South Dakota is one of the most beautiful states in the USA. It is located in the Midwest, the largest city is Sioux Falls. This city is particularly worth seeing in South Dakota and offers a number of attractions. What is particularly interesting about South Dakota is the fact that there are some reservations here where Indians live and still cling to their old traditions and customs.
Two national parks ( Badlands and Wind-Cave ) give an insight into the regional nature. The landscape here is characterized by prairies and small mountains.
Many natural landmarks, including Mount Rushmore, are other attractions that can be found in South Dakota. The wide, open landscape in South Dakota has its very special charm that you don’t feel so strongly in other regions of the USA. The fact that the landscape and nature are still so untouched here makes a special impression.
Agriculture is very important in South Dakota, with grain and cattle playing a particularly important role. Visitors to this region can see many typical American farms here. Sometimes you feel like you’re in an old western movie.
South Dakota – key data
Land area: 199,905 sq km (17th place in all US states)
Share of water surface: 1.6%
Population: 804,194 residents (2008 estimate, ranked 46th of all states in the USA)
Population density: 4 residents per square kilometer (ranked 46th of all states in the USA)
Member of the USA since: November 2, 1889 (as the 40th state of the USA)
Capital: Pierre (13,876 residents, 2000)
Largest city: Sioux Falls (151,505 residents, 2007, metropolitan area 234,094 residents)
Highest point: 2,209 m, Harney Peak
Lowest point: 295 m, Big Stone Lake
Governor: M. Michael Rounds (Republican)
Lieut. Governor: Dennis Daugaard (Republican)
Local time: West: CET -8 h. From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November: CET -7 h.
The time difference to Central Europe is -8 h in both winter and summer.
East: CET -7 h. From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November: CET -6 h.
The time difference to Central Europe is -7 h in both winter and summer.
Postal abbreviation: SD
South Dakota Geography and Map
South Dakota is one of the Midwestern states in the United States. The capital is Pierre. The state was named after the Dakota and Lakota, who originally lived in this area and some of them still live there today on reservations.
South Dakota covers an area of approximately 199,905 square kilometers and borders North Dakota to the north. Neighboring states to the east are Minnesota and Iowa. South Dakota is bordered by Nebraska to the south and Wyoming and Montana to the west. The average height of the national territory is 670 meters above sea level. the South Dakota’s highest peak is Harney Peak with a height of 2,209 meters. The lowest point – 295 meters above sea level – is on Big Stone Lake.
The most important river in South Dakota is the Missouri River. The 4,130 meter long river divides the state into eastern and western halves. While various types of grain flourish in the eastern part of South Dakota due to the fertile soils, in the west of the state mainly cattle breeding is practiced. Other important rivers of South Dakota are the Cheyenne, the James and the, approximately 475 kilometers long Big Sioux River. There is also the White River. In the eastern part of South Dakota there are also numerous natural lakes that were formed during the last ice age. The damming of the Missouri River has created four large water reservoirs : Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case and Lewis and Clarke Lake.
In the west of the state is the Badlands National Park, a landscape created by erosion and denudation processes. It is characterized by canyons, gorges, valleys and sharp ridges. In addition to the Badlands National Park, the Wind Cave National Park attracts numerous visitors to South Dakota each year.
In the southwest of South Dakota rise the Black Hills, a mountain range that extends into northeastern Wyoming. The Black Hills extend over a length of about 160 kilometers and a width of up to 96 kilometers. They continue the Bighorn and Snow Mountains that emanate from the Rocky Mountains. There is also the highest point in the state, Harney Peak. The most famous attraction of the Black Hills is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. South Dakota owes its nickname “The Mount Rushmore State” to the presidential heads carved into the rock.
The landscape in the east of the state is shaped by the Great Plains, the Great Plains. This approximately 500 kilometers wide area stretches from the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta to South Texas. The Great Plains are bounded to the north by the Canadian Shield and to the south by the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico. The Great Plains cover an area of approximately 2 million square kilometers.
South Dakota Landmarks
Agriculture plays an important role in South Dakota. But tourists are not forgotten either. Dakota has a large number of different sights to offer its visitors.
Don’t miss the Stavkirke Chaple. The original Norwegian stave church was built in Rapid City in 1669.
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is worth seeing. It is a memorial to past presidents of the United States with huge portrait heads of the four most important US presidents. The presidents would be George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosvelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The heads are each up to sixty feet high.
Likewise, you shouldn’t miss a detour to the Crazy Horse Monument. The monument is not far from Mount Rushmore. The Crazy Horse Monument is a sculpture in memory of the Olglala-Lakota Indian Crazy Horse. It is carved into the mountain similar to the portrait heads in the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The Crazy Horse Monument is still under construction although it was started in 1948 by Korczak Ziolkowski.
A visit to the Memorial Park Berlin Wall in Rapid City is certainly also interesting. Here you can marvel at the largest continuous piece of the Berlin Wall.
But the State Capitol in Pierre should also be seen. The nearby Cultural Heritage Center should also not be missed.
Nature lovers don’t miss out in South Dakota either. These tourists should definitely check out Badlands National Park. The park has a size of about 1,000 square kilometers. There is a fantastic mountain world to explore here. Important fossil finds from North America were also discovered here.
The Wind Cave National Park is also worth seeing. There are some of the longest caves in the world to be discovered here. But there is also an interesting fauna of the typical American fauna.
The Custer State Park Conservation Area is not to be missed.