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South Dakota might be an overlooked state for many. But you will ignore visiting this wonderful state to your peril. Get ready to unravel natural beauty, quiet country escapes, rich history, family attractions, bustling cities and towns, and truly stunning outdoors. Book cheap flights to South Dakota to discover the land of southeast which is set to delight you with its freaky natural wonders, Native American folklore, iconic national monuments, and Wild West thrills!    

Top Cities to Visit in South Dakota

Pierre: South Dakota’s capital Pierre became famous during the hugely popular 1880s gold rush, which attracted a large number of prospectors who played a crucial role in establishing this little town. Now the capital of state, Pierre is attracting visitors with its historical attractions, such as the South Dakota State Capitol building, the National Guard Museum, the Flaming Fountain Memorial, the Upper Pierre Historic District, and the Cultural Heritage Center. Take your family to Oahe Dam and LaFramboise Island for picnic, biking, hiking and fishing. The SD Discovery Center and Aquarium is also a must visit. 

Keystone: Home to the acclaimed Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Presidential Trail, the city of Keystone is essentially built around tourism. Old Keystone is located along the Battle Creek River and is the original gold mining settlement. The one mile-long main strip of New Keystone attracts visitors with its restaurants, boutiques and family centered activities. Keystone is a great place for camping and enjoying outdoors.

Sioux Falls: South Dakota’s most diverse city Sioux Falls offers a fascinating mix of family activities, outdoor fun and cultural attractions to the visitors. With over 19 miles of trails at Falls Park surrounding the spectacular waterfalls on Big Sioux River in the heart of the city, biking and hiking enthusiasts make a beeline here. Sioux Falls is also packed with many historical and cultural attractions as well as recreational areas. The must-visit attractions here include the Great Plains Zoo, the Delbridge Museum of Natural History, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Pavilion of Arts, the USS South Dakota Battleship Museum, the Pettigrew Home and Museum, Terrace Park and Great Bear Recreational Park.

Rapid City: Home to some of the most famous attractions in South Dakota, Rapid City attracts tourists in large numbers with the historical Mount Rushmore National Monument and Badlands National Park. Board the City View Trolley to get an insight about the city through a narrated tour. You will also enjoy taking the Rapid City Historic District Tour during which you will discover a series of life-size bronze statues of the nation’s former presidents in the City of Presidents in Downtown. Other attractions worth checking out in Rapid City include Storybook Island, the Journey Museum, Dinosaur Park, APEX Gallery, Art Alley, and the Dahl Arts Center.

Aberdeen: Visitors are attracted to Aberdeen with its small-town Mid-Western charm. There are plenty of activities for people of all ages in this wonderful place. Take your kids for unlimited fun at Wylie Park, where they will get entertained with attractions like the Aberdeen Aquatic Center, the Land of Oz, and Storybook Land. Learn about South Dakota’s history with a visit to the unique Red Cross Pheasant Canteen, the Highlands Historic District, the Dacotah Prairie Museum, Lloyd Historic District, and the Hagerty. Nature lovers will get attracted to the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge for spotting wildlife, biking and hiking.  

Best Time to Visit South Dakota

South Dakota is a year-round destination and can be visited any time. Most tourists fly to South Dakota during the summer season from May to October because of pleasant, warm temperatures and enjoying great outdoor recreation such as boating, fishing, biking and hiking. The cold and snow also makes the state a pure heaven for winter sports enthusiasts. Late spring and early summer are also perfect times for visiting the state. Plan a vacation in September and October to enjoy vibrant fall foliage and migrating wildlife.

Best Things to See and Do in South Dakota

South Dakota, located in the center of the USA, offers rugged natural beauty, urban attractions, delicious food, great outdoors and plenty of fun things to do. It’s no wonder that adventurers of all ages and interests are attracted to a wonderful state where you can relax and enjoy a good life. Make group flight reservations to visit South Dakota with your family and friends to enjoy all that this awesome place has to offer.

  • Explore the Black Hills National Forest with senior travel deals. This 1.25-million-acre ponderosa pine forest and grassland prairie covering much of southwest part of South Dakota and parts of Wyoming is a great place to discover rare natural beauty, family-friendly attractions, charming small towns and national monuments. The prime activities worth enjoying here include hiking, fishing and camping
  • Visit the historical Mount Rushmore National Monument, which is the most prominent attraction for tourists in South Dakota. The 60-foot faces of four American Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt have been carved into the side of the mountain. The carving was started in 1927 and finally completed in 1991. The iconic carving in the Black Hills is an impressive 5,725 feet tall above sea level. A patriotic ceremony takes place at the monument in the evening with brilliant illumination
  • Think about spending a day or two at South Dakota’s first and largest state park in Keystone Custer State Park to see the wildlife, which is a major attraction here. Enjoy a drive on the bucolic Wildlife Loop Road to see herds of buffalo grazing and roaming freely across the prairie. Consider visiting the park in September to see a herd of 1,500 buffalo rounded up at the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival every year. The park also offers trails for horseback riding, biking and hiking. The park is home to several campgrounds hosting tourists from around the world
  • Get fascinated with a large number of Columbian mammoth bones at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, where more than 60 mammoths were discovered. The partially uncovered mammoth bones are on display in a covered, climate-controlled building. Tourists visiting here can take guided tours to see the excavation process. Researchers and students should take advantage of student flight discount to attend Junior and Advanced Palaeontology Classes held at the site 
  • See freaky natural wonders at the Badlands National Park spread in nearly a quarter million acres, located about 60 miles east of Rapid City. Formerly home to rhinos and sabre-tooth cats, the park is a great place to see black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, coyotes, pronghorn, whitetail deer, mule and bison. The Badlands National Park is one of the most scenic parks in South Dakota prominently featuring spires, pinnacles, canyons and a maze of buttes. Visit in July to attend the Badlands Astronomy Festival hosted every year      

Airlines to South Dakota

American Airlines: Top routes served by American Airlines from South Dakota include Phoenix (PHX), Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA), San Antonio (SAT) and Las Vegas (LAS)
Delta Airlines: Top routes served by Delta Airlines from South Dakota include Atlanta (ATL), Orlando (MCO), Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO) and Dallas (DFW)
Frontier Airlines: Top routes served by Frontier Airlines from South Dakota include Denver (DEN), Phoenix (PHX), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO)
United Airlines: Top routes served by United Airlines from South Dakota include Chicago (ORD), Phoenix (PHX), Palm Springs (PSP), Dallas (DFW) and Boston (BOS)
Allegiant Air: Top routes served by Allegiant Air from South Dakota include Nashville (BNA), Las Vegas (LAS), Punta Gorda (PGD), Daytona Beach (SFB) and Phoenix (IWA)

Frequently Asked Questions

South Dakota is served by two largest airports – Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) and Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP). Roundtrip flights to South Dakota mostly arrive at Sioux Falls through airlines such as Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Allegiant Air and United Airlines. FSD gets most flights from Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Las Vegas. However, RAP is served with direct flights from San Francisco, Newark, Houston and Charlotte.

Apart from the state’s two busiest airports at Sioux Falls and Rapid City, you can fly to South Dakota cheaper by arriving at one of the three domestic airports, including Pierre Regional Airport (PIR), Aberdeen Regional Airport (ABR) and Watertown Regional Airport (ATY). These three airports have limited options of flights and destinations. Other airports being operated under the subsidized Essential Air Service program include Brookings Regional Airport and Huron Regional Airport. 

Major airlines serving South Dakota with roundtrip and one way flights include United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Allegiant Air. These airlines serve six cities in the state such as Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Pierre, Huron, Aberdeen and Watertown.   

When you plan to buy airline tickets to South Dakota, look forward to getting connected to the state through main gateway cities such as Salt Lake City, Phoenix-Mesa, Orlando Sanford, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Houston, Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth, Cincinnati and Chicago.

You can look forward to getting best airfare at low prices on tickets to South Dakota when booking at least 26 days in advance before planned departure date. If you book last minute flights a fortnight or so closer to departure date then your travel will be quite expensive.

Rapid City is the most popular destination where tourists mostly visit in South Dakota. Other destinations which are a must visit in the state include Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Pierre and Watertown.

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