21 Best & Fun Things to Do in Black Hills (SD)

There are many exciting activities to engage with while in South Dakota – and this article covers 21 things to do in Black Hills, SD.

South Dakota is famous for notable landmarks and tourist attractions such as; Mount Rushmore, Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, Wildlife Loop Road, et cetera.

The city is also famous for the Badlands National Park. There are lots of outdoor fun activities as well as indoor activities.

The scenery is stunning, with lots of hiking trails and wildlife. It is worth a visit.

Where is Black Hills, South Dakota?

Black Hills, South Dakota, is a mountain region in western South Dakota.

The Black Hills is bordered on the south by Hot Springs, on the north by a town known as Spearfish, on the east by Rapid City, and on the west by the border of Wyoming.

Right in the center of Black Hills lies Custer State Park. If you’re considering flying in, the closest airport is in Rapid City.

The Black Hills is situated between the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche rivers. It also rises about 3,000 feet above the surrounding plains.

The Black Hills cover an area of close to 5,000 square miles.

See Also: Fun Things to Do in Whidbey Island

Fun Things to do in Black Hills, SD

There are uncountable fun things to do in Black Hills, South Dakota.

We will be listing some of them in this write-up. These are 21 exciting things to do in Black Hills, South Dakota;

1. Bear Country, the USA

Explore the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota by taking a leisurely drive through North American Wildlife Park.

You can see bison, elk, and black bears from your vehicle. After touring the park, take a walk through its wildlife loop to see the animals that are roaming free.

The park’s various food and beverage establishments are known for their delicious food.

There are also multiple places to eat in the park, such as the Bear’s Den gift shop and the Cub Grub snack shack.

The front gate of the park closes at the end of the day, so the rest of it is open until the end of your visit.

Take a two-hour drive to explore the area.

Address: This park is located at 13820 S Highway 16, Rapid City, SD 57702-6581.

2. Custer State Park

The park is located in South Dakota’s Black Hills region and is about 73,000 acres of wilderness.

It’s known for its beautiful scenery and abundance of wildlife. It has over a thousand buffalo.

The park also offers a variety of activities, such as fishing in the lakes and interacting with the animals in the area.

Visiting the park is affordable, and you can get in for only twenty dollars.

Address: The Custer State park is located at 13438 US Highway 16A, Custer, SD 57730, United States.

3. Reptile Gardens

Family-friendly and a must-visit for anyone, Reptile Gardens is an adventure park that features a wide variety of exotic and tropical plants.

Unfortunately, it also has more venomous reptiles than any other park or zoo.

The park’s grounds and botanical gardens are also home to various birds and reptiles.

Guests are encouraged to learn about these animals through its multiple programs.

Address: The Reptile Gardens is located at 8955 S Highway 16 in Rapid City, South Dakota.

4. Adams House

The Adams House, a Victorian mansion, was built in 1892 and is located in Deadwood, South Dakota.

It was constructed by two of the state’s most prominent individuals, Anna Franklin and Harris Adams.

The house is named after the museum’s founder, W.E. Adams.

Address: This attraction can be found at 22 Van Buren St., Deadwood, SD 57732-1432.

5. Hippie Hole

We believe that visiting Hippie Hole is among the top things to do in the Black Hills.

Although getting to the parking area is a bit of an adventure in itself, once you do, the swimming and scenery makes it worth your while.

Even if you don’t want to plunge in or get wet, Hippie Hole is a fantastic little hike to accomplish and is only a short drive from Keystone.

Address: This attraction is located in Mount Rushmore UT, SD 57751, United States.

6. Sylvan Lake

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is Sylvan Lake, a beautiful lake with various activities. Some of these include swimming and fishing.

The water in the lake is made up of enormous rocks, and it’s a great place to take a dip.

If you’re not ready to swim, you can take a break from the lake and enjoy a book or a stroll around it.

This is a great way to spend quality time with family and friends.

The Sylvan Lake Lodge is also a great place to spend time with family and friends.

It has a variety of activities that you can partake in, such as fishing, walking, and relaxation.

Address: The Sylvan Lake Lodge is located at 24572 SD-87, Custer, SD 57730, USA.

7. Badlands National Park

This national park is located in the northwest region of South Dakota. It features various natural features such as mountains and beautiful formations.

This area is also known for its bison and bighorn sheep. This is a great place to visit if you’re planning on taking a break from the lake.

Address: The Badlands National Park is located at 25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, SD 57750, United States.

8. Needles Eye

The 14-mile-long route known as the Needles Highway is a must-visit area for those who love to drive.

The views along this route are some of the most amazing in the area. It also provides an excellent backdrop for photos taken along the road.

Many people in the area consider driving along the Needles Highway as one of the most fun activities to do in the area. However, it’s important to remember to drive at a safe speed.

Address: This attraction is located at MP 31, SD-87, Custer, SD 57730, United States.

9. City of Presidents

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is Rapid City, also known as the City of Presidents.

It’s additionally home to several life-sized bronze statues of former U.S. presidents.

These statues can be found all around the city in various areas. It’s also fun to take photos with them and help your kids learn more about the past leaders.

Address: This attraction is located at 631 St Joseph St, Rapid City, SD 57701, USA.

10. Mount Rushmore National Monument

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

This site features a collection of life-sized sculptures of four U.S. presidents. These sculptures, over 60 feet tall, evoke an awe-inspiring view.

Address: Mount Rushmore National Monument is located at 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, United States.

11. 1880 Train/Black Hills Central Railroad

The 1880 Train is a two-hour narrated tour that takes passengers between Hill City and Keystone, South Dakota.

During this time, passengers can enjoy various old-fashioned fun and views of the Black Hills.

The trail follows the original route of the Chicago and Quincy Railroad, which was laid down in the 1880s to service the various mines in the area.

Since 1880, the Black Hills Central Railroad has been continuously operating. It has four steam locomotives and two diesel engines.

Address: The 1880 Train/Black Hills Central Railroad is located at 222 Railroad Ave, Hill City, SD 57745, United States.

12. Mount Roosevelt Monument

Theodore Roosevelt significantly contributed to the Black Hills’ preservation by building the Mount Roosevelt monument.

He and Deadwood Sheriff Seth Bullock were close friends for a long time.

In 1919, Bullock decided to create a memorial for his friend by establishing a wide-open space in the Black Hills.

Address: This attraction is located at Black Hills National Forest, Mt Roosevelt Rd, Lead, SD 57754, USA.

Planning to visit other parts of South Dakota? Why not checkout things to Do in Brookings (SD)?

13. Wildlife Loop Road

The Wildlife Loop Road is an 18-mile-long drive through the heart of South Dakota’s Custer State Park.

During the morning, it’s a great time to see some of the region’s most famous animals, such as the bison and the prairie dogs.

In the evening, it’s also possible to see mule deer and pronghorns.

Address: Wildlife Loop Road is located at Wildlife Loop Rd, East Custer, SD, USA.

14. The Iron Mountain Road

Engineers once said that the Iron Mountain Road could never be built.

This great road, also known as 16A, runs through the heart of South Dakota’s Custer State Park.

It crosses Mount Rushmore and ends at the junction of Route 36 and U.S. Route 16A.

The Iron Mountain Road was constructed in 1933 and is designed to provide a beautiful view of the Black Hills.

During the time it’s been in operation, it has been said that visitors should drive less than 20 miles per hour.

However, one should get out and walk to truly experience the area’s beauty.

Address: The Iron mountain road is located at US-16A, South Dakota, United States.

15. Mount Moriah Cemetery

One of the most exciting places to visit in Deadwood is the Mount Moriah Cemetery, which features prominent individuals’ and families’ graves.

This walking tour is ideal for people interested in learning more about the history of South Dakota.

The grounds are peaceful and the multiple areas, including the Chinese sections, provide an insight into the lore.

Address: This attraction is located at 10 Mt Moriah Dr, Deadwood, SD 57732, United States.

16. Historic Old Town

Take a walk down Main Street in Deadwood, and you’ll be in the footsteps of some of the area’s most famous Old West legends, such as Seth Bullock and Wild Bill Hickok.

During the 1870s, this town was a bustling gold rush town. Today, it’s a great place to gather and enjoy Black Hills entertainment.

Some of the available activities in this area include museums, casinos, and parades.

Address: This attraction is located at Deadwood, South Dakota, United States.

17. Pactola Reservoir

The Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills National Forest, Pactola Reservoir spans 800 acres and boasts 14 miles of shoreline. 

In this reservoir, record lake trout are caught every year. A full service marina with seasonal, monthly, and daily slips, gasoline, oil, groceries, food service, showers, and laundry are available at this location. 

There are 88 campsites, a group campground, picnic spots, two boat launches, and paved accessible paths.

There are also day use trails, and sections of both the Centennial and Deerfield trails among the forest’s amenities. Excellent fly fishing can be found below the spillway.

Address: The Pactola Reservoir is located in the Black Hills National Forest in Rapid City, South Dakota.

18. Terry Peak Ski Area

Terry Peak is a family-friendly destination with over 30 trails and various terrain suitable for both beginner and experienced skiers.

If you’ve never tried skiing or snowboarding, the resort offers lessons for kids.

After you’ve learned how to ski or board, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a terrain park.

Near Deadwood in South Dakota’s the Black Hills, Terry Peak is a popular vacation spot for people interested in experiencing the area’s many attractions.

The resort features a variety of convenient facilities such as a lounge, a restaurant, and a shop.

The main lodge at Terry Peak is where you’ll gather all of your equipment and supplies.

Address: Terry Peak is located at 21120 Stewart Slope Rd, Lead, SD 57754, United States.

19. Dinosaur Park

If you’re in the Black Hills and want to explore some free activities, head to the Dinosaur Park.

This natural park, located on a ridge near the Black Hills, is dedicated to the dinosaurs that roamed during the Early Cretaceous and Jurassic periods.

In the park’s current location, you’ll find the remains of multiple dinosaur skeletons.

Due to the popularity of the park, it has now featured seven life-sized concrete replicas of different types of dinosaurs.

These animals include a Stegosaurus, a T-Rex, and an Apatosaurus.

As you walk through the park, you’ll additionally have the opportunity to see the spectacular views of South Dakota’s the Black Hills.

After visiting the park, stop by the gift shop to purchase unique dinosaur-themed items.

Dinosaur Park is a must-visit for anyone who’s visiting Mount Rushmore State. It’s also one of the state’s most popular tourist sites.

Address: Dinosaur Park is located at 940 Skyline Dr, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States.

20. The Adams Museum

The Adams Museum was established in 1930 to preserve and share Deadwood’s unique history.

It was initially donated to the city of Deadwood. Over the years, the museum has grown to include five different properties.

These properties bring the spirit and history of Deadwood to life.

The museum features various unique exhibits designed to bring Deadwood’s history to life.

Some of these include a legends gallery and a historic transportation display.

The museum was named a National Historic site in 1960 due to its exhibits, which are all about the last major gold rush in the area.

South Dakota is a popular vacation spot for people interested in experiencing the area’s many attractions.

Address: This attraction is located at 54 Sherman St, Deadwood, SD 57732, United States.

21. Bridal Veil Falls

The name of the falls comes from the shape and form of the water, similar to Victorian lace and Bridal Veil.

The limestone and other rocks that are beneath the falls are also covered in this type of lace.

The best time to visit and view the beauty of the Bridal Veil Falls is during the spring season.

The water flows very strongly during this period, so it is an excellent opportunity to take a walk around the falls.

The natural beauty of Sioux Falls has attracted many visitors. The falls are located in a beautiful area surrounded by tall trees and soaring mountains.

The Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in South Dakota’s Spearfish Canyon.

It is located approximately 5.8 miles from the canyon’s north entrance.

It takes around 15 minutes to reach the falls. You can take the Scenic Byway along the Spearfish Canyon to the falls.

The 60 feet of water that flow through the Bridal Veil Falls varies depending on the seasons in South Dakota.

During the summer, the water flows slowly while it surges and flows intensely in the spring.

Address: This attraction is located at Spearfish Canyon Hwy, Spearfish, SD 57783, United States.

Black Hills, South Dakota, is an area with fantastic scenery, surplus wildlife, and numerous adventures. So, start planning your visit to South Dakota now!