The rock-studded Black Hills, monuments such as Mount Rushmore, and towns that hearken back to the Old West make South Dakota a special place to experience. Here, you can see herds of bison and wild horses out the door of your wood cabin. In the summer, ride horses or hike through the granite outcroppings of the Black Hills, or visit during the winter to enjoy downhill skiing and hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Ranging from historic Deadwood to the buttes and plains of Sturgis, here are the best places to book your cabin vacation rental in South Dakota.

1. Deadwood

Tucked away at the footsteps of the Black Hills Natural Forest sits Deadwood, an old town surrounded by granite hills that offer its own set of attractions at the door of your wilderness cabin. Pan for gold at Broken Boot Gold Mine, visit the Adams and Days of ’76 Museums and stroll along the George S. Mickelson Trail to see streams and small cascades. During the winter, drive 9 miles southwest to the Terry Peak Ski Area for some downhill skiing and snowboarding.

2. Hill City

This Old West city in the heart of the Black Hills is just minutes from monuments such as Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore, but booking a log cabin in Hill City also puts horseback riding, countless hiking trails, and rock-climbing at your fingertips. You can also explore Wades Gold Mill, see dinosaur skeletons at the Black Hills Institute on a rainy day, or take in the scenery while riding the 1880 Train on the Black Hills Central Railroad. For a winter vacation, enjoy some snowmobiling or cross-country skiing before warming up by the fire in your cozy South Dakota cabin.

3. Spearfish

This town skirts the northern borders of the Black Hills, offering trout streams for fly fishing and cabin vacation rentals amidst pine forests where visitors can spot prairie dogs and mountain goats. Explore the towering walls of Spearfish Canyon by foot during the warmer months or along the groomed snowmobile trails during the winter, and be sure to make a stop at Bridal Veil Falls that rests along the scenic byway. On a hot day, make a splash at the Spearfish Recreation and Aquatics Center.

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4. Keystone

Campgrounds and secluded log cabins abound in Keystone, an old-fashioned Western town in the Black Hills best known as the home of Mount Rushmore. It’s also a gateway to Custer State Park, with its roaming bison herds, miles of hiking trails, groomed snowmobiling trails, and snowshoeing excursions. At the south end of Keystone, hike the Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore National Monument for a unique perspective of the carved faces. While there, you’ll likely spot mountain goats climbing the granite rocks. Another draw is Horse Thief Lake just west of town, where you can walk the shoreline trail or go for a swim. Keystone also offers mini golf, a scenic tramway, the Big Thunder Gold Mine, and an adventure park for those seeking family-friendly entertainment.

5. Hot Springs

Bordering the Black Hills from the south, Hot Springs is a South Dakota destination where you can find a lake cabin on the Angostura Reservoir or a wilderness cabin vacation rental set against the towering Black Hills. You can also spot herds of horses at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, enjoy the springs themselves at Evans Plunge Mineral Springs, or see mammoth skeletons at the Mammoth Dig Site. Hike to the swimming hole at Cascade Falls during the summer, or enjoy winter hiking and snowmobiling through the snow-covered landscape during the winter.

6. Sturgis

The granite cliffs of the Black Hills give way to rolling plains, buttes, and lakes in Sturgis, a cozy small town with wood cabins offering sweeping views of the nearby hills as well as bison herds and pronghorn antelope. Bear Butte State Park lies just north of Sturgis, offering a recreational lake with a fishing dock and boat launch, an education center, and a trail to the summit offering panoramic views of four states. The town also boasts the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, and it lies 27 miles from Mystic Miner Ski Resort for skiing and snowboarding.

7. Lead

Just a few miles south of the museums and attractions of Deadwood, Lead is surrounded by the Black Hills National Forest with easy access to hiking trails and riding stables. Top attractions include the old Sanford Lab Homestake, the Black Hills Mining Museum, and the hiking trails and roaring cascades of Roughlock Falls State Nature Area. For a winter stay at a snow-covered log cabin in Lead, drive 5 miles south to Mystic Miner Ski Resort that offers green, blue, and black diamond runs to accommodate all experience levels. You also have easy access to the Terry Peak Ski Area on the western edge of Lead, and snowmobile rentals open doors to the area’s hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails.

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