South Dakota Vacation: The Badlands

Today I'm posting the last of my vacation adventures. I really love posting these every year as I get to relive the experience over, at least in a small way. We were only in South Dakota four days, but we really packed in as much as possible during that time. On our way home, we drove through Badlands National Park. 

If you've never been to the Badlands, it's hard to describe the landscape to other people in a completely accurate way. It's unlike anything else you'll see. According to Wikipedia, Badlands National Park is an American national park located in southwestern South Dakota. The park protects 242,756 acres (379.3 sq mi; 982.4 km2) of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. The National Park Service manages the park, with the South Unit being co-managed with the Oglala Lakota tribe.”

My dad took me here on our two-week vacation back when I was a kid, but I didn't take my kids here when we were in South Dakota years later. One thing I don't remember about the Badlands is all the greenery. That's because it simply never looks like this. With all the rain that has slammed the Midwest this year, however, everything is as green as you'll ever see it...including the Badlands.

It was quite a beautiful contrast to see all that green against the desert-like peaks of the Park.

One of the nice things about the Badlands as that you're allowed to hike and camp anywhere you want restrictions. You, of course, assume all the risk, but the kids enjoyed being able to scramble all over everything.

The Park is ginormous, and one of the last areas you can stop and see on your way out is this one. It's so massive and so stark, that it reminds me of a mini-Grand Canyon. I've never actually been to the Grand Canyon, just to clarify, but I feel like this is what it would look like, only on a much larger scale.

For more information about the Badlands, click here. South Dakota is a wonderful place to take a vacation, whether you're outdoorsy or not, so if you'd like to start exploring that idea, click here.

I hope you have a great rest of your week. I'll be back on Saturday with a new post. Until then, plan your own adventure.


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