South Dakota

Where the Badlands are a good thing

In South Dakota, cowboys still wrangle herds of buffalo, and only the occasional small town interrupts the expansive views of grasslands, forests and rivers. All the while, former U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt keep watch over the landscape from Mount Rushmore National Monument.

South Dakota lies south of North Dakota on the westernmost edge of the Midwest region. The Missouri River divides the state in half from north to south and offers plenty of opportunities to boat and fish. The number of towns begins to drop and the wild landscape takes over the farther west you go. South Dakota’s crown jewel is Badlands National Park, where remarkable striated rocks interrupt the otherwise flat plains. You can explore the park on foot or by bike (but be prepared for hot midday temperatures in summer and freezing weather in winter).