21 Famous South Dakota Monuments and Landmarks [Must Visit]

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Landmarks in South Dakota offer thrilling experiences, beautiful scenery, and iconic landscapes. The state is immersed in history with great significance in the culture and history of Native Americans.

Combining fun, adventure, and education, you can explore everything that makes this state enjoyable at these famous South Dakota monuments and landmarks.

Most Famous South Dakota Monument

Mount Rushmore National Memorial 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in South Dakota. It is also one of the most visited national monuments.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a 60-foot sculpture of four great American past presidents carved into a Mountain. The sculptures depict and are a tribute to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

It is also known as America’s shrine of democracy because it symbolizes the ideals of freedom and democracy. This fascinating South Dakota monument tells the story of America’s heritage, growth, development, and history.

At this meaningful landmark, there is a night ceremony where they light the statues. It is truly an enjoyable experience. The ceremony includes a film showing the history of the presidents and other mind-boggling activities.

You will find plenty of amenities at this destination including an outdoor amphitheater, restaurants, restrooms, ranger-guided tours, and an excellent gift shop.

Visit Mount Rushmore to experience patriotism at its best. Every moment is worthwhile at the iconic landmarks of South Dakota.

Famous South Dakota Monuments

Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial unquestionably makes the list of famous monuments in South Dakota.

This is a mountain monument that depicts the face of the Oglala Lakota warrior, known as Crazy Horse. It is also the world’s largest monument and the world’s most giant mountain carving in progress.  

This site attracts thousands of people yearly. Its mission is to protect and preserve the culture and traditions of the native North American Indians. The Crazy Horse Memorial makes for an unforgettable experience.

What makes this an attractive destination is the fascinating history behind the carving. Visit to find out the incredible history behind this gigantic monument and why it is among the famous South Dakota landmarks.  

Jewel Cave National Monument  

This South Dakota National monument contains the jewel cave, named after the jewels lining its walls. It is said to be the third-largest cave in the world.

Access to this cave is by ranger-guided tours only, and we recommend you make reservations before visiting this destination.

The Jewel Cave National Monument also includes a 1,219-acre park with various nature trails where you can take pleasant strolls to enjoy the view of the forest.

There are amenities such as a visitor’s center, a picnic area, and the historic area. Bring along a comfortable pair of hiking shoes when visiting this spectacular site.

Devil’s Tower National Monument 

Among the famous national monuments in South Dakota is Devil’s Tower. The Tower is a magnificent geologic feature rising to 5,112 feet skyward.

It is considered sacred by the natives and indigenous people. Devil’s Tower is also known to the locals as the bear lodge.

The national monument is an intriguing sight and a rock climber’s delight. In fact, the markings on the Tower are the basis for several Native American legends.

Devil’s Tower National Monument has several trails where visitors can hike and enjoy up-close views of the forest and nature. This fascinating destination offers ranger programs, tour exhibits, and summer cultural program series.

The Dignity of Earth and Sky 

Overlooking the Missouri river, this 50-foot statue is a tribute to the women of the Native American culture. It serves as an enduring symbol of shared belief and is one of the more iconic monuments in South Dakota

Dignity is a steel statue of a woman in a plains-style dress receiving a star quilt. The quilt, which features 128 steel blue diamond shapes, symbolizes respect and honor in the Native American culture.

It’s an attractive area to enjoy an afternoon picnic, take your dog on a lovely stroll, or go camping or hiking. The views at Dignity make it among the impressive landmarks in South Dakota.

Famous Sioux Falls Landmarks, South Dakota 

Falls Park

A beautiful and serene 128-acre park, with the big Sioux river flowing through it. Falls Park is one of the must-see landmarks in South Dakota if you are visiting Sioux falls. It is a lovely place for walking, picnicking, relaxing, and having an excellent time enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Within the park are a gift shop, a café, an observation tower, and information plaques detailing the town’s history. A sidewalk encompasses the park’s entire length, providing great views of the waterfall in all directions and benches where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

It is no wonder why Falls Park is a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History are one of the most spectacular landmarks in South Dakota to visit. This destination offers close-up views of animals you may not find in regular zoos.

The Great Plains Zoo is a 45-acre zoo, home to more than 1000 animals, including endangered species. The zoo is home to rhinos, bears, tigers, primates, giraffes, snow monkeys, and more. It is a fun and educational place to spend family time.

The zoo is spacious and clean and provides amenities such as a restaurant and restrooms for a full day’s exploration.

Butterfly House and Aquarium

Butterfly House and Aquarium is an educational and beautiful site to visit. It is a non-profit organization suitable for people of all ages.

The Butterfly House and Aquarium exhibit over 800 free-flying butterflies from different parts of the world and exotic sea creatures representing hundreds of species. Here, you can also enjoy hands-on experience in the pacific tide pool and your kids for an incredible and interactive time.

This is among the most exciting landmarks in South Dakota with its unique experience. Visit this spectacular site to get a feel of a rainforest in the middle of Sioux falls.

Famous Rapid City Landmarks, South Dakota 

Custer State Park

Custer State Park is an incredible destination amongst South Dakota landmarks if you love nature. The park encompasses over 70,000 acres of land in the black hills; it is one of the largest parks in the US.

The destination is also home to wildlife, including buffalos, pronghorn antelopes, prairie dogs, donkeys, and many more. There is so much to do and experience at Custer State Park from picturesque scenery to abundant wildlife, and a beautiful lake.

The park also offers amenities such as boat ramps, campgrounds, camping cabins, trails, and accessible features. You can rock climb, fish, swim, bike, hike, boat, or bird watch. Whatever your preference, Custer park has something for you.

Badlands National Park

What makes this site a popular landmark in South Dakota is its dramatic landscapes and abundant, diverse wildlife.

The Badlands National Park boasts a labyrinth of canyons, pinnacles, and buttes. The other-worldly landscape is also excellent for hiking, spotting wildlife, fossil hunting, and camping.

It is a fantastic place to learn about the Native American Lakota people- members of the Oglala tribe. The white river visitors center provides and exhibits information about the history and culture of the Lakota people, and visitors can experience cultural demonstrations.

Star gazing is another popular activity at this fascinating South Dakota landmark. The night sky is so dark in the park, allowing visitors to view the stars and constellations through telescopes provided in the park.

Experience this spectacular destination with breathtaking views and scenery. You cannot help but fall in love with it.

Reptile Gardens 

Reptile Gardens is cited in the Guinness book of world records for being the largest reptile zoo with the most species and subspecies of reptiles in the world.

There isn’t a doubt why this destination is one of the most fascinating landmarks in south Dakota. It is a must-see attraction. Reptile Gardens exhibit a charming botanical garden, a prairie dog town, birds of prey and tropical birds, and giant tortoises.

This park is simply a stunning place to visit. Amenities include on site-dining, free Wi-Fi, a playground, picnic tables, a gift shop, and an ATM. The park also provides extras for disabled people, including a wheelchair-sitting area.  

Dinosaur Park

The Dinosaur Park is a tourist attraction in Rapid City and one of the renowned South Dakota landmarks. The park, established in 1936, contains seven dinosaur sculptures overlooking the city.

It makes for a worthwhile visit when in South Dakota, particularly for some great family time. The park is dog friendly and offers amenities like a visitor’s center and a gift shop. It is a fun place for kids and an excellent place to take pictures. Dinosaur Park also offers stunning views of the city.

Natural Landmarks In South Dakota 

Wind Cave

It is one of the oldest and longest caves in the world, speculated to be at least 40 million years old. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it is among the impressive and iconic natural landmarks in South Dakota.

Wind Cave is within the Wind Cave National Park, one of 5th oldest national parks in the US. It is home to the largest concentration of rare and uniquely formed boxwork.

This National park has an extensive land area for exploring, hiking trails, driving loops, and wildlife, including elk and bison.

All the caves are only accessible through ranger-guided tours. The trails are well maintained, with proper lighting. Visit this spectacular South Dakota landmark to experience nature at its finest.

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

Spearfish Canyon is a 19-mile highway in black hills surrounded by beautiful scenery, lush forests, streams, waterfalls, and wildlife. The Spearfish Canyon has several hiking trails to enjoy pleasant walks to view the scenery and wildlife.

This peculiar destination has a calm ambiance. It is peaceful and relaxing. If you are looking for the perfect location to unwind, Spearfish Canyon is ideal. It is one of the most comfortable and exciting landmarks in South Dakota.

There are pleasant restaurants and water parks surrounding the area. The Canyon makes for a remarkable destination.

Missouri River

The Missouri River is one of the prominent landmarks in South Dakota. Considered the fourth most extended river system in the world, the river spans 2,341 miles and passes through South Dakota.

The Missouri River and its surrounding areas serve as outdoor recreation. A trip to South Dakota is incomplete without visiting it. There are three parks along the river, Lewis and Clark, Niobrara State Park, and Ponca State Park. You can fish, camp, hike, birdwatch, canoe or kayak, boat, and hunt at these locations.

For a relaxing trip, you can also enjoy the scenic views of the river from the comfort of your car.

Palisade State Park

Palisade State Park features impressive rock formations and scenic views. This park is relatively small compared to other parks in South Dakota.

With a land area of 157 acres, Palisade park is the second smallest park in South Dakota. It is a popular destination for photographers, hikers, rock climbers, and campers. The split rock creek flows through the length of the park.

At this spectacular South Dakota landmark, you can relax and enjoy the scenic views of the forest, cliffs, and creek.

Other Landmarks In South Dakota 

Bear Country USA

Bear Country USA is a wildlife park in the Black Hills that features the world’s most extensive collection of privately owned black bears.

This wildlife park also exhibits wolves, reindeer, elk, buffalo, and other wildlife. The Bear Country USA is open from April through November. This park provides visitors with a wonderfully enjoyable and educational wildlife experience, making it one of the unique landmarks in South Dakota.

The Bear Country USA provides amenities such as a gift shop and a dining area. This spectacular destination allows you to see animals that aren’t regularly in the zoo.

The Mammoth Site

The Mammoth Site is one of the famous South Dakota landmarks in Hot Springs. It is an active paleontological site where you will find mammoth remains on site.

This is the world’s largest Columbian mammoth exhibit. The curious attraction is open all year round and provides hands-on activities and educational family experiences.

Sixty-one mammoths were discovered at the mammoth site, including two woolly mammoths. The site offers a 30-minute guided tour to visitors and a 3D theater, and you can also see the exhibit hall where they prepare the fossils. 

The World’s Only Corn Palace

The World’s Only Corn Palace is a popular tourist attraction in Mitchell. This multipurpose facility and sports venue was built in the city to prove the healthiness of South Dakota’s agricultural climate.

The building is one of a kind. Covering its walls are intricate designs made with natural grasses and different shades and colors of corn. It is redecorated yearly with new corn and grasses to exhibit a new theme.

The auditorium serves as a meeting place and performing venue. Here you can view folk art and corn art. The corn palace gift shop is right across the street, and admission into the corn palace is free. Make a stop at one of the awe-inspiring landmarks in South Dakota.

1880 Train- Hill City Depot

The 1880 Train is a steam engine train that provides a relaxing experience and scenic rides. If you are into good old-fashioned fun, the 1880 Train is perfect. It takes you back to the past.

The train offers a real train experience and informative rides; it is excellent for family fun. You’ll want to ride the train more than once because of the experience it gives.

This is one of the historical places in South Dakota. The train offers a fun and adventure-filled experience and gorgeous views of the Black Hills.

Discovering More South Dakota Landmarks 

South Dakota is a notable state, rich in history. If you dive deeper, you’ll find that most of the landmarks in South Dakota are connected to its history. The Midwestern state can appeal to various travelers, from its iconic landscape to other historical and artificial features.

Discovering South Dakota monuments and landmarks is about keeping an open mind and finding the fun in every experience.


PIN THESE LANDMARKS AND MONUMENTS IN SOUTH DAKOTA!

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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