Badlands National Park
South Dakota’s Five National Parks
Mountains, missiles, and of course, caves – the National Park Service shines in South Dakota.
Dubbed the Mount Rushmore State for obvious reasons, South Dakota features a bustling southwestern corner ready for park visitors and their cancellation passports.
1. Mt. Rushmore
One of the NPS’ most visited sites, Mount Rushmore National Memorial attracts roughly three million people to Keystone each year. Visitors are encouraged to reflect upon the giant faces of America’s founding fathers, then check out the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, Sculptor's Studio, and the evening light show.
Covering over 244,000 acres, Badlands National Park – South Dakota’s largest national park – features a scene like no other, along with hiking, stargazing, and scenic drives. The park is open 24/7, and guests may explore the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and White River Visitor Center.
3. Wind Cave
The first cave protected by the NPS, Wind Cave National Park preserves one of the longest caves in the world. Set near Hot Springs, the park covers nearly 35,000 acres, and is known for grazing bison, boxwork formation, and lantern tours of the depths. No touching!
4. Jewel Cave
Currently the world’s third longest cave, Jewel Cave National Monument is located near Custer on over 1,200 acres. As you might have guessed, Jewel Cave is known for its dazzling innards – showcased by lantern and scenic ranger-led tours.
5. Minuteman Missile
Preserving the America of the Cold War and arms race, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is located near Wall and open year-round. Starring the last remaining Minuteman II ICBM system, the site offers tours of the control center and onsite missile silo.