At this Great Place in South Dakota, visitors are able to explore the great outdoors and soak up a bit of the area’s history.

Lake Herman State Park is situated in southeast South Dakota where thousands of years ago melting glacial ice formed a 1,350-acre lake. Today, the state park, located on a peninsula, offers a great view of the lake, recreational opportunities and a taste of history.

It was long before the days of RVing and camping in the modern way that this area was used for camping. Even before the arrival of white settlers, Native Americans used this location for shelter and refuge while traveling to the nearby Pipestone quarries.

However, one of the first permanent settlers here was the Herman Luce family. His cabin, which still stands in the park, was built in 1871 from oak logs and served as a United States Land Office. In 1977, the Herman Luce Cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Canoe and kayak rentals are available for those who want to explore the lake and the surrounding scenery. Both a campground (with 72 campsites) and camping cabins (2 cabins, each sleeps 4 people) are available, along with a ski beach, playground, boat ramp, and the ability to check out fishing gear on site.

The park is located just outside of Madison. Reservations for camping can be made at or by calling 1-800-710-2267. Campsites are open May-October and the camping cabins are open year-round.



Mount Rushmore Quarter Design

by admin on December 11, 2012 · 3 comments

The U.S. Mint has recently announced their “America the Beautiful” series of quarters that features national parks and sites around the United States. Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota is proud to be on 1 of 5 of these designs in the first set to be released around December of 2013.

More information about the program and series can be found here: .


Posted in History

Christmas at the Capitol

by admin on December 3, 2012 · 0 comments

Enjoy a glimpse at the decorated South Dakota State Capitol for this holiday season. Pictures and video don’t do it justice. Go ahead. Drive to Pierre, immerse yourself in this beauty! ‘Tis the season!



Main Street Square Ice Rink

by Katlyn Richter on November 16, 2012 · 0 comments

By Rhea Landholm, office coordinator at Main Street Square and Destination Rapid City

The Main Street Square ice skating rink is one of the newest places to visit in Rapid City, and was even voted the best “first date” place in Rapid City.

Did you come see us last year? If you did, you would see that the rink is in an oval shape, and is bigger than New York City’s Rockefeller Center. There are plenty of places where people can sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. There’s even a fire pit where you can warm up.

If you’ve only seen Main Street Square during the summer, you know that the distinct oval shape is there, circling a lawn and the interactive fountain area. Main Street Square staff has been working hard the past couple of weeks to erect dasher boards, and to lie down glycol matting in that oval (right over the green grass).

This week, staff has been spraying water on the mats with the hose, and the chiller, a large refrigeration system that is set up in the alley, is pumping glycol underground to those mats, to freeze the ice.

Ice Skating at Main Street Square 2011


The ice should be ready and glistening by Saturday morning, when the rink will open at 10 a.m. When you arrive, be sure to visit the Skate Shack to pay for a wristband that allows you onto the ice (and sign a waiver, or have an adult sign for you). We also rent ice skates if you don’t have your own. Helmets are free!

Once you have a wristband, you may skate the entire day. So, skate for an hour, then visit local shops and restaurants, and return to the rink later for more skating.

I can’t wait to glide across the fresh ice, and watch the mini-Zamboni drive in circles cleaning the ice.

Join us at Main Street Square in Downtown Rapid City for [FUN]²!

Check out Main Street Square’s Facebook page too – just search for Main Street Square!


The Governor’s Mansion in Pierre South Dakota sitting near the Capitol and Capitol Lake were open for tours during the summer months. Now, First Lady Linda Daugaard has announced that mansion will also be open for Christmas Tours. While you’re in the area, don’t miss a tour of the the Christmas at the Capitol where dozens of trees are adnorned in sparkling lights.

First Lady Linda Daugaard announced that public tours to view Christmas finery at the Governor’s Mansion will be offered on two Mondays in December. 

“The Governor’s Mansion is beautiful during the holiday season, and Dennis and I would like to share that with all South Dakotans,” the First Lady said.  “We are so very fortunate to live in this home, but it really belongs to all of us.” 

The holiday tours are scheduled for Dec. 10 and Dec. 17.  Six tours will be conducted each day (9 a.m.; 10 a.m.; 11 a.m.; 1 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 3 p.m.). 

Those wishing to take the Governor’s Mansion tours must obtain tickets (free) in advance from the Pierre Chamber of Commerce.  There is a limit of 40 people per tour. 

The Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 605-224-7361.



Our South Dakota

by Katlyn Richter on August 24, 2012 · 0 comments

“Our South Dakota: Big Land / Big Ideas / Big Heart” is on exhibit in the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society located at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

It’s a great exhibit featuring the landscapes of South Dakota from past to present. You’re able to measure yourself up to a full-size replica of George Washington’s nose on Mount Rushmore – the nose is over 15-feet tall! Sit down, and gets hands on with an old-school typewriter and type out a memo to a friend, you could take it home and send it in the snail mail with a stamp!

You’ll also have the opportunity to get in touch with nature. There are fox skins, skunk skins all for you to touch, feel, explore and learn from inside this great exhibit. Oh, I can’t forget to mention the poop samplings that are lying around. Don’t be surprised if it looks like a previous visitor brought along a buffalo, coyote or prairie dog. Not to worry, the samplings are only rubber, but they sure look real!

Climb into a real combine cab and see what it is like to harvest a field. Or, see how South Dakota measures up in size to other states in our nation by grabbing a Velcro state of South Dakota and moving it along the country side to see how the size compares. We look tiny compared to Texas, but massive compared to many eastern states. It’s an interesting hands on exhibit that is great for adults and children of all ages. Get to know South Dakota a little bit better by visiting this exhibit at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

Plan your visit to see “Our South Dakota: Big Land / Big Ideas / Big Heart.”



Black Hills Playhouse

by Katlyn Richter on July 26, 2012 · 1 comment

Heading into the “backwoods” doesn’t usually involve high quality theater productions performed by professional actors and artists; but at the Black Hills Playhouse, that is exactly what theater-goers discover.


Nestled amongst the Black Hills in Custer State Park, the theater is located near famous attractions such as Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial and can be found via favorite scenic roads such as Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.
Each summer, theater professionals, students and enthusiasts flock to the Black Hills to participate in and watch a variety of musical, comedy and drama productions. Previous productions included “Godspell” and “Run for Your Wife”. July and August productions include the “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “The Three Musketeers”.
A Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project, the Black Hills Playhouse is one of the oldest summer stock theaters in the country.  In 1946, the theater program director at the University of South Dakota brought a troupe of student actors to the Black Hills to perform at various theaters. They stayed at the old CCC camp and returned to perform there in the following years. Since then, the theater has grown to become the renowned program it is today.
The ambiance of the theater is an unusual combination of beautiful wood beams and low balconies that makes for an enchanting experience and seats 300 patrons- and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Visitors to the Black Hills will enjoy the memorable opportunity to sit back and enjoy the show at the Black Hills Playhouse.

{ 1 comment }


Trail of Governors

by Katlyn Richter on July 18, 2012 · 5 comments

The Trail of Governors is a non-profit group working to celebrate leaders who have shaped South Dakota into the state it is today.  The Trail of Governors will be creating and erecting life-sized statues of all past South Dakota governors and forming a “trail” of the statues from the State Capitol grounds to downtown Pierre near the Missouri River.

Photo credit to Trail of Governors Foundation

 Photo credit to Trail of Governor’s Foundation

The intention of the trail’s design is to allow people to walk along the trail and learn more about not only South Dakota’s former governors, but also to learn more about the state’s history.

Recently, the Trail of Governors Foundation placed the first two statues of the project in their permanent places.  Walter Dale Miller’s statue stands near Burke Real Estate and Harlan Bushfield’s statue is on Historic Pierre Street. Arthur Mellette will be placed at the Hughes County Courthouse in late July.

The next series of Governors have been announced for next year. They include Governor Frank Farrar, Harvey Wollman, and Bill Janklow. Both Farrar and Wollman are still living, which the Trail of Governors chairman notes, “makes the project even more special.”

Artists from across the state have been commissioned to create the life-sized statues. Artists include John Lopez, Lemmon; James Michael Maher, Belle Fourche; and Lee Leuing and Sherri Treeby, Aberdeen. Each statue costs around $68,000 and the money is raised through private sources – each statue is allowed to have four sponsors.


guest blog post by Josh Morrison

Growing up on a farm in eastern South Dakota I have some pretty strong memories about summer trips to the Black Hills. I clearly recall the dry pine scented air, the red dirt in the Spearfish area, and Friendship Monument on Mount Roosevelt.

As a kid I was fascinated with the almost castle-like structure out in the forest. The 32-foot tower in the woods was proposed by Seth Bullock as a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt. The Society of Black Hills Pioneers built the tower and dedicated it on July 4th, 1919. And, recent restoration and preservation efforts ensure that Friendship Monument will there for many years to come.

Friendship Tower - photo by Josh Morrison

The loop trail to the Tower is located at the Black Hills National Forest Mount Roosevelt Picnic Area. The trail is about 3/4 of a mile long, with an elevation gain of 180 feet from the parking lot to the monument. Even if Friendship Tower didn’t exist, this is worthwhile hike. There are amazing view of the plains and surrounding peaks. From the viewing platform near the tower you can see nearby Spearfish, plus the Bearlodge Mountains in Wyoming and views of the plains all the way to North Dakota. From other parts of the trail Bear Butte, Terry Peak, Custer Peak, Harney Peak and the cities of Lead and Deadwood are all visible.

View of Spearfish – Photo by Josh Morrison

Today, I enjoy taking visitors and my own children up to Mount Roosevelt. This is the perfect hike for people of all ages. The trail is short and easy, but the vistas are spectacular. It is a memorable hike that everyone is sure to enjoy (and it is free). You can make and afternoon out of the visit and pack a lunch to enjoy at the picnic area. There is a vault toilet available, but no fresh water.

Getting to the picnic area is pretty simple. From Deadwood head North on Highway 85 for just over a mile and then turn left on Mount Roosevelt Road (also the turn for the Lodge at Deadwood). Continue on the road for about two miles to the parking area. The first portion of the road is paved, the second part gravel. The gravel road is not plowed in the winter, so save this for the summertime.

If you feel like doing a bit more hiking, visit the grave of Seth Bullock. It is located just across the gulch above Deadwood’s Mount Moriah. Seth requested to be buried above the cemetery with a view to Mount Roosevelt.

For a video driving tour from Deadwood to Mount Roosevelt, check out this link

Author Bio
Josh Morrison grew up on a farm near Mitchell. He and his family have called Deadwood home for over a decade now. They love to get out and enjoy the Black Hills whenever they can.



Black Hills Caves

by Katlyn Richter on June 26, 2012 · 0 comments

Mysterious, alluring and wild, Black Hills caves have stood the test of time and provide enjoyment for today’s visitors, making them some of South Dakota’s Greatest Places.

Wind Cave National Park

[read more]