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Journey through the Badlands: A Camper's Guide

Hiking and historic homesteads in America's heartland.

  • 9
  • 04:42
  • 214 mi
  • $31

Created by Coach-Net - May 11th 2016

South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is a treasure trove of green prairies, rich fossil beds, and a variety of wildlife. There are plenty of great activities to discover in the area surrounding the park, so set up camp at Sage Creek Campground, and get ready to explore. At Sage Creek Campground in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park you'll awaken to herds of buffalo, view breathtaking sunsets over waves of grassy prairies, visit historic homesteads and embark on incredible hikes.

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Midland, SD

1880 Town is an attraction for all ages, featuring 30 buildings, all of which were built between the 1880s and the 1920s. The town has authentic furniture and relics from the past; a museum dedicated to Casey Tibbs, the nine-time World Champion Rodeo Cowboy (yeehaw!); and even props from the movie "Dances with Wolves". We can’t guarantee that you’ll be dancing with any wolves, but we do know that you’re in for a good time. The site even offers costume rentals so you can fit right in with your surroundings.

Prairie Homestead

Built in 1909 by the Brown Family, the Prairie Homestead is one of the last remaining sod homes in the United States. Take a tour of the home, find some great souvenirs in the new gift shop, or get the whole family to dress up in period clothing (perfect for funny photo shoots). Make sure to check out their adorable prairie dogs, too. Bonus: Children under nine are able to go in free!

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was founded in 1999 in order to show Americans how close our country was to WWIII. The site is one of the only places that you’re able to view a real nuclear missile that was set up for use during the Cold War. A guided tour of the site includes silos as well as the control room. You’ll probably leave thinking that this place is... the bomb!

Castle Trail is the longest trail in Badlands National Park, spanning approximately 10 miles. Used far less than many of the other trails in the park, peaceful Castle Trail provides many opportunities for you to view the wildlife of the park. The trail also winds right by the Fossil Exhibit Trail, where you can view and read about fossil replicas.

Two Bit Saloon & Steakhouse

During your trip, stop by Two Bit Saloon & Steakhouse for a local experience—and some of the best burgers in South Dakota. Make sure to visit on a Friday or Saturday, as those are the only days that they serve their full menu. On weekends, the place is packed with locals, and that’s always a good sign.

Wall Drug Store

Wall Drug Store is an attraction not to be missed in South Dakota. The store grew famous for going from being a small drug store offering free ice water in the 1930s to growing into a massive tourist attraction. The store offers an old-fashioned soda fountain, five-cent coffee, and a variety of kitschy gifts for everyone in its labyrinthine complex of shops and restaurants. And don’t miss the 80-foot-tall dinosaur!

Sage Creek Campground

At Sage Creek Campground, you’ll get to camp out surrounded by Badlands beauty and native wildlife. This campground operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, but camping here is completely FREE! Keep in mind that the campground does not offer water, hookups, or bathroom facilities, but who needs those things when you’ve got cute prairie dogs and a beautiful sunrise?


Interior, SD

Badlands National Park is truly a divine demonstration of geologic beauty. Featuring a 60-mile multicolored wall of sediment layers, the park is also home to a whole host of buffalo, prairie dogs, and antelope. There’s even an opportunity to gaze at the ancient fossils of extinct creatures. The park is a treasure for all ages.

Rushmore Cave

We all have heard of Mount Rushmore, but how about Rushmore Cave? Wind your way through narrow passageways and view rare geological formations in South Dakota’s ninth largest cave. The guided tours are fun for the whole family, and you even can upgrade your ticket to include a ride on their famed zip-line. Kids also can pick out and crack open their own geodes. It’s a rockin’ time!

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A haven for earth and animal lovers alike, Badlands National Park offers a unique experience in the wild prairies of South Dakota. Get ready to camp under the stars and wake up next to buffalo on your next adventure of a lifetime.