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Reasons to Visit the Black Hills & Badlands of South Dakota - #BlackHillsBadlands #HiFromSD


We're big fans of the national parks and we share a few reasons why you should visit the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota!


Summer is fast approaching, and I’ve got my National Parks bucket list on the brain! With 417 parks in the U.S., it’s hard to know where to begin! I’m starting with a visit to the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, which has more than five million acres of forest and mountain lands. It’s kid and pet-friendly, it’s got rich Native American culture, many outdoor activities to partake in, casinos, spas, and two of the world’s most famous mountain carvings: Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore Memorial. Plus, it’s got a few unexpected elements to it. Here are just a few things to see and do on a visit to the Black Hills.


Visit the otherworldly Badlands: Striking geologic deposits here draw visitors from all around the globe. The park contains one of the world’s richest fossil beds, where ancient mammals once roamed. The park’s 244,000 acres now protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where a variety of wildlife live today.

Check out two of the world’s most famous mountain carvings: Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a mountain sculpture by artist Gutzon Borglum. The faces of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt represent 150 years of American history. The Memorial is located near Keystone in the Black Hills of South Dakota, roughly 30 miles from Rapid City.


The Crazy Horse Memorial is the world’s largest mountain carving, but it’s a work in progress. It will ultimately be 641 feet long and 563 feet high. While it was started in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, members of his family and their supporters continue to work on this massive statue. More than just a sculpture, the mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians.

See two of world’s largest caves: The Jewel Cave National Monument is the third longest cave in the world. With over 180 miles of mapped and surveyed passages, this underground wilderness has fragile formations and brilliant color. Its scientific wealth remains a mystery.

The Wind Cave National Park is one of America's oldest national parks. It’s one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to a unique mineral formation called boxwork, rarely found elsewhere.

Wildlife: Animal lovers will be in paradise at the sight of free roaming buffalo, bugling bull elks, bighorn sheep, begging burros, prairie dogs, deer, antelope and the rare black-footed ferret.


Outdoor recreation: These parks really are the site of every outdoor enthusiast’s dreams! The parks boast hiking and backpacking, ATV and off-roading, snowmobiling, trails, rock and ice climbing, canoeing, kayaking, wagon rides, horse camp, biking, water sports, golfing, hunting, geocaching, skiing and snowboarding as available outdoor activities (Whew!).

Arts & Culture: With nearby venues including the Journey Museum, Black Hills Playhouse, Rapid City Performing Arts Center, Dahl Arts Center, Black Hills Symphony, and Black Hills Bluegrass Association, you’ll be surprised by just how much diverse art you’ll find out there!

Casinos: Enjoy Vegas-style gambling at one of Deadwood’s 30 casinos. Even if you aren’t a big gambler, these historic buildings (complete with concerts, karaoke, daily re-enactments, coffee shops, and more) are something to see.

Entertainment & Sports: Check out the Sturgis Mustang Rally, the Black Hills Round Up & Rodeo, or the Rushmore Music Festival while you’re in town!

What are you most interested in seeing or doing when you visit the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota? 

Annmarie John
28 Comments
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28 comments:

  1. We visited South Dakota couple years ago and totally enjoyed every moment. From the beautiful Black hills to the monument. Would encourage everyone to visit.

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  2. What beautiful scenery! I'd love to see all the wildlife and visit the caves. I didn't realize how much there was to do in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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  3. When I was a little girl, my grandparents went to the black hills and badlands. I remember looking at their pictures. It looks like such a fun trip. I'd love to visit some day.

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  4. I did go once and oh man, it was so amazing. The problem was that we couldn't see Mt. Rushmore! It was all fogged in!! They were gracious and didn't have us pay but I always wonder when we're going back. We were on a cross country trip and had family to meet in Chicago.
    That said, I'll never forget the Black Hills.

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  5. I would love to visit! The wildlife would be amazing to see out in the open like that. We went to the Smoky Mountains a few years back and only caught a glimpse of a bear and a few deer.

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  6. I have been there a couple of times and I always had a lot of fun. I would love to take my son to see Mount Rushmore his favorite history is all about the presidents.

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  7. I would love to visit the Black Hills with the family. We've been to several different state parks, and we never get tired of nature's beauty.

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  8. I would definitely visit for all the wild live. I've never seen buffaloes in real life!

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  9. My husband has been wanting to visit Souh Dakota. He would love to see the Black Hills and Badlands.

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  10. I have got to get to Mount Rushmore and to see it in person. IT seems like such an exciting place.

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  11. I have never visited Mount Rushmore yet, but I want to go. My dad took a motorcycle trip out there and he had a great time.

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  12. What amazing sights to see! I should really visit the National Parks more often. They make for great adventures - especially in the summer!

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  13. I love nature and would love to visit South Dakota someday! It looks beautiful!

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  14. My father-in-law has visited this area and had enjoyed it.
    I am curious about this area and enjoyed reading your article.

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  15. I know that I really need to make it out to South Dakota sometime. I really want to see the monument but I am all for a little caving adventure as well.

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  16. ah I've never been and DYING to! This looks so pretty and what an iconic place - bucket list!

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  17. My brother in law just went here to visit and they had a great time! They went to Mt. Rushmore and some other place, but if we ever visit there i will keep these activities in mind!

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  18. I have to say that this is one of the only states I've never been to. However, it's one that's always been on the top of my list for many of the reasons you listed!

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  19. South Dakota is such a gorgeous place! I haven't been there in almost 20 years, but it was amazing!

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  20. I would love to visit South Dakota. It looks like such a pretty state. It is on my bucket list to visit there.

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  21. Never been to South Dakota and I've always wanted to visit Mount Rushmore. Thanks for the great post!

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  22. How amazing! I have always wanted to visit Mt. Rushmore, my husband went as a teenager and said it is amazing to see. I hope to take a trip with my kids there.

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  23. I adore American history, but still have made it to Mount Rushmore. Looks so incredible! Hope to take the kids there soon.

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  24. Never visited yet South Dakota but this is part of my bucket-list. Exploring the wildlife and the crazy mountain is what I will look forward.

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  25. We're an outdoors loving family and are always looking for somewhere new to visit. South Dakota sounds like a great place to travel to and how amazing would it be to see Mount Rushmore in person!

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  26. My first thought when seeing your pictures was: Richy Rich! haha. I love the article and cannot wait to actually visit South Dakota.

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  27. I would love to see mount Rushmore and that Buffalo looks pretty intimidating! Will definitely put this on my list of places to visit.

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  28. Lols. Me too I remember Richy Rich. Dakota looks like a great place to visit. I love to go there someday.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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