Memorial Day weekend is a great time to travel and celebrate the service of military veterans. It also marks the start of the summer season. Look forward to enjoying swimming pools, amusement parks, and outdoor areas. From small town attractions to sprawling cities, South Dakota offers something exciting for everyone. Book a stay at one of many South Dakota vacation rentals to enjoy easy access to the best activities. Check out the most noteworthy Memorial Day weekend getaway spots in South Dakota.

1. Hot Springs

Enjoy the great outdoors over this holiday weekend in Hot Springs. Start your trip with a visit to Evans Plunge Mineral Springs. This local hot spot is a massive indoor pool featuring water from the local mineral springs, and kids love the slides into the deep end. See the stunning mammoth at the Mammoth Site. Here, there are the fossilized remains of these behemoths in a sinkhole. Take a tour of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium. This sanitarium once cared for returning, injured servicemen through the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The grounds offer walking paths to enjoy the warm weather.

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2. Deadwood

Kids love the small town of Deadwood, which looks like it did during the Old Wild West days. Start by soaking up the ambiance of the downtown historic district and find a good spot for the Main Street Historic Street Show sponsored by the city. As the show plays out, everyone waits in anticipation for the final shootout. Take a tour of the Broken Boot Gold Mine, which guides guests below the ground and into the mine for a unique experience. Learn more about the bison that once wandered the area at the Tatanka Story of Bison and see the sculptures of Native Americans, bisons, and cowboys.

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3. Rapid City

Outdoor lovers visiting Rapid City can book vacation rental close to either Mount Rushmore National Park or Badlands National Park. The Rapid City Historic District Tour is a great way to start your visit as you walk the downtown streets seeing all the sights and the statues of past American presidents. On the road to Mount Rushmore, stop at the Reptile Gardens. This large reptile zoo offers the chance to wander among the giant tortoises, watch the prairie dogs romping, and learn more about animals that slither.

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4. Sioux Falls

With stunning waterfalls making up one of the city’s borders, Sioux Falls is a great place to start your summer off right. Whip up some fried chicken and pack it up for a picnic at Falls Park before leaving your vacation rental. This park incorporates the waterfalls that give the town its name along with numerous walking trails and sculptures. The Great Plains Zoo is an ideal location on a summer day, and the Memorial Day weekend kicks off the chance to feed a giraffe.

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5. Custer

Take advantage of the first days of summer in Custer. In Custer State Park, numerous walking trails give you an opportunity to view birds and wildlife. Bring your swimsuit because the lake inside this park has a beach, where kids can splash around in the water. Hit the trails on horseback when you book a day of horseback riding with Rockin’ R Rides Inc. This local group offers half and full day rides along with lessons for beginners.

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6. Pierre

Pierre is the capital city, and a good way to start your stay is with a visit to the South Dakota State Capitol. Dating back to the early 1900s, this building features a spiral marble staircase, stunning rotunda, a representation of the Tree of Life, and a miniature collection of dresses worn by past first ladies. Kids enjoy an afternoon at the SD Discovery Center and Aquarium, where they learn more about science through the hands-on exhibits. Remember South Dakota’s fallen soldiers at the Flaming Fountain Memorial on this patriotic holiday.

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7. Keystone

Let the kids play with a trip to Keystone. Spend at least one day at the Rush Mountain Adventure Park. The Rush Cave tour takes you below ground to see the intricate system of caves, and the knowledgeable guide tells you more about the geology. After that hit the rides. Teens love mountain coaster and the ziplines that let you soar high above the ground with views for miles. Try your luck with a gold mining at the Big Thunder Gold Mine. This attraction includes a museum, replica mine, a tour of an old mine, and the chance to pan for gold.

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8. Lemmon

Feel like you’re walking on another planet with a trip to Lemmon over the Memorial Day weekend. Take advantage of the beautiful first days of summer by visiting the Lemmon’s Petrified Wood Park. The petrified trees stand out of the ground and many have been carved into shapes, including one of the country’s oldest wishing wells. Don’t forget to toss in some change to make a wish. Stop by the Hugh Glass Monument to honor one of the bravest men around – Glass once fought off a grizzly bear and then walked 200 miles for help.

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9. Sturgis

Explore the outdoor world over the Memorial Day weekend in Sturgis, which sits just north of the Black Hills. Known for its yearly motorcycle meeting, Sturgis has a lot to offer in the warmer months. Go hiking out at Bear Butte State Park, a massive stone butte set in a field of greenery. This area was a significant religious area for the Lakota Native Americans. Take a tour of Fort Meade that dates back to the 1870s. This military fort protected settlers from Native American attacks during the Gold Rush years.

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