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Great Places in Central South Dakota

| Updated Jun 19, 2023

Great Places, Great Faces..go west, young man, (RVers) go west.  

Ready for another RV adventure?  Central South Dakota is your ticket to the road less traveled. Very few have seen it, but no one who has, forgets it.  

The vistas are breathtaking.

A Road Trip through Central South Dakota

south dakota map
South Dakota

Here is a great travel guide through Central South Dakota with its beautiful landscape and interesting sites.

Start at the State Capitol

Your adventure begins in the state capitol, Pierre, South Dakota. Unlike other state capitols, the city of Pierre is rather small. 

In fact, it is the second least-populous state capitol in the U.S. and only the eighth most-populous city in South Dakota. 

Bike Trails

What it lacks in population it makes up for in nature. That is why the capitol city boasts many beautiful bike trails, such as ones that follow the: 

  • Lewis and Clark trail (check out our post on the trail)
  • Oahe Dam (the 4th largest man-made reservoir in the U.S.)
  • Walleye fishing spots
  • Missouri River
  • Lake Oahe
  • Capitol building 

And that’s just to name a few! 

The Capitol Building

Great Places in Central South Dakota 1

While visiting the capitol building be sure to see if you can find the 55 blue tiles hidden in the beautiful, intricate floor mosaics.

The Cultural Heritage Center

The Cultural Heritage Center is not your typical museum. The structure is built into the side of a hill and much of it is underground. Totally worth it to click over to their Facebook Page to see how this looks!

The museum features pioneer and Native American exhibits, mostly related to the Sioux tribe. It’s free and air-conditioned which are always good reasons to go aside from the wonderful artifacts.

There are helpful volunteer guides and many visitors say they could easily spend more than two hours enjoying all of the detailed exhibits. 

Then Off to Timber Lake

Travel west on Hwy 14 and then North on Hwy 63 towards Timber Lake. It’s about a 2-hour drive but Hwy 63 takes you through the scenic Cheyenne River Reservation.

You will not want to miss out on the Timber Lake and Area Museum. This is an incredible, small-town museum. The museum boasts permanent exhibits of fossils, traditional Lakota clothing, original art, and a specimen of a T-Rex.  

If the museum is closed, you can find the museum curator next door at the Timber Lake Topic, the area’s local newspaper and she will open it for you.

Next Stop: Mobridge

Leaving Timber Lake, it is a short drive on Hwy 20 E to Mobridge on the beautiful Missouri River.  Mobridge calls itself the Bridge City.  

Mobridge is a bustling, western town on the river.  It has numerous restaurants, two grocery stores, an art gallery, a bike trail along the river, and the Klein Museum.  

Klein Museum

The Klein Museum is a must see, and at $5 it is an incredible bargain. 

It features numerous collections of turn-of-the-century local and Native American memorabilia and history. A favorite are the stories and photographs about the life of Sitting Bull, the great Sioux leader who is from that area. 

Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo

The annual Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo held July 2 – 4 is an exciting event if you can time your visit accordingly.  

It includes a carnival, parade, and a huge fireworks display. 

Sculpture Scavenger Hunt

There are a couple of impressive sculptures in town created by internationally-known sculptor John Lopez.

At the end of Main Street is “Walley Up,” is his whimsical, scrap metal sculpture of a rodeo cowboy riding a walleye. 

If you go by the high school, you can find a life-size sculpture of a tiger by him as well.  There’s lots to explore in this prairie town.

Mobridge Campgrounds

For camping, Mobridge has two campgrounds located on the Missouri River: Indian Creek State Park, as well as The Bay. 

The Bay is operated by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe just across the bridge. Big bonus, it is only $15 a night for senior citizens. It’s also down the road from their casino if you enjoy a bit of gambling.

Both of these campgrounds are on our new RV Lifestyle map!

Join our Group Travel Map!

Think of this as a group travel journal! We've been adding our favorite places all across the country and now you can, too! Every day more and more gets added by RVers just like you!

To add your own locations, you need to get the free app for your smartphone so you can add spots and share them with others as you travel! Click the link in the lower-right corner of the map and start adding YOUR favorite places. Already we've found many new places to explore during our RV adventures and you will too!

Together, we can make this a huge resource for the RV community!

Continuing our adventure through Central South Dakota – Scenic Drive to Lemmon

The next day head about an hour and a half west on Hwy 12 to the exciting, frontier town of Lemmon. 

This is one of the most incredible, scenic drives in the entire area. Along the way, you will cross over the huge Grand River Valley. 

It is like going back in time thousands of years. Perhaps this is why the Grand River Valley is one of the most prolific dinosaur digs in the world.  

Speaking of dinosaurs…

Grand River Museum

The Grand River Museum in Lemmon is very interesting.  It boasts an incredibly rich display of dinosaur bones and fossils.  One display even lets you touch a dinosaur bone, and THAT is quite an experience.  

It is open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM- 5:30 PM and Sunday from 12 – 5 PM.  

John Lopez’ Art Gallery

Lemmon is also home to John Lopez’s Kokomo Gallery located on Main Street. 

Mrs. Lopez, John’s mother, can be found there most days (you might even see John) and she has a wealth of knowledge regarding her son’s art.  

The gallery is open May 1 – October 30, Monday through Saturday from 10 AM – 3 PM. 

Lemmon Petrified Park and Museum

Don’t miss out on the Lemmon Petrified Park and Museum, 3 acres of unique, amazing displays of petrified wood. 

The park was built in 1933 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Food & Stay

After visiting these attractions, you might want to grab a meal at one of the local eateries, including the Chinese Garden or one of the great steakhouses. 

There are a few RV hookups in town or just 12 miles south on Hwy 73 there is Shadehill Reservoir Recreation Center.

If you want to say that you traveled to North Dakota, just cross the train tracks at the north end of Main Street and you’re there.

That Concludes this Wild West Tour

These are just a few of the things to see on your wild, wild west adventure in Central South Dakota. Stay 3 days or explore for a week. There’s plenty to see and experience and memories to gain.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-08-29

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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