10 Reasons you should visit Hot Springs, SD
The Blacks Hills area of South Dakota is a very popular vacation destination and for good reason. There is so much to see and do there. One of the gems of the Black Hills is the town of Hot Springs. Located on the southern end of the Black Hills, Hot Springs is genuinely one of those towns that time forgot. Much of the downtown has the original sandstone buildings spread out along the Fall River. You don’t see many chain restaurants, hotels or stores here. Real people running small businesses.
We visited Hot Springs recently and took a couple days to visit as many local attractions and restaurants as we could. Here is a list of must see and do things in the Hot Springs Area.
Downtown Hot Springs– Walk the Freedom Trail along the Fall River to see downtown. Lots of shops and restaurants. Here are a few we visited and recommend: Wooleys Western Grill, The Vault, JP’s Family Dining, Chops and Hops, Mornin’ Sunshine,
Check out these panaramas of downtown Hot Springs:
If you are into 3d, here is a video of riding a motorcycle through Hot Springs:
Mammoth Site- This is a very unique place to visit. Educational and interesting for most ages. Great video to introduce you to what you will be seeing on your tour. This is the #1 attraction in Hot Springs as voted by the Tripadvisor contributors. For more on the Mammoth Site click HERE.
The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary- This is a must see for Horse and wildlife lovers. With over 1100 acres this sanctuary is home to 600 wild and rescued horses. You need reservations for tours so plan ahead. For more on the wild horse sanctuary click HERE.
Evans Plunge- This indoor pool is fed by natural springs. Not hot but still the water is nearly a consistent 87 degrees. There is an admission charge. Check with your hotel for discounts. For more information on Evans Plunge click HERE.
Wind Cave National Park- The visitor center for the park is only 11 miles north of Hot Springs. Bison, Elk and other wildlife roam the rolling prairie above ground while below, Wind Cave is one of the longest cave formations in the world. Tours are available. For more on Wind Cave National Park click HERE.
Badlands National Park- This is an easy day trip from Hot Springs. If you want you could combine this with other sites in the southern Black Hills for a day trip. For more on the Badlands National Park click HERE.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial- This iconic memorial is a realitively short distance north of Hot Springs. There is no admission charge but you pay for parking. If you have a motorhome it is very expensive to park at Mount Rushmore. For more about the memorial click HERE.
Custer State Park- 1300 buffalo roam freely through the park, often stopping traffic on the wildlife loop road. See buffalo up close and personal. For more on Custer State Park click HERE.
Southern Hills Golf Course- If you are a golfer this is a great course for you to try. Owned by the city of Hot Springs the rates are very reasonable and the views are spectacular. Check out these panaramas we took at different spots on the golf course:
For more on the Southern Hills Golf Course click HERE.
Angostura Reservior – This recreation area is just outside of Hot Springs. Lots of water related activies here as well as camping. For more on Angostura Reservior click HERE.
Cascade Falls and Waterfall- This would make a good stop after a tour of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Both are located just south of Hot Springs. Check out this panarama of the falls:
Needles Highway (SD Highway 87)
Although highway 87 starts just north of Hot Springs the “Needles” section is north of highway 16 and Custer State Park. 14 miles of sharp curves, towering granite spears and one lane tunnel make this a very interesting route to the many attractions in the Black Hills. For more on the Needles Highway click HERE.
Although we have been to the Black Hills many times, this was the first time that we stayed in Hot Springs. We really had a great time and found it to be an excellent base for visiting the attractions in the southern Black Hills. You definitely should consider staying in Hot Springs on your next trip to this area.
Captain Dan’s Tips: Walk the Freedon Trail to explore downtown Hot Springs. Spend a few days in Hot Springs so you have time to experience some of the great attractions mentioned above. Planning a trip to the Black Hills? Contact the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce for help in planning your trip. I know you will find the staff to be very helpful and friendly. Don’t forget to tell them Dan sent you. Looking for an affordable, clean, kid friendly hotel with free mini golf? We recommend the Hills Inn. For a great Inn for adults we recommend the FlatIron Historic Sandstone Inn.