While South Dakota is known for its cold winters, the cool and crisp fall temperatures make this state the perfect destination for outdoor fun over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. By staying at one of many South Dakota vacation rentals, you’ll be in the heart of historical towns, unforgettable museums, festivals, and landmarks. Choose one of these 11 cities when making your plans for the weekend.
If you’re an art enthusiast, then Custer is the place to go over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. This South Dakota city is home to the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival that hosts more than 150 arts and crafts vendors and features a chili cook-off, Dutch oven cook-off, and buffalo roundup with local cowboys and cowgirls in Custer State Park. Continue exploring this small town with a stop in at the Jewel Cave National Monument or a daredevil experience on the Wild Caving Tour.
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Become part of the Wild West on your holiday weekend getaway when visiting Deadwood. This historical South Dakota town features a Main Street Historic Street Show where you and the family can watch a shootout between the bad guys and the good guys. The cool October temperatures are ideal for taking the walking tour that leads you down the roads Calamity Jane once traveled. If you’re seeking off-road adventures, sign up for an excursion with Black Hills Off-Road Rentals.
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3. Sioux Falls
The crisp and cool October air adds comfort to your getaway, while the fall foliage enhances your trip to the Big Sioux River when booking a vacation rental in Sioux Falls. Take in the scenery at the Falls Park where you can snap a family photo in front of the waterfalls on the river. Spend some time indoors when touring the USS South Dakota Battleship Museum, or put on your hiking shoes to explore the 19 miles of trails in the city park.
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A holiday weekend getaway in South Dakota’s capital city gives you a chance to tour the Cultural Heritage Center and learn about the gold rush city. Since the weather has not yet turned to snow in October, you can also enjoy outdoor activities when taking the kids to the science playground the South Dakota Discovery Center. Climb the tree house or dig up fossils before heading back to your vacation rental to sit by the fire.
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Enjoy the scenery of fall, mild temperatures, and pumpkins when attending the Newton Hills Festifall celebration at Newton Hills State Park. This annual event includes hay wagon rides for the kids, pumpkin carving demonstrations, and live bluegrass music. When it’s time to wind down for the day, head to nearby Inwood for a glass of wine at the Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery.
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6. De Smet
Step back into time when touring the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead in DeSmet for the weekend. With mild temperatures in October, you can spend your weekend walking around the Laura’s Living Prairie, the Wilder Welcome Center, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial. Soak up even more history when viewing the historical artifacts at the De Smet Depot Museum.
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The cool fall weather makes it the perfect time to take in some Midwest charm with a getaway in Aberdeen. Treat the kids to a day at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center, complete with indoor pools and slides, or head outdoors to Storybook Land to pet the barn animals. Storybook Land also features attractions in the Land of Oz, where you and your family can visit Dorothy’s home or enjoy the simulated tornado experience.
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Opt for an educational experience by making Mitchell your vacation destination for an October weekend. This South Dakota city is at the heart of the farming and agricultural industry, featuring the Corn Palace. Take a tour of the facility and learn how the Native Americans grew corn in the area. A stroll down Main Street reveals a haven for shoppers, with western wear and specialty shops lining the historic district.
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9. Rapid City
Rapid City is a popular destination year-round with access to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands National Park. However, if you’re a beer enthusiast, you’re in luck because the city hosts the Bierborse beer festival at Main Street Square over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. Enjoy live music and craft beers before retreating back to your cozy vacation rental for the evening. There’s something for the kids in this South Dakota city, too. Spend the day at the WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort that is home to water cannons and towering slides.
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Admire the views of the Missouri River from your vacation rental by booking a place in Yankton for the holiday weekend. Take the historic, self-guided tour of the town’s buildings and homes before hiking to the Meridian Bridge for a family photo. The Landing is a hot spot for fine dining and craft beers. You can also dive into the deep dish at Charlie’s Pizza House when hunger strikes.
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An October getaway in Menno gives you and the family a chance to taste authentic German food at the Sodak Stamm Oktoberfest, held at the Menno City-School Auditorium. German bands provide live music, while the locals serve up their favorite recipes. After you fill your bellies, opt for an evening of nightlife at The Schnitz, a local bar with historical artifacts hanging on the walls.
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