Natural beauty and larger-than-life experiences make South Dakota one of our favorite pet friendly destinations. With six national parks and a plethora of sprawling state parks, South Dakota has a diverse and vibrant story to tell. From the Black Hills and Badlands in the west, to the magnificent Missouri River, to glacial lakes in the northeast, and bustling cities in the southeast, you'll find fascinating places to learn about American Indian culture, Old West and pioneer history, and a wide variety of wildlife. When it's time to return home, there's no question that the memories you make in South Dakota will last forever.
Best Time To Visit
Most visitors enjoy South Dakota during July and August when temperatures are warmest and fabulous outdoor activities like hiking, biking, boating, and fishing are plentiful. Even at the peak of the summer, the state never feels crowded. However, the shoulder months of May, June, September, and October are truly the best times of the year for a pet friendly trip to South Dakota. After the long winter, life bursts forth in the spring with the bison giving birth to their calves and the hills and plains turning bright green. And the crisp days, migrating wildlife, and spectacular colors of fall in the Black Hills are hard to beat. You'll also find the best hotel rates in May, early June, and late fall.
Things Not To Miss
Take in the majestic scenery, visit picturesque towns, and sample the creations of local winemakers and brewers on the Black Hills Wine and Beer Trail.
Play on the sandy beaches, walk the paved trail, and camp under the stars at Angostura Recreation Area.
Drive Wildlife Loop Road and Needles Highway, then choose from miles of pet friendly trails and go for a hike, or rent a boat and have a paddle on one of the lakes at Custer State Park.
Stroll the sidewalks of Rapid City and admire the life-sized bronze statues of 42 U.S. Presidents.
Pets are only allowed as far as the parking lot at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, so enjoy some great views of the monument as you drive north from Custer State Park on Iron Mountain Road.
Cruise the 40-mile Loop Road through Badlands National Park, then head over to the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands for a pet friendly walk.
Don't miss the Corn Palace in Mitchell! Each year the exterior of this arena is redecorated with murals made entirely of naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses.
Tour the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the "Little House on the Prairie" in De Smet.
Go for a joyride on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, stopping at Bridal Veil Falls for a fantastic view.