Memorial Day Weekend. A weekend set aside each year to honor all the brave men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces protecting our country.

It's also known as being the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

This year, if you plan to pack up the family, along with Aunt Enda in your own version of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and hit the holiday road, here are the Top 5 places in South Dakota you should be going.

MORE: What Is the True Meaning of Memorial Day?

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According to the folks at, these are the absolute best Memorial Day Weekend vacation spots South Dakota has to offer.

Hot Springs, SD
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loading... identified the city of Hot Springs as one of the top South Dakota Memorial Day Weekend vacation spots.

Located in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills, Hot Springs has no shortage of fun things to do. While in Hot Springs, Evans Plunge should be atop your to-do list. You and the family can take a dive into a massive indoor pool featuring water from the local mineral springs.

You might also consider taking a tour of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium. A famous South Dakota sanitarium that was well known for taking care of returning injured servicemen through the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

WATCH: What Was It like to Vacation in South Dakota’s Black Hills 60 Years Ago? [VIDEO]

Deadwood, SD
Google Maps

Another famous South Dakota Memorial Day Weekend getaway is Deadwood. Is there another city in South Dakota that does a better job of depicting the look of the Old West? Probably not.

Each time you visit Deadwood, you almost expect to see Wild Bill sitting at one of the blackjack tables in the city's many casinos. One wouldn't be surprised to run into Seth Bullock and Calamity Jane still wandering its historic streets.

If you love the history of the Old West, Deadwood is a must-see.

Rapid City, SD
Google Maps

Rapid City is another popular summer vacation spot in the state according to Close to the faces of Mount Rushmore National Park and not too terribly far from the Badlands, Rapid City has a reputation for being one of South Dakota's premier tourist locations.

While in Rapid, make sure to take a walk downtown to see all the sights and the statues of past American presidents. A very cool thing to do, especially if you love presidential history.

And if you're a fan of things that slither, you can't leave Rapid without making a stop at Reptile Gardens on US-16 south of Rapid.

LOOK: Explore South Dakota’s Lost Tourist Attraction: Bedrock City

Sioux Falls, SD
Google Maps

Of course, South Dakota's largest city had to make the list of the top 5 South Dakota Memorial Day Weekend getaways.

Named after the stunning waterfalls found in Falls Park, Sioux Falls is packed full of fun things for a family to do. A visit to Falls Park should probably top your to-do list.

I would also highly recommend the Great Plains Zoo. And don't think about leaving without first making a stop to see all the sculptures that line the streets of downtown Sioux Falls on Phillips Avenue.

Sioux Falls also boasts a number of awesome walking trails that help to showcase the scenic beauty surrounding the city.

Custer, SD
Google Maps

Rounding out the Top 5 favorite South Dakota Memorial Day Getaways is the city of Custer. Located in Custer State Park, Custer truly is the home to the natural beauty that is the Black Hills of South Dakota.

There's wildlife galore. If you're a lover of horses and horseback riding, Rockin’ R Trail Rides is a great place to visit. They offer guided half and full-day trail rides along with lessons for beginners. It's the perfect stop for families with kids.

Bottom line, if you've lived in South Dakota for a number of years, you know all too well there are an infinite number of other fun vacation destinations throughout the state that are perfect for the Memorial Day Weekend or any other weekend getaway throughout the summer months.

Whatever your plan may be for this Memorial Day Weekend, please take time to honor those who have served this great nation. And please make sure to have a safe and happy kick-off to the summer vacation season for 2022!


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Gallery Credit: Ben Kuhns

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If you're new to South Dakota here is a sort of translation guide for some odd things you may see or hear.

Gallery Credit: Ben Kuhns



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