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Ranking 46 out of 50, South Dakota is one of the least populated states in the United States of America. However, even with the lack of population and big cities, this state has much more to offer than what may meet the eye. Many tourists flock here every year to take in some of the beauty South Dakota has to offer, but the brutal winter months deter many visitors. That said, if you’re to visit, you would be wise to wait until the warmer seasons. Some of the most visited places in South Dakota include The Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Flintstones Bedrock City, and of course, the iconic American landmark Mount Rushmore.
The Corn Palace
The Corn Palace, located in Mitchell, South Dakota is an excellent site to visit during the summer months. The entire facility is decorated with crop art as the murals and designs all over the building are made from corn and other grains. Free guided tours are offered as the guides are well-educated on all the facts about every inch of this marvelous site. You can even witness murals being created outside of the palace during the week. Of course, with the exception of any clothing, all of the souvenirs available here are made of corn! Edible souvenirs like the Caramel Cob are known as fan favorites. Also available are corn necklaces, corn earrings, and corn soap.
Located in Wall, South Dakota is the Wall Drug Store, or more commonly referred to as “Wall Drug.” This shopping mall consists of many stores including a drug store, restaurants and a gift shop. Some of the most popular souvenirs available here are the bumper stickers, signs, and shirts that showcase quotes such as “Where the heck is wall drug?” and “Wall Drug: America’s Favorite Roadside Attraction.” You can also find just about any South Dakota souvenir here. From bobble heads to sculptures, pottery, and Native American artifacts, Wall Drug has it all. Of course, most items you’ll find here will either be of Mount Rushmore, Native Americans such as the Sioux Tribe, or something depicting the popular South Dakota wildlife like the bison and moose.
If you have kids, or are just a big fan yourself, a drive over to Custer, South Dakota to visit Flintstones Bedrock City is a must! This theme park and campground is spread over thirty acres featuring buildings and characters inspired by The Flintstones. If you’ve seen it on The Flintstones, chances are, this place has it. The city appears to the naked eye as a fully operating town much like seen in the television show. There is a grocery store, a police department, bank buildings, and characters walking around appearing to go about their daily lives. It’s truly a spectacle that kids will love and something that will bring back adoring memories as kids for the adults. The souvenirs are plentiful here as well and everything is all about the Flintstones. Stuffed animals, toys, books, sculptures, t-shirts, replica tools and vehicles are just a few of the unique souvenirs that can be found only at Flintstones Bedrock City.
What would be a trip to South Dakota without visiting one of the most popular landmarks in all of the United States, Mount Rushmore? The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture literally carved into the side of a mountain. Each one of the heads is approximately 60 feet tall and depicts four of the United States’ most popular presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Not many people know this fact, but the historian who originally came up with the idea wanted it to feature western heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill. In hindsight, the guidance from his peers to make this a more national focus turned out to be much more appealing. Nearly three million people make the trip to Mount Rushmore each year and with that, the local souvenir shops thrive. There are all kinds of souvenirs that depict the four faces of Mount Rushmore. One of the more popular items is a miniature replica statue made of poly resin. Visitors can also purchase t-shirts, ornaments, key chains, jewelry, pins, paintings, and even snow globes. Undoubtedly, anything you can think of as a traditional souvenir item can be found in South Dakota featuring this iconic monument.
There is definitely not a whole lot of exciting action going on in South Dakota. However, if long scenic drives, the outdoors, and extremely unique attractions are what you enjoy, you’ll love what this Midwestern state has to offer.