Where to Stay While Exploring South Dakota

You’ll need a base or two in South Dakota for convenient access while exploring the state’s treasured destinations. Find lodging in populated cities, at convenient locations near major roads and in remote campgrounds and parks. Wherever you decide to lay your head at night, properties throughout the state are eager to work with international travelers and tour operators.

Full-service hotels are knowledgeable about the needs of international guests and offer everything from luxury suites to affordable rooms. Find a plethora of options along Interstate 90, which links Sioux Falls (the state’s largest city) in the east, with Rapid City (the state’s second-largest city) in the west. Likewise, north-south Interstate 29 stretches from the southeast tip of the state at the Missouri River and continues through Sioux Falls, Brooking and Watertown until reaching the state’s northern border.

Branch out from familiar hotels to options in more natural settings. In southwestern South Dakota,
lodging is limited near Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, so get creative with a travel itinerary and explore fascinating towns at the same time. For Mount Rushmore, consider accommodations in Keystone, Hill City, Custer or Rapid City. Rapid City and the adjacent town of Wall also serve as good options for the Badlands.

To stay inside South Dakota parks, book far in advance to ensure availability for your visit. Travelers can find many unique cabins, quaint bed-and-breakfasts, ranches, campgrounds and RV parks. Try lodges and cabins at Sylvan Lake and at Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park, which is close to Mount Rushmore, or a lodge in Spearfish Canyon.

Get to know the land at a guest or dude ranch. Stay in rustic and comfortable lodges and explore the countryside. Go horseback riding, take a class, meet farm animals or learn what it’s like to round up cattle.

If you really want to commune with nature, consider RV, cabin or primitive tent camping options on your own or with a local outfitter. Explore the Black Hills and Badlands in the southwest, glacial lakes and prairies in the northeast, great lakes in the center of the state, and the Missouri River area in the southeast. Stock up on gear and prepare yourself to be amazed at the pristine wilderness. Look up to the dark skies for awesome stargazing opportunities.

Useful Facts
  1. Don’t worry about breaking your budget on lodging in South Dakota. You will find clean, comfortable and affordable rooms in a variety of settings.
  2. Looking for something different? Consider the Hotel Alex Johnson in a 1928 building in downtown Rapid City; Rushmore Hotel & Suites, with a Mount Rushmore stone design on the lobby floor in Rapid City; Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel, a luxurious entertainment venue that once was a mining “slime plant;” the historic Sylvan Lake Lodge with views of Black Elk Peak and Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park; and Arrowwood Resort at Cedar Shore, right on the banks of the Missouri River near Chamberlin.
  3. For a little bit of luxury, try the Lodge at Deadwood, a resort and casino in the historic town. Try  glamping in the Old West outside of Keystone with views of Mount Rushmore; Under Canvas promises a luxury experience like no other.  
  4. Interested in an immersive outdoor experience? Stay at a guest ranch. Options include Triple R Ranch in Keystone and Ghost Canyon Ranch in Hermosa.
  5. Campgrounds are plentiful in South Dakota’s 56 state parks and recreation areas. To narrow down your choices, visit the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks website at to find a place that matches your needs and interests.