From the Badlands to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse to Custer State Park, the Black Hills to the Corn Palace, South Dakota is an underrated American treasure
South Dakota just may be the most underrated state in the nation.
If pressed, some people might be able to come up with the fact that this is the state where they keep those presidential noggins on Mt. Rushmore.
Beyond that, South Dakota suffers as the Rodney Dangerfield of the American West: it don't get no repsect, I tells ya, no respect at all.
I've been an unabashed South Dakota booster since I was 17 years old.
During a cross-country road trip with my buddies, I became a South Dakota fan after one night of camping in Badlands National Park, where just before midnight I sat atop a mesa and watched two distant storms dance across the landscape toward one another, tickling the ground with tendrils of lightning.
Then there's the wildlife extravaganza of Custer State Park; the chance to don an lighted helmet and spend hours crawling around Wind Cave on a wild cave tour; the Wild West legacy of Deadwood and the Black Hills, the wonderful kitsch of Wall Drug, the Native American history at such storied sites as Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and, of course, the world-famous Corn Palace of Mitchell, South Dakota.
South Dakota is well worth a day or two of your time.