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Kayaking in Palisades Park
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Marveling at the sight of Sioux Falls in Falls Park
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Pitching in during the corn harvest
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The cheerful façade of The Corn Palace at night
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Dancers at Czech Days festival in Tabor
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Riding in a covered wagon at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead in De Smet
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  • States:
    South Dakota

It's simply South Dakota - and so much more.

Natural beauty. Homespun charm. Rural and Native American heritage. Ethnic festivals. Community events. Family attractions. Shopping and foodie paradise. Plus, South Dakota’s largest city, Sioux Falls, named for the falls of the Big Sioux River. Your real South Dakota adventure begins here.

Fun in the State Parks

Outdoor culture is a way of life in southeast South Dakota, which showcases its unique natural features in several state parks. At Palisades State Park, the dramatic cliffs overlooking Split Rock Creek are made entirely of the rose quartzite formations for which the region is known. Visitors can rock climb or hike one of four trails to see this pretty geological characteristic up close. Other popular pastimes in the region's state parks include canoeing, kayaking, archery, camping, biking and horseback riding. In winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are favorite ways to explore the landscape, or you can sail over it on a snowmobile.

Dramatic rock formations at Palisades State Park near Garretson

Dramatic rock formations at Palisades State Park near Garretson
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On the Trail of Lewis and Clark

Retracing the steps of explorers Lewis and Clark, who traveled by keelboat along the Missouri River through the area 200 years ago, is easy at several sites dedicated to preserving the duo's legacy. Visit the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center set atop bluffs overlooking Lewis and Clark Lake to immerse yourself in exhibits that bring the explorers' journey to life. Just across the Missouri River, the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area offers outdoor recreation in the same natural surroundings the adventurers experienced. About an hour away in Vermillion, walk in the explorers' foot steps at Spirit Mound, where historians say with certainty that the duo stood.

Family boating on Lewis and Clark Lake

Family boating on Lewis and Clark Lake
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Hunting, Fishing and Birding for All Seasons

The Missouri, Big Sioux and James rivers all run through southeast South Dakota which, along with 175 lakes, make it a prime spot for fishing year-round. Anglers here head to the Gavin's Point Dam area, where walleye and bass are prosperous. Paddlefish is another popular local species. Go ice fishing or just fish from a dock or riverbank; getting a license is easy.

The Missouri River is also the major North American migratory waterfowl flyway. Hunters flock to the region to bag the wily Chinese Ringneck Pheasant, while birdwatchers keep an eye out for 300 species of birds at 33 points along the region's birding trail.


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