The natural beauty and rich history of South Dakota parks are displayed in the national and state parks located throughout the state. There are seven national parks and roughly 60 state park and recreation areas in South Dakota. While the most well-known parks might be Mount Rushmore National Memorial or Custer State Park, there is a great variety of parks and recreation areas throughout the state that each offer their own unique breathtaking scenery and recreation opportunities.
Picturesque national parks, monuments, and historical sites draw millions of visitors to South Dakota each year. The National Parks of South Dakota are a mecca to travelers in search of unique vacationing experiences. Travelers to these scenic outdoor areas are treated to unique geologic formations, pristine water reservoirs, and an abundance of outdoor recreational activities.
To learn more about the national parks visit the national parks page.
The state parks of South Dakota provide travelers with some of the most breathtaking scenery, rich history, and fantastic water and winter recreation opportunities in the United States. With 54 state parks and recreation areas, there are pristine lakes for fishing, swimming and sailing; hiking and biking trails; rivers for kayaking and canoeing; and forts for exploring. Regardless of which region you visit, there is sure to be a thriving state park nearby.
To learn more about the state parks of South Dakota visit the state parks page.
POPULAR State Parks
South Dakota is loaded with excellent state parks located throughout the state. Below are some of the more popular parks located in the state.
South Dakota National Parks
The majestic granite sculpture of Mount Rushmore commemorates four powerful presidents who helped shape our nation: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
Each year, more than 3 million travelers visit South Dakota’s top attraction.
Standing on a windswept patch of western South Dakota prairie and looking down into a hole at the cone of a missile as motorists zoom past on nearby Interstate 90.
The complex, one of six located in the central United States, was built as a deterrent to a nuclear first strike by the Soviet Union.
One of the most popular attractions in western South Dakota, the Badlands National Park provides its visitors dazzling views of beautiful, striking rock-like formations.
The buttes, pinnacles, and spires formed by winds and glacial erosion more than 35 million years ago.
The only portion of the Missouri River left unaltered by channels or dams can be found on the border between South Dakota and Nebraska at the Missouri National Recreational River.
The Missouri National Recreational River contains 100 miles of free-flowing waters and is an excellent area for enjoying many outdoor activities.
Wind Cave National Park, located near Hot Springs, South Dakota, was the first cave in the world to receive National Park status.
To date, more than 128 miles have been mapped at Wind Cave, designating it the third longest cave in the United States and the fourth longest in the world. It's revered for it's "boxwork" formations.
Nestled in the Black Hills, just west of Custer, lies a hidden treasure by the name of Jewel Cave. A staggering 200 miles of mapped passageways, Jewel Cave, is currently the second longest cave system in the world and the deepest cave system in the Black Hills area.
It is located roughly 13 miles west of Custer, SD.