For those who are traveling to the United States and want to visit a part of America that is rarely seen then South Dakota is the place to visit. South Dakota’s northern border is about 200 miles south of Canada and borders Nebraska on the north with Wyoming and Montana on its western border. The second longest river in the United States flows through the state, the Missouri River. It provides opportunities for fishing and water sports.
Historically South Dakota was a part of the Louisiana Purchase and some of the cities retain their French names such as Pierre, De Smet, and Belle Fouche as tribute to its French history. However as the 40th state much of its history is tied to the west, in particular the pioneers and the Native Americans. Its ties to the pioneer life can be read in Laura Ingle Wilder’s ‘Little House in The Prairie’ and be seen in the movie ‘Dances With Wolves,’ for example.
For those who are flying into the state from foreign countries then the Black Hills is the must see place to visit. In summer the Black HIlls provides camping and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Plus there are opportunities to tour cave, mines, visit Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse monument, and a plethora of activities. While in winter the Black Hills provides great winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling.
The advantage of South Dakota over other US tourist spots is the fact it is very inexpensive. South Dakota’s low sales tax, along with low wages, and reasonable lodging rate means your dollar will go farther.
However, since the state is sparsely populated it means if you fly to South Dakota you will have to change planes. Sioux Falls Foss Field (FSD) is the largest airport in the state with major carriers offering connections to their hubs in Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
Sioux Falls is located in the southeast corner of the state near the Iowa and Minnesota border. Driving time to the Black Hills is about 5 hours on the interstate. Nonetheless flying into Omaha approximately 180, miles to the south, might provide you with a cheaper flight and more connections. Also, Minneapolis approximately 250 miles to the northeast provides international connections to London, Tokyo, Paris, and Amsterdam. From experience, Omaha tends to be a better option if you do not fly into Sioux Falls due to expense or connections. However when I visit I closely monitor flight prices and book it when there is very little difference between prices for Sioux Falls and Omaha. Typically this is about 8 – 12 weeks prior to my departure date. For those of you who do not like to create baselines and monitor them, then flying into Omaha might save you a lot of heartache monitoring ticket prices. When factoring in the cost of gas, in most cases, flying into Minneapolis is more expensive then flying into Omaha or Sioux Falls.
Since the state is sparsely populated with approximately 40% of the state living within an hour of Sioux Falls, it means driving is the only option since there is no other form of transport. This means traffic, with the exception of Sioux Falls, tends not to be an issue and driving, depending on where you are, can be relatively hassle-free.
In this author’s opinion if you are looking to go somewhere that is a part of America that does not always get seen and is inexpensive then South Dakota, especially the western part is a place to visit.
- Sioux Tribes Upset Over Sale of Sacred Site in SD (abcnews.go.com)
- South Dakota Ranch Tour Demonstrates Importance of Private Lands Stewardship (prweb.com)
- Job seekers find warm welcome in chilly Plains states (bottomline.nbcnews.com)
- Sioux Falls Airport Information
- Omaha Airport Information
- Minneapolis Airport Information