south dakota teepee

24 Hours In South Dakota

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by Nicole Diebold

April 17, 2024

3 minute read

Great Faces. Great Places. That’s the state slogan for South Dakota, the 40th state to join the Union back in 1889. With more than 77,000 square miles of sprawling land and shoreline, visitors need to hit the ground running with a plan, especially if they have only 24 hours to explore this unique state. There’s a lot here to experience, so we’ve created a list of the top things to do!

south dakota crazy horse

Crazy Horse Memorial

Learn the story behind the world’s largest, still-in-progress mountain sculpture. Try to see it now, before it’s complete! While you’re here, check out the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Cultural Center, the sculptor’s studio, and theaters.

south dakota mt rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Meet the presidents at this massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills. The famous monument’s granite faces (which are 60 feet high) depict U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

south dakota badlands

Badlands National Park

Travel the Badlands Loop Road past scenic lookouts. Home to vibrant colors and rock formations created by mineral deposits, the Badlands’ dramatic landscapes, steep canyons, and towering spires make for incredible photos. Bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs inhabit its sprawling grasslands.

south dakota deadwood


You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped onto the set of an old-fashioned Western. You can’t miss the chance to visit this historic town, where gold, gambling, and gunpowder were once the order of the day. There’s so much to do: the Adams Museum, dedicated to preserving Deadwood’s history; Kevin Costner’s Tatanka: Story of the Bison, sculptures depicting the relationship between bison and the Lakota; and the High Plains Heritage Center.

south dakota custer

Custer State Park

This wildlife reserve in the Black Hills is South Dakota's first and largest state park. As you explore its stunning, wide-open grounds, look for bighorn sheep and wandering elk. Take in the lush landscape, rocky outcrops, and grazing animals. Don’t miss the chance to take a buffalo safari, cruising deep into the park in an open-air 4x4 to search for roaming herds.

When you look at this list, it’s clear that you can’t actually do all these things in just 24 hours, but really, none of them should be missed! That’s why we created our Spotlights tours, which are designed to immerse you in one locale and show you what life is truly like there. You’ll discover the must-see attractions and the best-kept local secrets. Check out our Spotlight on South Dakota tour – it explores the history, beauty, and culture of this wonderful state and you’ll have plenty of time to really dig in and “do it all.” Enjoy!

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