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South Dakota: Jump in, the Water's Fine

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When people think about South Dakota, images of the rolling prairies, the rugged spires of Badlands National Park, and the majesty of Mount Rushmore National Memorial come to mind. What people might not know is that within the borders of South Dakota, over 1,200 square miles of water fill various lakes and flow throughout numerous rivers. That doesn’t even include the bountiful indoor and outdoor waterparks found throughout the state.
  • Lakes: South Dakota is home to hundreds of lakes. For world-class fishing, one doesn’t have to look further than the mountain lakes of the Black Hills National Forest and the manmade “Great Lakes of South Dakota.” These four reservoirs of the Missouri River offer incredible fishing and are stocked with walleye, bass, and northern pike.
  • Rivers: While the fishing is equally as impressive in the rivers of South Dakota as the lakes, it’s not the only way to enjoy the natural waterways of the region. From speed-boating along the Missouri River to canoeing down the Big Sioux River, the multitude of rivers, tributaries, streams, and creeks appeal to people everywhere as a source of excitement and relaxation.
  • Waterparks:
    • Wild Water West: One of the largest waterparks in the region, Wild Water West outside of Sioux Falls, is home to over six water slides, a lazy river, children’s play pool, and a sundeck equipped with lounge chairs. Not only does the waterpark provide entertainment for children, but Wild Water West also features an adventure park containing Go-Karts, miniature golf, bumper boats, a batting cage complex, and paintball. Wild Water West provides fun for kids and adults of all ages. Visit for more information
    • WaTiki Indoor Waterpark: Found in Rapid City, South Dakota, the WaTiki Indoor Waterpark is the largest indoor waterpark of the Dakotas. The park features six slides, a hot spa, a lazy river, and an arcade. It is surrounded on either side by the Fairfield Inn and Suites and the LaQuinta Inn and Suites, making it an ideal hotel stay for anyone vacationing in Rapid City. Visit for more information.
    • Evan’s Plunge Indoor Waterpark and Pool: The World’s largest natural warm water indoor swimming pool, Evan’s Plunge in Hot Springs, South Dakota, features a waterslide, Tarzan rings, fun tubes, kids pools, and a health club. Evan’s Plunge is no ordinary pool, as the entire pool is heated by the thermal springs beneath it that keep it at a steady 87° F year-round. Visit for more information.
    • Rushmore Waterslide: Just south of Rapid City, this water slide park features nine slides, some up to 400 feet long. The park also includes a picnic area, hot spa, kiddie pool with slide, miniature golf, a snack bar and a video arcade. The park opens in June and remains open through Labor Day. Visit for more information.
For more information on these water attractions, search the Interactive Trip Planner at