Dakota's Holidays & Accommodation

USA, North America

dakota holiday and accomodation guide

The Dakotas main tourist attraction is Badlands, famed for its unique geology that makes them so stark and beautiful to the eye. The National Park spreads across both states, but South Dakota has undoubtedly the most striking scenery of the two. North Dakota is probably the least visited state in the United States, probably owing to the fact that it has no major tourist attractions to draw visitors. It is a missed opportunity for some, given that this state has more wildlife refuges than any other state. South Dakota, on the other hand enjoys a comparably busier tourist trade and enjoys more visitors than its northern cousin thanks to attractions like Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills.

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Ongoing rains, freezing weather, thawing, and the coloured sediment of the Badlands in the Dakotas are startling. When the Lakota first encountered these lands, they called them mako sika or bad land, and early French trappers referred to them similarly as bad land because they were so difficult to travel with their spires and buttes. Today, Badlands National Park in South Dakaota has the most spectacular geography of the badlands region along with some of the richest fossil deposits from the Oligocene period including fossils of three-toed horses and sabre-toothed cats. Current occupants of the park include bighorn sheep, and bison.

Near Custer, South Dakota, you can visit the Black Hill Caves, with a network of approximately 200 caverns. There is little animal life here, but the network is believed to be about six million years old. Nearby you can get some fresh air in the Black Hills National Forest, set amongst America's oldest mountains where you can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. There are almost 1.2 million acres to explore. Native Americans named the area the Black Hills because the thickly forested hills appeared black from a distance.

Also in South Dakota, La Framboise Island in Pierre is an island joined to the downtown area by a causeway that is only open to foot traffic. It's also worth visiting Sioux Falls to see the picturesque waterfalls near the heart of town.

Perhaps most notable for viewing The Badlands in North Dakota, and also the biggest draw for visitors in the state, is Theodore Roosevelt National Park, named for the outdoor loving President who fell in love with the region and invested in a local ranch. Today the park is host to bison, feral horses, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, and prairie dogs.

The most famous landmark to visit is Gutzon Borglum's mountainside sculpture of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln at Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota.

If you want to explore a unique festival in a small town atmosphere, you may want to attend the immensely popular Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota, a Norwegian Autumn Festival that draws crowds for all sorts of Scandinavian festivities.

Dakota's Accommodation Guide
While North and South Dakota may seem a bit off the beaten path, you will find a lot to divert you should you decide to visit. In North Dakota you can visit wildlife parks like Beaver Lake or Graham's Island State Park, while in South Dakota there's the Crazy Horse Memorial, a Native American rival to Mount Rushmore, still uncompleted.