South Dakota is exploding with endless dog-friendly adventures. After our rejuvenating hiking day in Sioux Falls, we headed out to Rapid City, South Dakota. We had a few stops to make on the way, starting with one of Mom and Dad’s favorite quirky roadside attractions in America: the Corn Palace.
The locals in Mitchell, South Dakota, are extremely proud of their palace of corns, and boast that it is the “world’s only corn palace.” It was built in the 1800s to show the abundance of corn present in South Dakota and to attract new residents to the area. Every spring, this building is completely adorned with thousands of bushels of corn from South Dakota, and the art is changed annually. To be honest, staring at the corns just made me super hungry.
We stopped at another quirky roadside attraction, Wall Drug, after being on the road all day. Wall, South Dakota, is a massive tourist trap town, with tons of little shops to get local souvenirs and delicacies such as chokecherry jelly. Mom took some hilariously weird pictures of me in their backyard area.
We drove 10 minutes from Wall, and we stopped at one of our new favorite national parks in America: the Badlands.
I could not keep my head inside the car! My jowls were blowing in the wind, but I didn’t care. The Badlands were like nothing I’d ever seen before. Mom said the geology of the Badlands is made up of intricate pinnacles, spires, buttes, and grassy prairies. The park is home to buttloads of prairie dogs, white-tailed deer, bison, and more. I wanted to play with the prairie dogs, but they kept chirping angrily at me, so Mom and Dad vetoed my plan. Plus, dogs have to stay on a leash and aren’t allowed to hike through the park because of the dangerous wildlife.
We went off the beaten path and met a bison. He smelled delicious!
After a long day of nature-watching, we drove a bit out of the way to get to Bobkat’s Purple Pie Place near Mt. Rushmore. Mt. Rushmore doesn’t allow pups, but Mom and Dad had already visited. Mom and Dad think the Purple Pie Place has the yummiest raspberry rhubarb jalapeno pie, and I even got to indulge in some vanilla ice cream. I always cry when I eat ice cream; it’s just that amazing. We met a purple pig, and Mom was a little overexcited to make me pose with it.
We finally ended our long, quirky day at the Best Western Ramkota hotel in Rapid City. The hotel had a rustic lodge-style theme, buttery beds, and, the best part, no pet fees or breed restrictions. We had a lovely, cozy night before our last long drive out to Portland, Oregon.
We will definitely make a point to visit South Dakota again in the future for its raw and rugged beauty and dog-friendly, fun activities.
Ratings for South Dakota:
The Corn Palace:
The Corn Palace is a silly and quirky destination for people, but pups will be bored and confused by the stop. If you decide to go with your pet, I recommend making it a quick pee and picture stop.
Wall Drug is another quirky roadside attraction with some interesting local delicacies. The backyard area is pet friendly and you can take silly pictures with your pup.
Badlands National Park:
As stunning and gorgeous as the park was, unfortunately it was not as dog-friendly as we hoped. There are no hiking trails for dogs due to the dangerous wildlife and enormous prairie dog population. However, taking a drive through with your pup and having a picnic lunch would be well worth the trip.
Purple Pie Place:
The Purple Pie Place had remarkably delicious food, and the owners are so sweet, they will bring pups out their own water bowls.
Best Western Ramkota Hotel:
Best Westerns are a great dog-friendly hotel chain. Not every Best Western allows pups, so make sure to call in advance, see if they have dog-friendly room availability, and check that they don’t have expensive pet-cleaning fees. I gave this particular location two paws up because it had a fun theme, the beds were great, and there were no pet fees or breed restrictions.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, where we finally move to Portland, Oregon!
This blog is a member of the #feetdotravel community on Facebook; join us to share travel stories, get travel advice, or read travel inspiration.