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The Badlands Ain’t So Bad After All…

- Justine

Actually, they’re the complete opposite. This summer, there will be two free weekends at the Badlands National Park, which is in western South Dakota. Even if you can’t make it over there the weekend of July 18/19 or August 15/16 (free admission; entrance fee for cars is usually $15) you absolutely MUST go see it before the season is out.

Some of the most stunning scenery in the world can be found in these badlands. When my family drove through them on the way back from the west coast, we stopped at nearly every overlook we passed, and the views were prettier than postcards. There are hiking trails, tours, a tipi village, and a ton of wildlife. Have a picnic, watched the sunset, or even just drive through while listening to some music. The vistas are so gorgeous you’ll remember them no matter what you did at the park.

For those of you who would want to learn more, the area has a rich Native American history. This region has been a tribal hunting ground for thousands of years, and archaeological digs are still producing fossils of hunting tools. I would recommend visiting the White River Visitor Center– it’s staffed by Oglala Sioux members! If you have more than a day to spare, visit Wounded Knee, the Crazy Horse Monument, Black Hills National Forest, or Mount Rushmore. These attractions are all an easy drive from Badlands National Park, and are equally rich in history and beauty.

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