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12 Best & Fun Things To Do In Hot Springs, South Dakota

What are some of the best things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota?

After all, when we think about the city in Hot Springs, South Dakota, what typically comes to mind?

Well for starters, the city of Hot Springs is the county seat of Fall River County in South Dakota. It is here in this area where the famous Fall River runs through the region. Asides from that however, the city itself is also a fairly small city to visit.

In fact, the entire size of Hot Springs, South Dakota is estimated to be around 4.34 square miles. But even though it is small, there are still quite a few people who live here. For instance, according to the 2019 Census, the population is estimated to be around 3,502.

With that being said, the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota is also one of the most popular cities to visit in the entire state. After all, for hundreds of years, many people have come to this area to bathe in the famous springs that surrounds the place.

After all, the springs here are even considered by the Sioux and Cheyenne people as being sacred.

Not only that, in the 19th century, many European settlers have come here to build a number of resorts that specializes in offering the springs as a service. And to this day, this area is still drawing in visitors from all around the world to visit these amazing springs.

But asides from that, the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota also has so many things for people to see or do. Some of the highlights include places like “Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, Black Hills wild Horse Sanctuary, Evans Plunge, Pioneer Museum”, and so much more.

And with an abundance of delicious restaurants, cute cafes, fun galleries, historic museums, and awesome attractions on site, visitors who come here will have the time of their life.

Which is why, if you’re wondering exactly what there is to see or do here while in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota, then you are in luck.

In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

So if you’re ready, lets get started!

Things To Do In Hot Springs, South Dakota

In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

1. Mammoth Site of Hot Springs

Mammoth Site of Hot Springs

If you’re going to be visiting the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota anytime soon, then one attraction you absolutely must visit is one known as the “Mammoth Site of Hot Springs”.

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs is one of the most popular tourist attractions around.

After all, it is currently still an active paleontological site as well as a museum here in this city. The entire area of this place surrounds a prehistoric sinkhole that formed and was consequently filled with various layers of sediments during the Pleistocene era. 

And what makes this sinkhole so special is that it includes the remains of many different flora and fauna which has been preserved through time and buried here in this area.

For instance, this sinkhole contains the remains of 61 mammoths, including 58 North American Columbian and three Woolly Mammoths. It is the world’s greatest concentration of mammoth remains.

Asides from that however, the site is also a museum that was established back in 1974.

Visitors who come to this museum and see and learn all about the discoveries that were made here on this site. For instance, visitors can go on a self guided tour to see the active dig site as well as see many Ice Age fossils.

There is also a gaming app and Summer educational programs for people to enjoy as well.

With all things being said, visiting the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs is truly one of the best things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

2. The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

Do you love horses?

If so, then one amazing place you should definitely check out while here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota is one known as the “Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary“.

Founded back in 1988 by Dayton O. Hyde, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is one of the greatest private wilderness areas in the country.

The entire sanctuary spans a whopping 11,000 acres wide and is completely private. It is currently being managed by the institute of Range and American Mustang, which is also founded by the same owner, Dayton O. Hyde.

This sanctuary is dedicated to the preservation of a balanced ecosystem of the Southern Black Hills.

Not only that, but the goal is to save this once sacred land full of rich Native American and Early Pioneer history from development, to preserve the natural habitat of the ingenious wildlife that lives on the land and to provide a home for unwanted American Mustangs.

It’s one of the few sanctuaries in the country where it not only provides freedom and protection for unadoptable and unwanted wild horses, but is also a research area helping solve wild horse herd manangement.

But even though the entire area is private, visitors are still allowed to come in during certain times of the year. Once inside, visitors are able to go on a guided tour of the sanctuary as well as take pictures with many of the horses roaming around.

It’s truly a fascinating experience and one of the most fun things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

3. Cascade Falls and Swimming Hole

Cascade Falls and Swimming Hole

Nowadays, when people think of a swimming hole, they usually think of a cement square that is filled with water and have a variety of beach chairs laying around it.

However, back many years ago, a swimming hole was actually a place out in the wild where people can find pockets of water for them to swim in.

And here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota, there is still one of the most popular and historical swimming holes currently open in this area. Known as the “Cascade Falls and Swimming Hole“, it is a place where people have gone swimming for hundreds of years.

This swimming hole has its water come from the falls that originates about two miles upstream at Cascade Springs, where a series of six artesian springs feed ever-warm, 67-degree water into Cascade Creek.

Because of this, many locals and tourists from all over love to come here and take a dip. It’s also one of the only places along the creek that is recommended for swimming. After all, the water here isn’t too fast and visitors can find different depths of water going around.

Alongside the swimming hole, one of the most popular attractions for people to see here is the “Cascade Falls”, which is a miniature waterfall that probably has a height of about 10 feet.

It’s a beautiful sight to see and one where visitors will definitely get a lot of joy out of it.

Not only that, but because of the temperature of the waters around here, it allows for some rare plants to be grown here as well. Things like fern, prairie gentian and orchid are all growing about.

So with that being said, if you want to see a beautiful swimming hole or rare plants, or maybe even the falls itself, this is one place everyone should visit.

4. Big Time Pizza

Big Time Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza?

And here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota, there is an absolutely amazing pizza restaurant for people to visit.

Known as “Big Time Pizza“, they are a popular restaurant that specializes in serving up delicious pizzas for people to try. Many locals and tourists drive from all over just to come here and eat their pizzas.

In fact, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire region of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Visitors who come here will find a simple yet elegant menu filled with some of the most delicious foods anyone has ever seen. Some of the highlights include pizzas like All Meat Pizza, Pepperoni Pizza, Chef’s Supreme Pizza, Big Kahuna Pizza and so much more.

And if you don’t like pizza, you’ll be happy to know that they even have some subs as well.

But one of the best things about this place is that all of the foods here are priced really affordably. Nothing is overly expensive and all of the foods taste absolutely amazing.

Plus, the staff and workers who work here are so amazingly nice. They truly care about the customers and will go above and beyond to make sure their dining experience is as good as it can possibly be.

So with that being said, if you are ever in the mood for some delicious pizzas or subs, then definitely consider coming here to “Big Time Pizza”. You will absolutely love it!

5. Angostura Recreation Area

Angostura Recreation Area

One of the best places anyone can ever visit while here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota is that of a place called the “Angostura Recreation Area”.

Angostura Recreation Area, although not really located inside of the city of Hot Springs, is only located a few minutes away and is absolutely worth the trip. This recreation area is basically a nature lovers dream come true.

Built back in 1954, fiver years after the Angostura Dam created the reservoir, it is located about 10 miles south of the city of Hot Springs. Many locals and tourists love to come here because of the vast amount of things they are able to do.

For instance, this entire area is filled with breathtaking, scenic views of the entire region. It offers crystal clear waters, 36 miles of shoreline, and some of the finest sandy beaches in the state. Because of this, many people love to come here to enjoy some recreational activities.

For instance, some activities that people can do here includes things like biking, birdwatching, disc golf, hiking, horseshoes, volleyball, and so much more.

And because there is also a body of water on-site as well, visitors can also enjoy some water related activities. Things like fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming are all some of the things that people can do.

The area also has a few campsites as well as some camping cabins for people to use who are wanting to stay the night. Plus, entrance into this site is also fairly cheap as it only costs around $8 dollars a vehicle to enter.

Overall, if you are a fan of nature or love having fun with recreational activities, then this place is totally for you. Definitely one of the best things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

6. Evans Plunge Mineral Springs

Evans Plunge Mineral Springs

One of the most unique and interesting places to visit while here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota, is a place known as “Evans Plunge Mineral Springs”.

After all, the entire city of Hot Springs is famously known for having some of the best hot spring waters around for people to use. Even back many hundreds of years ago, the Lakota and Cheyenne people knew about this place and used the springs to treat their bodies.

And here at “Evans Plunge Mineral Springs“, they offer a service where people can go and bathe in these waters. In fact, this place was originally built in 1890 over a number of small, sparkling springs and also one large spring of mineral waters too.

Because of this, Evans Plunge is basically a huge indoor pool that is filled with naturally warm mineral water from the local thermal springs.

And what’s neat about these springs is that the largest spring here, at the north end of the Plunge, is known as the “Original Indian Spring”. Many Native Americans have bathed in this springs healing water as well as drinking it too.

Today, visitors from all over the country can come here and enjoy their time bathing in these springs. It’s basically been transformed into a modern day recreation and rejuvenation center.

Visitors who come here can enjoy things like swimming, floating, soaking and more in the mineral spring waters. Not only that, but they even offer activities like swing rings, water basketball, water volleyball and more for people to enjoy.

Asides from that, the center also has 2 hot tubs, a sauna, steam room, weight room, cardio room and spinning room for people to use as well.

Overall, visiting Evans Plunge is a great way to help rejuvenate ones body while also being a fun place to enjoy. Truly one of the most interesting things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

7. Pioneer Museum

Pioneer Museum

Ever wanted to learn about the history of this area?

If so, then one of the best places you can ever visit while here in Hot Springs, South Dakota is called the “Pioneer Museum”.

The Pioneer Museum is currently situated inside of a building that use to be a former elementary school. It’s a large four story sand stone building on a hill in the town center. The goal of this museum is to help represent the history of Fall River County as well as the surrounding areas.

For instance, visitors who come to this museum will find that it contains aa huge number of unique artifacts from the pioneer era.

With over 25 exhibit areas, some of the things visitors might see includes stuff like original art by local artisans, including paintings and sculptures made of sandstone, marble and alabaster.

There are also hundreds of historic photos of Hot Springs and the Black Hills, as well as famous prints and rich tapestries and quilts from the days gone by.

Not only that, but there are also sections and displays that showcases objects that were used in daily lives of pioneer farmers and ranchers. For instance, things such as handcrafted tools, wood cook stoves, old washing machines, and kerosene lamps are just some of the items that people can see.

It’s truly one of the most insightful places anyone can visit.

Filled with history, culture, and a passion for learning, visitors from all around can come here and learn a variety of different things about the region of Falls River County.

Definitely worth a visit if you have the time to spare.

8. Chautauqua Park

Chautauqua Park

One of the best places anyone can visit while visiting a new town or city is definitely the park.

After all, sometimes the city life can be quite tiring. Which is why, some people will rather spend their time in a beautiful park surrounded by nature as well as some peace and quiet.

And here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota, one of the best parks anyone can visit is one known as the “Chautauqua Park”.

Chautauqua Park is one of the most beautiful places you can ever visit while here in this city. It’s actually split between two different parts with one part being the Upper Chautauqua Park and the other being the Lower Chautauqua Park.

For instance, visitors who go to the Upper Chautauqua section will find that there are two areas for outdoor settings, a shelter with picnic tables and outdoor grills, playground area and also a restroom. There is even a rock bridge over Fall River and plenty of walking areas as well.

The Lower Chautauqua section is pretty similar as there are also a playground area on-site, picnic tables and outdoor grills and more. Although visitors should be cautious of fallen rocks and follow any posted safety advisories.

Other than that, Chautauqua Park provides some of the best scenic views of the entire area.

With that being said, if you are wanting to get away from the city life and just surround yourself with some peace and quiet, then a visit to the Chautauqua Park is truly one of the most beautiful things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

9. Red Shed Smokehouse

Red Shed Smokehouse

Who doesn’t love barbecue?

And here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota, there is a really amazing barbecue restaurant for people to visit. Known as “Red Shed Smokehouse”, they are one of the best restaurants around.

Red Shed Smokehouse is hugely popular as they specialize in serving up delicious barbecue style dishes for people to enjoy. Many locals and tourists from all around make it a point to drive here just to get some good food.

In fact, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire area of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Visitors who come here will find a simple yet elegant menu that is filled with delicious food choices. For instance, some of the foods you might find here includes Full Rack of Ribs, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Brisket Sandwiches, Red Shed Sandwiches, and more.

Now even though their menu is small, what they do have is quality.

Each and every day, the workers will get up bright and early just to get their foods ready to serve. They use only the best ingredients possible which is why all of the foods taste so darn good.

The only thing to note is that this isn’t a typical restaurant. In fact, its actually a food truck. But even with that being said, there are still some benches around the outside of the area for people to sit on and enjoy their food.

It’s a comforting experience that offers some of the best food anyone has ever tried.

10. Sage Meadow Ranch

Sage Meadow Ranch

One of the best things to do in Hot Springs, South Dakota is to simply go on a horseback riding adventure.

After all, the area around Hot Springs is filled with numerous paths and trails that are perfect for people to go exploring in.

And here in this city, there are quite a few places where you can go horseback riding. But one of the most popular is a place known as “Sage Meadow Ranch”.

Here at Sage Meadow Ranch, it is situated on acres of prairie, pines and rolling hills. Located near the scenic and historic Red Canyon where the Deadwood stage and General Custer and his troops once passed through.

Visitors who come here will find out that they offer multiple different types of rides available for people to enjoy.

For instance, there is a Canyon Ride, which lasts about 1 hour and costs $75 dollars. There is also the Ranch Ride, which is there most popular ride and lasts around 1.5 hours and costs $100 dollars. Lastly, there is the Half Day Ride, which costs around $150 dollars.

During these rides, visitors will be able to see all kinds of interesting and unique sights. They will even get a chance to see some wildlife as well since many deer, antelope and elk will roam around the area.

Which is why, if you love to go horseback riding or just want to learn and enjoy it for your first time, then a trip to the Sage Meadow Ranch is truly one of the best places for you to visit.

11. World Fossil Finder Museum

World Fossil Finder Museum

One of the most interesting and unique places you can ever visit while here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota is definitely a place called the “World Fossil Finder Museum”.

Here at the World Fossil Finder Museum, they specialize in showcasing various kinds of fossils from all over the world. The museum will also feature the best representation of the Earliest Richest Ice Age fossil site on earth.

The Museum is owned by Christina Rohde and Frank Garcia, who are both fossil enthusiats. Christina is an amateur fossils collector of the greatest status as well as professor in Europe of economics. While Frank is well known for discovering the Leisey Fossil Site in Ruskin Florida.

Asides from that, visitors who come here will find that they have a huge range of exhibits of many kinds of fossils for people to see.

For instance, visitors can come in and see one of the earliest mastodons in North America, or even admire the beautiful “Debby Sue”, which is the largest Tylosaurus found in South Dakota.

From Dinosaurs to Deinotherium and more, they got it all.

Not only that, but there is an amazing gift shop here that sells a variety of interesting items. Whether you want to buy some unique dinosaur gifts or merch, this place has everything you can ever want.

So at the end of the day, if you are interested in learning more about dinosaurs or just want to see some really cool fossils, then definitely make your way to the World Fossil Finder Museum. It will be an experience unlike any other.

12. Southern Hills Golf Course

Southern Hills Golf Course

Do you love playing golf?

If so, then you’ll be happy to know that here in the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota, there is a fantastic golf course for people to play on.

Known as the “Southern Hills Golf Course“, it is the premiere golfing destination for anyone around the city of Hot Springs.

Tucked within the contours of the southern Black Hills, Southern Hills Golf Course is an 18-hole municipal course offering breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience. Originally designed as a 9 hole course, it soon expanded to become a premier public golf destination for anyone to use.

Boasting over 380 feet of elevation change, including one par 3 with a 35′ tee to green difference, Southern Hills Golf Course offers a challenge, but also rewards players with its natural beauty and seamless integration into the local topography.

With five different teeing areas, including a new junior tees, players of all levels can enjoy this unforgettable course. 

Now unlike some other golf courses around the country, this place is primarily just a golf course. Meaning there is no restaurant or Pro shop for people to find, but what it does offer is a quality golfing experience that everyone will enjoy.

With that being said, it truly is one of the best places to play golf here in this city.

So if you love to golf or just want to learn more about it, then this is the place to visit.

FAQS About Hot Springs, South Dakota

Does South Dakota have any Hot Springs?

Yes it does! In fact, the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota actually has quite a few different healing springs for you to use.

Are there natural hot springs in SD?

Yes, there are a few natural hot springs still located in South Dakota.

Where did Hot Springs South Dakota get its name?

The city of Hot Springs, South Dakota got its name from the Sioux And Cheyenne Indians who once called it the “Minnekahta”, which is a Sioux word meaning “Hot Waters”. Because of this, this eventually led the city to be renamed after it!

Visit Hot Springs, South Dakota

Overall, the city of Hot Springs in South Dakota is an amazing place to visit if you ever have the time. With so many things to see or do, this city is definitely one of the best tourist destinations in the entire state of South Dakota.

So hopefully this post about the “12 Best & Fun Things To Do In Hot Springs, South Dakota” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the city of Hot Springs in South Dakota, you will know exactly what things you are able to see or do.

Also if you’re going to be visiting the state of South Dakota anytime soon, then you might be interested in some of my other South Dakota posts:

Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.

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