Most South Dakotans know that some of the most picturesque spots on the planet are contained within our state's borders, but we sometimes wonder if anyone outside the Mount Rushmore State is paying attention.

Well, they are. has just issued its annual Editors' Choice Awards, which recognizes some of the top destinations in the world, broken down into 18 different categories.

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Custer State Park
Brian Miller via Unsplash

Two favorites of South Dakota residents were among this year's winners.

Custer State Park was recognized as one of only 40 locations worldwide in the 'Best for a Bucket List' category, which recognizes landmarks and attractions that must be seen to be believed.

The park features more than 70,000 acres to enjoy a wide variety of activities like camping, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The park is also home to a number of different animals including, buffalo, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, wild turkeys, prairie dogs, and dozens of different species of birds.

Othe notable 'Bucket List' winners:

  • Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
  • Dinner in the Sky, United Arab Emirates
  • Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp Masai Mara, Kenya
Badlands National Park
Michael Alain via Unsplash

South Dakota's other winner was Badlands National Park, which was recognized in the 'Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts' category, which showcases the best places, guides, and hotels for runners, hikers, bikers, campers. and more. The park was one of 219 winners in the category from all around the globe.

Other notable 'Outdoor Enthusiasts' winners:

  • Allegany State Park, New York
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
  • Bright Angel Campground – Grand Canyon, Arizona
  • Egmont National Park, New Zealand
  • School of Falconry, Ireland

These awards will be viewed by TripSavvy’s 10 million-plus readers online.


RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

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