Wondering What to Pack on Your South Dakota Vacation?
If you’re not interested in exchanging currencies, learning new languages (unless they’re Native American dialects) or researching cultural do’s and don’ts, South Dakota is a great trip for you! Obviously if you plan on riding any Rails to Trails, you’ll probably want to spend some time on a bike prior to your trip. That said, portions of the 109-mile Mickelson Trail can be very beginner-friendly, so you don’t need to do any serious training unless you’re aiming for a record time! The most important way to prepare, is to make sure that you’re a smart packer.
What to Pack for Your South Dakota Vacation
It largely depends on what time of year you’re visiting and the activities you plan on doing, but for the most part, the items below belong in your bag.
1. Camera – South Dakota is home to some pretty spectacular attractions including Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and the world’s only “corn palace.” It’s also home to some incredible state and national parks including Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and our personal favorite, the beautiful Black Hills National Forest. You’ll see some pretty amazing things in South Dakota, so bring your camera to capture the moments!
2. Comfortable, and Casual attire – Especially during the winter and summer months when temperatures are most extreme, it’s important to pack comfortable clothing. We recommend packing layers so you’re never caught off guard on those cooler mornings and evenings. Shorts and sandals are musts during July and August, and hats, gloves and boots are musts during January and February. Generally speaking, South Dakotans are laid back, so if you want to blend in with the locals, leave your fanciest duds at home. Plan to visit Sturgis? Pack anything leather and your bandanas!
3. Essentials for the Elements – A light rain jacket and/or umbrella are recommended for spring, summer and even fall vacations. Starting in November and running through March, you’ll probably want to pack your winter jacket as well as winter accessories to keep your feet, hands, and face warm. Before you decide to pack your snow boots, take a look at the forecast because chances are, you may not need them. Sun protection is also important—especially during the summer and at high altitudes and the eastern part of the state. South Dakota is one of the top five windiest states in the U.S., so we also recommend packing a windbreaker.
4. Active wear/gear – South Dakota is an underrated, oft-overlooked paradise for people who love outdoor recreation and activities. Hiking boots are a must if you plan on hiking up Harney Peak, the highest point peak east of the Rockies. If biking the historic 109-mile Mickelson trail is on your list of things to do, you’ll want to pack your cycling gear (Bike rentals are available along the trail.