all found here along the 210 miles of mapped passages. And, more are being discovered each year.
Wind Cave National Park – Not entirely below ground, this is the first cave to be designated a national park. Not only does Wind Cave feature the world’s largest concentration of rare boxwork formations, but it also includes along with 33,970 acres of forest and prairie on the surface.
Badlands National Park – Originally named by the Lakota as mako sica, meaning badlands. Hundreds of years of history come out of this desolate land including when French fur trappers would come through. And, in World War II when the army used it as a bombing range. The Badlands sits just outside of the Blackhills. That’s the first part of the answer from above.
Missouri River – Yep, this is the other ‘great’ that isn’t in the Black Hills. Extending from the North Dakota border to the Iowa border, the Big Muddy is the longest river in North America. Home to unlimited recreation and world-class fishing. The Missouri River is powerful with its four dams; Oahe Dam: Lake Oahe, Big Bend Dam: Lake Sharpe, Fort Randall Dam: Lake Francis Case, and Gavins Point Dam: Lewis and Clark Lake.
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