South Dakota Road Trips

By Theresa L. Goodrich, Alicia Underlee Nelson, and Roxie Yonkey

The state of South Dakota is an intriguing and sparsely populated package of breathtaking scenery, outdoor adventures, bustling cities, and acres of farmland and ranches. There are natural wonders like glacial lakes, the Badlands, the Black Hills, and Jewel and Wind Caves, and the man-made wonders of Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and the World’s Only Corn Palace.

It’s a place of geological, archaeological, and living history. Named for the Lakota and Dakota peoples, the state is home to nine Native American tribes and has several important cultural sites. Lewis and Clark journeyed along the Missouri River, followed by settlers and homesteaders who forged their way west, many of whom chose to stake their claims.

We’ve chosen four scenic drives through this complex state, and they’re designed to give you a taste of everything it has to offer. Whether you want to experience natural beauty, cultural history, or modern day adventures, you’re sure to find it in South Dakota.

South Dakota entered the Union in 1889.  Its official nickname is the Mt. Rushmore State. Before that nickname became official in 1992, the state was nicknamed the Sunshine State.

South Dakota Road Trips

  1. Black Hills Road Trip
  2. Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway
  3. Eastern Arts and Culture
  4. Native American National and State Scenic Byway

South Dakota Websites

Black Hills Road Trip

  • Best Western Ramkota Hotel, 
  • Lake Park Campground and Cottages,
  • Rapid City Black Hills KOA,
  • Best Western Black Hills Lodge,
  • Elkhorn Ridge Resort,
  • The City of Presidents,
  • Armadillo’s Ice Cream Shoppe,
  • Firehouse Brewing Co,
  • South Dakota Air & Space Museum,
  • Mt. Rushmore National Memorial,
  • Crazy Horse Memorial,
  • 1880 Train,
  • Highway 386 Wine Trail,
  • Pactola Reservoir,
  • Grapes & Grinds,
  • Custer State Park Scenic Drives,
  • Sylvan Lake Lodge, 
  • Moonlight Ridge,
  • Black Elk Peak Loop,
  • Jewel Cave National Monument,
  • Wind Cave National Park,
  • Bear Butte State Park,
  • Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame,
  • Knuckle Saloon,
  • Old Fort Meade Museum,
  • Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center,
  • George S. Mickelson Trail, 
  • Homestake Trail,
  • Deadwood,
  • Berg Jewelers,
  • Lou Lou’s Bombdiggity’s,
  • Mt. Roosevelt Trail,
  • Spearfish Canyon, .
  • Termespheres Gallery,
  • Western Heritage Center,
  • Dough Trader Pizza,
  • Tri-State Museum,
  • Center of the Nation Monument,

Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway

  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site,
  • Prairie Homestead,
  • Badlands National Park,

Eastern Arts and Culture

Native American National and State Scenic Byway