3 South Dakota Tourist Attractions Outside the Black HillsFor Fashion


The Black Hills of South Dakota are known throughout the country for monuments carved into mountains, pristine natural beauty, and shopping for trinkets such as a Black Hills silver anklet. However, it would be a mistake to assume, as some have in the past, that the Black Hills are all that South Dakota has to offer its guests. The Black Hills only occupy about one-tenth of South Dakota’s total area, and visitors can find plenty more to do throughout the rest of the state.

1. Badlands National Park

For marketing purposes, the Black Hills and the Badlands are often grouped together because of their proximity. However, while each offers unparalleled natural scenery, they are completely different in terms of geology. The Black Hills are covered by a lush evergreen forest, while Badlands National Park is an arid landscape with striated buttes shaped by erosion that display a stark, otherworldly beauty. As wonderful as the Black Hills are, some of the attractions there are kind of kitschy, but the Badlands allow for no such pretense.

2. Lake Oahe

If you want to go where the locals go for watersports, Lake Oahe in central South Dakota is the place to be. Lake Oahe is actually a reservoir formed by the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River, six miles north of the state capital of Pierre (pronounced “peer”). There are 51 recreation areas located along the shores, offering opportunities for swimming, water skiing, boating, fishing, and more.

3. National Music Museum

The National Music Museum is found on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion. The 15,000 instruments on display represent all different time periods, countries, and styles of music. You will see classical instruments from Europe alongside non-Western instruments from places like Africa and Asia and yes, even some electric guitars.

The Black Hills make for a wonderful vacation area and are well worth a visit, but there are things to see and do throughout the state. Most of South Dakota’s 56 state parks are actually located east of the Missouri River, on the opposite side of the state.

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