To see a true item of American beauty and also some iconic landmarks, walk north ~ above a road expedition through south Dakota. This state lies best in the middle of the country and its lack of significant cities, significant sports teams, and people, method many tourists never even think around going there. The is a pity, because South Dakota is full of organic beauty, quite people, hearty food, and also an ingrained indigenous American culture.

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How perform I recognize so much around this component of the unified States? I grew up here. Recently my husband and also I make the journey from Minneapolis every the means west to the black Hills of south Dakota, whereby Mount Rushmore is located. All in all, this is about 10 hrs of driving over 600 miles yet there are plenty of areas to protect against along the means for breaks, to remain overnight, or to take some photos. If friend fly into the Minneapolis-St. Paul worldwide Airport that is basic to choose up her rental vehicle from the branch in ~ the vehicle rental center. After that, it is basic to drive into the city or out of town to your destination. Here I ring up several of the interesting things come see and also do on her drive from Minneapolis to mountain Rushmore.

South Dakota Road pilgrimage Route

Driving TimeDistance
10 Hours and also 20 Minutes
650 miles

Stop 1: Minneapolis

We fight the roadway after security the night in Minneapolis. This tiny city is residence to a thriving music scene, great restaurants and craft beer and plenty of locations to gain outdoor activities. If you go in the summer you have the right to ride a bike approximately one the the many lakes in and near the city, or follow me the Mississippi River. The weather was an ext winter-like as soon as we were visiting, so we stuck to indoor activities. If you space a pan of Prince, you can visit his Paisley Park estate and studio, which has actually been turned into a museum of sorts. If the weather is nice, the walker Art facility in the Lowry Hill ar has both indoor galleries of modern-day art and a renowned sculpture garden.


An aerial watch of downtown Minneapolis and also the Mississippi River

Stop 2: Minneapolis to Mitchell, SD

This part of the drive takes roughly 4 hours, depending on which course you take. We took the highway route, although the is faster and an ext straightforward to take it Interstate 35 southern to I-90 West. Girlfriend will view a lot of small towns and farmland on this section of the drive, and stopping in ~ a little town restaurant is a an excellent way come eat some regional food and also people clock the locals. Whichever means you go you will certainly pass with Sioux Falls, the biggest city in southern Dakota. This is a great place to stop for any shopping needs, and be certain to take it a side pilgrimage to the actual waterfalls from i m sorry the city gets its name.

One tip: friend will uncover surprisingly authentic mexico food here, and also in numerous cities in the region, as result of the civilization who have actually come here from Mexico come work.


Farmland external of Sioux Falls

Stop 3: The Corn Palace

Mitchell is around an hour west top top I-90 indigenous Sioux Falls and is one of the last locations to prevent for a location to sleep or to obtain something to eat prior to continuing to mountain Rushmore. And also as friend will view from the billboards dotting the interstate, that is likewise home of the World’s only Corn Palace. Very first things first: no, this is no a real royal residence in the europe sense. It’s much more like a city arena wherein basketball games and concerts take it place. You can go inside for totally free and look in ~ some historic photos or visit the gift shop throughout the street. The external is extended in murals make from various colors of corn cobs and other grains, v the theme changing each year. In other places in Mitchell is the primitive Indian Village, on the edge of Lake Mitchell, whereby you deserve to view an active archaeological dig of a previous Native American settlement.


The changing of the murals is underway at the World’s just Corn Palace

Stop 4: The Missouri River

A protect against at the rest stop overlooking the Missouri River, or in the town of Chamberlain, is highly recommended before you continue on your journey. Locations to eat or to fill your auto with gas room not so numerous in the 2 hours between here and also Highway 240, where you have the right to drive south to Badlands nationwide Park. Plus, the watch over the river valley is good and the bathrooms space free. At the rest prevent you have the right to see the sculpture of a indigenous American woman named Dignity, unfurling she star quilt. The sculpture is a nod to the culture of the Lakota and Dakota tribes of the region.


A sculpture referred to as Dignity overlooks the Missouri River

Stop 5: The Badlands

The formations that consist of Badlands national Park are few of the most-unexpected sights to view in southern Dakota. After driving for hours through the level eastern part of the state, the western fifty percent is a different animal. In bespeak to obtain here, follow the signs on I-90 and also take the Highway 240 loop road that goes v the park. You will should buy a park pass, yet after that you are cost-free to drive through, pull off and take photos, and also even walk hiking in allowed areas. This is additionally a good spot to see some wildlife, with bighorn sheep, buffalo, and also prairie dog making their dwellings within the park. Once the weather is hot, look out for rattlesnakes, which also live right here and try their ideal to blend in through the surroundings.


Some the the distinctive rock formations viewed in Badlands national Park

Stop 6: wall surface Drug

On the journey through south Dakota you will certainly see approximately 1 million indications for this traveler attraction advertising complimentary ice water. You will certainly find wall surface Drug in the city of Wall, just after obtaining done v the Highway 240 Badlands loop. The sprawling complicated started off together an actual pharmacy in 1931 but now is a place to protect against for some photos or buy part moccasins. I would extremely recommend protecting against for a bite in the sprawling cafeteria-style dining room where you deserve to buy homemade pie and freshly make donuts.


The exterior of wall surface Drug

Stop 7: Custer State Park

After wall Drug, the is about an hour-and-a-half drive to the black color Hills nationwide Forest and also Mount Rushmore. You will drive v the suburbs of rapid City, the second-largest city in south Dakota, no issue where you are are remaining in the black Hills. This is a good jumping-off point for all that the area needs to offer, including hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter, and much more tourist attractions than have the right to be detailed here. We remained in a cabin in Custer State Park, located simply south of mountain Rushmore. There was early snowfall while us were there, so the roadways were a little treacherous, but the evergreen trees to be beautiful dusted v snow. There are several lakes within the park that deserve to be fully enjoyed during warmer months, choose Legion Lake below.


Legion Lake in Custer State Park

Stop 8: mountain Rushmore

If you acquire lost trying to discover Mount Rushmore, just follow the tourism buses. The immensely well-known Mount Rushmore national Monument is located outside of the little town of Keystone in the black color Hills national Forest. It is complimentary to visit, although girlfriend do have to pay because that parking. The monument showing the U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, thomas Jefferson, and also Theodore Roosevelt was conceived by the artist Gutzon Borglum and he and also his son made that a reality. It to be “carved” making use of dynamite and also by hand and also finished in 1941. Adjacent is an additional rock carving the a famous Native American chief, stunner Horse, the is just partially completed. Both mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse have actually theaters that present videos of exactly how the carvings to be done, and it is a an excellent change to either sit in air air conditioning or obtain out of the cold.


Mount Rushmore on a snowy day

Bonus Stop: Wildlife Safari

One of the finest parts the the pilgrimage was one open-air Jeep wildlife safari with Custer State Park. The weather was a bit colder than expected, but we survived the 2-hour journey to look at for every one of the animals that live in the park. You deserve to see (among countless other creatures) antelope, prairie dogs, buffalo, and also the an extremely friendly bus that every roam freely. You can drive the wildlife loop the the park yourself, however our guide on the safari, a park ranger, had the ability to go to locations on and also off roadway that the public cannot access. We had to journey for a while to view a herd the buffalo, however it was worth it.


One that the friendly burros in Custer State Park

If you plan to visit southern Dakota because that the first time, walk in late spring or in September. The summer weather have the right to be an extremely hot and also humid, return in the black Hills there are plenty of lakes and also streams come cool off in. Over there will additionally be under crowds in the Badlands and also Mount Rushmore, as well as in the black color Hills in general. And don’t it is in surprised if human being are an extremely talkative. That is simply the south Dakota friendliness in action.

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Written through Andrea Heisinger, Junior digital Editor for the united state website. She actually had her graduation consciousness in the World’s only Corn Palace.