I’m not a big camper or road-tripper, but I decided to be both during my trip to South Dakota. I packed up my Jeep with my favorite camping gear and set off. Though my original desire to visit South Dakota stemmed primarily (if not solely) from wanting to see Mount Rushmore, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the iconic sculpture is not the only thing worth visiting in South Dakota. Here’s my list of the 5 most beautiful things to see on your next trip to this unique state.
B U F F A L O
We all know about the tragic slaughter of the buffalo in the late 1800s that put the species dangerously close to extinction. Fortunately, they have begun a slow resurgence across the Great Plains of North America and it is now possible to witness these magnificent creatures still today. At the Custer State Park wildlife reserve you can enjoy a peaceful and scenic drive through the park and observe over 1,000 buffalos in their natural habitat. At one point they came so close to me that I probably could’ve reached out my window and touched them. The experience was an amazing and tranquil one; reminiscent of simpler times and harmonious coexistence between man and beast.
B A D L A N D S
I didn’t realize how impressive the badlands are until I saw them in person. The steep canyons, dramatic landscape, and intimidating composition make for an impressive first impression. If you’re lucky, you can also catch animals here such as bighorn sheep and prairie dogs interacting in their natural environment. The only thing bad about the Badlands in this case was not being able to spend more time there!
M O U N T R U S H M O R E
The mountain sculpture was built in the early 1900s over a timespan of almost 15 years, and it towers over you with impressive size and detail. Mount Rushmore is a fascinating piece of American history that everyone should visit in their lifetime. To make the monument even more National Treasure-esque, there’s even talk of a secret chamber hidden in Mount Rushmore! Quick Harry Potter reference because I’m a nerd and I can’t help it—the Chamber of Secrets has indeed been opened again!
B L A C K H I L L S
The Black Hills make up a small but beautiful mountain range that stretches from South Dakota to Wyoming. The mountains are wonderful for camping, horseback riding, and hiking. Put the Black Hills on your list of getaway destinations offering peace, tranquility…and an excuse to off-road in your 4×4!
S U N S E T S
I saw some of the most jaw-dropping sunsets in South Dakota! It seemed like every night sky was painted with sherbet and sorbet and sprinkled with a dusting of stars. Camping in South Dakota was a completely refreshing experience, even with the 16 hour road trip.
Thanks for reading and keep on flying!
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