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Visitor Information

Send away for the South Dakota Vacation Guide, which includes a state map, a guide to the Sioux Nation, an outdoor adventure guide, and a map of the Badlands and Black Hills. You can reach the South Dakota Department of Tourism and States Development at Capitol Lake Plaza, 711 E. Wells Ave., c/o 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501 (tel. 800/S-DAKOTA; www.travelsd.com). For drivers, from May to September there are 11 staffed Visitors Centers located along Interstates 90 and 29, all of which have picnic and animal exercise areas. Also, the Department of Tourism created an audio road series, available on cassette or CD, called "South Dakota Stories," which highlights sites of interest, history, and roadside attractions along various routes.

Getting There

By Plane -- South Dakota's two major airports are Sioux Falls Regional (tel. 605/336-0762; www.sfairport.com) and Rapid City Regional (tel. 800/357-9998; www.rcgov.com/Airport).

By Train -- South Dakota is not serviced by Amtrak or any other passenger train system.

By Car -- South Dakota has two major interstate highways. I-90 runs east to west, entering the state in Iowa near Sioux Falls, running through Mitchell and Rapid City, and exiting west into Wyoming; I-29 runs north to south, starting in North Dakota and heading south through the city of Brookings, Sioux Falls, and out into Iowa.

Special Events

In one of the most demonstrative examples of tenacity, artist Korczak Ziolkowski, who also worked on nearby Mount Rushmore, began carving the Crazy Horse Memorial by hand in 1948 right into Thunderhead Mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Unfortunately, Ziolkowski died before its completion, but work continues on it under the close supervision of his wife and children. While you can visit the area anytime you want, there is only one time of year when you can actually walk on Thunderhead Mountain. See the magnificent in-progress sculpture of the beloved Lakotan chief up close by participating in the annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch (tel. 605/673-4681; www.crazyhorsememorial.org), a 10-mile trek up the mountain held the second weekend in June.

Not too far away, the weeklong Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (tel. 605/720-0800; www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com) is held annually in August in the tiny city of Sturgis. The rally, the oldest and largest of its kind in the country, swells Sturgis's tiny 6,000-plus population to nearly a half-million visiting bike enthusiasts. Located 24 miles from Rapid City, tattooed bikers and stroller-pushing parents mingle among the revving, racing, revelry, and stunts of the 10-day tribute to motorcycles. If you go, don't miss the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, 999 Main St. (tel. 605/347-2001; www.sturgismuseum.com), where you can see many rare and vintage bikes on display.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.