8 days in South Dakota Itinerary

8 days in South Dakota Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Dakota itinerary planner

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Make it your trip
Fly
1
Rapid City
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Badlands National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Sioux Falls
— 2 nights
Fly

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Rapid City

— 3 nights

Gateway to the Black Hills

South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
Venture out of the city with trips to Custer (Wildlife Loop Road, Custer State Park, &more), Crazy Horse Memorial (in Crazy Horse) and Keystone (Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Presidential Trail). There's lots more to do: identify plant and animal life at Bear Country USA, view the masterpieces at Suzie Cappa Art Center, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Reptile Gardens, and stop by Alex Johnson Mercantile.

To see ratings, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Rapid City travel planner.

Chattanooga to Rapid City is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Chattanooga to Rapid City, you'll gain 2 hours due to the time zone difference. Plan for slightly colder temperatures traveling from Chattanooga in May, with highs in Rapid City at 65°F and lows at 45°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Badlands National Park.

Things to do in Rapid City

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Scenic Drive

Side Trips

Badlands National Park

— 2 nights
Although Badlands National Park's name might not be the most inviting, its landscape of pinnacles, eroded buttes, spires, and an expansive, pristine mixed-grass prairie remain enticing.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Wed): explore the striking landscape at Yellow Mounds Overlook, explore the striking landscape at Badlands Wall, then explore and take pictures at Loop Road, then explore the striking landscape at Panorama Point Overlook, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Big Badlands Overlook. On the 6th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Badlands National Park.

For reviews, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Badlands National Park day trip planning site.

Traveling by car from Rapid City to Badlands National Park takes an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Expect a daytime high around 70°F in May, and nighttime lows around 42°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) early enough to drive to Sioux Falls.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks · Nature · Scenic Drive · Outdoors

Side Trip

Sioux Falls

— 2 nights
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota. On the 7th (Fri), pause for some serene contemplation at St. Joseph Cathedral, then explore the engaging exhibits at Stockyards Ag Experience, then walk around Falls Park, and finally hike along Sioux Falls Bike Trails. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: don't miss a visit to Michelangelo's David replica and then trek along SculptureWalk & Arc of Dreams Monument.

To find maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Sioux Falls trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Badlands National Park to Sioux Falls takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of taxi and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Badlands National Park to Sioux Falls is 1 hour. In May in Sioux Falls, expect temperatures between 69°F during the day and 46°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Sat) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in Sioux Falls

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Historic Sites

South Dakota travel guide

4.2
National Parks · Scenic Drive · Monuments
The State of Great Faces and Great Places
Famous for the cliffside monuments of Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial, South Dakota is a land of Old West history, American Indian culture, and impressive natural wonders. Get to know the state's diverse and breathtaking landscape with a trip through Custer National Park, with a herd of 1,300 free-roaming bison, or by traversing the dramatic peaks of Badlands National Park near the Black Hills. Allow time in your itinerary to visit the state's largest city, Sioux Falls, for shopping, dining, and entertainment options, as well as a number of museums and historical attractions.