South Dakota is one of those states that just surprises you because you cannot believe how much there is to do and discover. I really think people take the Dakotas for granted and they shouldn’t. Besides Mt. Rushmore I counted 16 other things we did here that were fun, educational interesting-some even left us scratching our heads (like the Cosmos Mystery Area and the Corn Palace). I think the most profound thing we all walked away with was an appreciation for the enduring spirit of those courageous folks, the pioneers and the homesteaders who came out seeking their fortune and a piece of land they could call their own. We were taken in by mother nature at her best, from the beauty of the black hills, to the Badlands and to the treeless grassy prairies that stretch as far as the eye can see. It was more incredible than any of us could ever have imagined. My kids and I and our travel companion (my lovely next door neighbor) Avrille had such a good time that when I got back I encouraged my parents who are seniors to go. They took my advice and went with some friends and did it road trip style, and guess what, they came back raving. So while South Dakota can’t compete with Hawaii, or Florida, or California as a top vacation destination, it should be somewhere you consider visiting. Trust me, you’ll be really glad you did.