Romantic Getaways in South Dakota

No matter where in South Dakota you plan your romantic getaway, this state is sure to make some unforgettable memories. With quaint old towns, beautiful natural landscapes and a thriving urban downtown, there is something for every couple here. Thus if you are planning a romantic vacation in South Dakota, here are some getaway options to get you going.

Black Hills and Badlands

The transcendent landscapes of the Black Hills and Badlands of western South Dakota make up one of the biggest draws for vacationers and include several parks which are sure to impress you and your partner. Badlands National Park, with its moon-like surface, jagged spires, eroded buttes and deep crevasses offer unique scenery that you can explore on foot, horseback or by car. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife like buffalo, bighorn sheep, antelope and the black-footed ferret. Then there is the Custer State Park, a 71,000-acre vacation paradise home to abundant wildlife, including one of the nation's largest free roaming buffalo herds, making it common to encounter a "Buffalo Jam" while driving in the park. The park is also home to significant historical sites like French Creek, made famous when gold was discovered in the Black Hills as well as the historic State Game Lodge which used to be President Calvin Coolidge’s Summer White House. Located 65 miles southwest of Rapid City is Wind Cave National Park, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Also one of the oldest parks in the country, this showcases beauty both above and below the surface. Above ground you can explore 28,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie, hike on 30 miles of trail, picnic or camp while below the surface, you can opt for ranger-guided tours which wind through narrow passageways filled with intricate boxwork and other geological phenomenon. Another famous park of the Black Hills area is Jewel Cave National Monument, the third longest cave in the world and which in fact continues to grow as researchers discover an average of three miles of new passageways every year. Located 52 miles southwest of Rapid City, Jewel Cave is appropriately named for its dazzling calcite crystals that illuminate the underground, lighted walkways of the cave and which can provide a magical setting to romance your beloved. Camping out under the stars in any of these South Dakota national parks can make for a great romantic getaway alternative to hotels. Many of South Dakota's national parks and lakes have cozy getaway cottage or lakeside romantic cabins for rent.

Mount Rushmore

A highlight of the Black Hills area and a must-see for any romantic trip is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  Located 25 miles southwest of Rapid City, this is an awe-inspiring experience wherein you can view the faces of four American presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln— that are carved from a granite mountainside high above the treetops of the Black Hills. Mount Rushmore offers a variety of seasonal ranger-guided tours and interpretative programs. Here you and your partner can tour the Sculptor’s Studio, walk the Presidential Trail or learn about the Lakota heritage of the area with a Mount Rushmore expert. Nearby Rapid City offers a plethora of lodging options, if you are planning to extend your stay in this part of the state.

Rapid City

Once you are done visiting the attractions of the Badlands region, it is time to head to downtown Rapid City. Here a particular attraction is the City of Presidents which comprises of a series of life-sized bronze statues of the nation's past presidents.  Projected to open in fall 2013, the Memorial Park Promenade is sure to become another favorite with vacationing couples – both an enjoyable destination and a convenient and identifiable connection between Downtown and the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Till then you can browse though Main Street Square in Downtown area which is filled with activity all year long. During the summer months, you and your sweetheart can enjoy an interactive fountain display while in the winter, the fountain transforms into an outdoor ice skating rink. There are also several events held throughout the year in Downtown Rapid City including outdoor concerts, Movies Under the Stars, arts and wine festivals, a farmers market and more. Alternately catch a show put up by the Black Hills Community Theatre; Along with its regular show series, the community group also offers children’s and dinner theatre series. the Firehouse Brewing Co. Theatre is another favorite nightlife destination of couples; The Firehouse consists of a restaurant and lounge, complete with live music all week during the summer. On the third level there is a dinner theater and comedy club called the Firehouse Dinner Theater with productions from the fall through spring. Not to be missed is the Chuckwagon supper and show where you can experience great grub together with cowboy crooning with. Being the vibrant urban center that it is, downtown Rapid City has options galore in terms of lodging which is why it can make the perfect hub of your romantic vacation in this part of the state.

Sioux Falls

Beautiful any time of year, Falls Park is one of the most visited sites by vacationing couples and how the city of Sioux Falls gets its name. When you visit Falls Park, you can walk the trails overlooking the river or relax on one of the benches and listen to the sound of the falls. You could also stop in for a bite at the Overlook Cafe or explore the five-story observatory. Even if you come here in winter, Sioux Falls will not disappoint you - The hills at Tuthill Park provide the perfect way to have fun out in cold and go sledding with your beloved. The rest of the year is a great time to enjoy Tuthill Park’s gardens and old growth trees. The Shoto-Teien Japanese Gardens at Terrace park feature the landscaping techniques of the Far East right at home in the Mideast. When you are done sightseeing, take a paddleboat out on Covell Lake and romance your beloved on the waters. Sioux Falls also hosts several events through the year and if you can time your vacation around any of these, the city can prove to be a fantastic place. For instance, Lifelight is a popular A Christian music festival while JazzFest, a jazz and blues music festival, is held annually at Yankton Trail Park. Sioux Falls Air show is another popular attraction which is held one weekend each summer at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. Finally nothing celebrates Midwestern culture better than Sioux Empire Fair. the fair which features a rich assortment of food, fun, arts, music, and competitions. You can stroll through the 4-H displays, eat a corndog, and wind up a fantastic day listening to live music.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

For couples interested both in history and the outdoors, a truly unique romantic trip can be based on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Between May 1804 and September 1806, 31 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery and traveled over 3700 miles. Their journey followed the courses of the Missouri and Columbia rivers and crossed the Rocky and Bitteroot Mountains before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Although the lands they traveled were largely unknown to Euro-Americans, many American Indian tribes had called these places home for centuries. some of the significant sites of the Expedition that you can rediscover on the trail are Fort Clatsop, Mound, Beaverhead and Camp Dubois. Ultimately though more than 100 sites, scattered over 3,700 miles, make up the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Since sites are owned and managed by many different organizations, including state, federal, tribal, public and private,  Fees vary from site to site. Thus before planning your itinerary it may be a good idea to get advance reservations for the sites so you and your partner can stop and experience the full pleasures of the scenic and historic trail.