If you've only vacationed in ritzy cities like Vegas and Miami, a place to find 10 places to travel on a budget is South Dakota. It's rich in natural beauty, history, and fun things to do. The state offers big bargains for the budget-minded. If you've never thought of South Dakota as a vacation spot, you're in for a pleasant surprise. It's a big state, so you will need a car. From Sioux Falls in the East, to Rapid City in the West, it's approximately 349 miles along Interstate I-90. Depending on your time and budget, you may want to split your trip into two parts.
- Start in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the state's largest city. Attractions include The Great Plains Zoo, Jesse James Pontoon Rides on the Split River, and the Sertoma Butterfly House. Inexpensive chain motels and over 500 restaurants can be found here.
- Pierre, South Dakota, the capitol, is your next stop. The capitol building, restored in 1982, offers free tours which is great news for travelers looking for budget-friendly things to do. If you're a fisherman, check out the Sunset Lodge at Lake Oche. Catch Walleye, and the restaurant staff will cook it for your dinner. 226 miles from Sioux Falls.
- The Badlands are incredible. This 200,000 acre park offers 30 million year old fossils, hiking over rock formations, identifying wild flowers, or star gazing. If you're looking for ways to travel on a budget in South Dakota, you can camp for a ten dollar fee. The only restaurant nearby is the Cedar Pass Lodge, famous for Sioux Indian Tacos. 154 miles from Pierre.
- You might want to visit Wall Drug. This 76,000 square mile tourist trap is a a fun place to look around. You can do everything from tasting fudge to panning for gold. Window shopping is free. Fifteen miles from the Badlands.
- At the Western end of the state, you'll reach the Black Hills. Mt. Rushmore, a monument carved with the faces of four United States Presidents,is a must see. The park is open every day but Christmas Day, and the only cost is a ten dollar parking fee. Here's another low cost activity for your budget. 60 miles from Wall.
- Custer State Park is next. As you travel the winding mountain highway, watch out for buffalo who roam the park. They can literally be found in the middle of the road. Explore Neddles Highway, the lakes, and other wonders which surround you. Inexpensive places to stay can be found at the park's four lodges, or in the nearby town of Custer. Twelve miles from Mt. Rushmore.
- If you want to gamble or see what the Old West was like, Deadwood is the place. From nickle slots to betting the 100 bucks limit, Deadwood's got a game for every budget. If you decide not to gamble, visit the Number Ten Saloon where a recreation of Wild Bill Hickok's shooting happens daily, or climb Boot Hill to look at the tombstones. 73 miles from Custer.
- Number eight on the list is Spearfish. Spearfish is a fun place to go even in the winter time. Besides skiing during the chilly days, you can enjoy the rest of the seasons by going hiking, mountain biking, or swimming. Again, the natural beauty is the ticket for budget travel in South Dakota. Fifteen miles from Deadwood.
- You'll find a lot to do in Keystone. Beautiful Rushmore Cave is there where spelunkers will have a field day. The other attraction is Big Thunder, a place you can mine for gold with a guarantee you'll find some. 69 miles from Spearfish.
- Your last stop is Rapid City, South Dakota's second largest city. Downtown has shopping and lots of restaurants. There are recreation areas, where there's hiking, walking, mountain biking, and golf courses. 21 miles from Keystone to Rapid City.
So there you have ten places to travel on a budget in South Dakota. From fossils to buffalo to gambling, South Dakota offers something for everyone. Viewing its breathtaking natural beauty is free, and many of the tourist attractions don't cost much.