Three Ways to Plan a Girls’ Getaway in South Dakota

Fly-fishing fantasies, hunting hot spots and luxurious lodges you’ll love

Photos courtesy of Travel South Dakota

When you’re thinking “girls’ trip,” South Dakota might not be the first place that pops into your head—but maybe it should be. Featuring outdoor adventure and wellness activities, and only a quick flight or a road trip away, this state has something to offer everyone in every season. Its stunning scenery— which ranges from forests and towering limestone spires in the Black Hills to glacial lakes and rolling plains in the central and eastern regions—makes South Dakota an ideal destination for getting away, getting outside, and getting some much-needed R&R.


Cast a Line and Relax in Spearfish Canyon

For those seeking to escape city life, check out Spearfish Canyon Lodge. Nestled into the gorgeous Spearfish Canyon, this classic log- cabin-style lodge has the cozy mountain aesthetics you’ll need to unwind, paired with exciting activities to fuel your fire for adventure. Here you can rent gear for a day of fly-fishing on the water, rent an ATV/UTV for a thrilling day on the trails, or set off on a hike—and then soak up the views of the towering limestone cliffs of Spearfish Canyon right outside your door.


Ladies with a love of fishing, or first-timers looking to try something new are in luck! Some of the best fly-fishing can be done right here in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Hot spots for casting a line include Spearfish Canyon, in addition to Rapid Creek and Custer State Park. The unique geology of the hills, combined with its striking landscapes and plentiful trout streams, create the perfect atmosphere for the fly fisher. Black Hills trout water ranges from tailwaters to freestones, spring creeks and meandering mountain streams, as well as numerous small reservoirs. Within these majestic lands, fishermen and women will find 14 mountain lakes and more than 400 miles of streams to explore with an assortment of trout species, including brook and rainbow. There are also 50,000 stock dams containing largemouth bass, northern pike and a variety of panfish.


Opt to spend some time on the water with just your girls or get some assistance from a local guide. Either way, you’re sure to make memories and snap pictures that you’ll all cherish for a lifetime—but don’t forget to purchase a fishing license!

When you’re ready for some shopping, catching up over a cocktail and some well-deserved pampering, take a scenic 25-minute drive from the lodge through the winding roads of the canyon to get to the adorable town of Spearfish. Like something out of a Hallmark movie, this community’s main street is lined with great boutiques, delicious food and plenty of small-town charm. While you’re here, be sure to book a treatment at the Black Hills Salt Cave & Spa. This contemporary health spa and wellness center is built around a man-made Himalayan rock salt cave that will help open your airways and reduce tension. In addition, the full-spectrum infrared saunas are not to be missed.


For even more unique wellness experiences, plan a trip to Hot Springs, located in the state’s southwest corner. The natural springs in this area have been sought after for centuries for their healing properties. Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa is one of the more noteworthy spots to indulge in a soak in the soothing mineral water that bubbles out of the ground at a steamy warm temperature, with a pleasant scent and silky texture thanks to high magnesium and calcium levels.


Set Your Sights on Hunting in Central South Dakota

Make sure to plan ahead and get your hunting license in advance of packing your best camo outfit and get ready for a weekend of hunting in South Dakota.

According to South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, hunting remains the No. 1 way to manage many animal populations across South Dakota. Harvest strategies are intended to ensure the well-being of the species and their habitat while maintaining populations at levels compatible with human activity and land use. Local hosts, private outfitters and more than a million acres of publicly accessible hunting land make South Dakota a world-class hunting haven for big game, waterfowl and small game.

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If a quintessential hunting lodge experience is what you’re after, re- serve a room at the ScatterGun Lodge in Pierre, home to extraordinary wingshooting opportunities, legendary lodging and an uncommon passion for hospitality. Sitting on a 3,000-acre ranch with more than 20 prime hunting areas, the diverse habitat provides virtually every kind of cover you could imagine. All hunting starts less than a 10-minute walk from the lodge’s front door. The guides take a small- group approach to hunting, which means no more than eight guns per group—offering the finest possible shooting opportunities for everyone. Plus, ScatterGun’s Labrador Retrievers are best described as the stars of the field, as well at home.

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Another noteworthy locale is Grand Slam Hunts in Kimball. This 4,000-acre hunting mecca is located on the beautiful prairie, boasting majestic views and an abundance of wildlife in central South Dakota. The diverse and dramatic landscape is often referred to as “God’s country,” and is unlike any other part of the world.

Book a Weekend in the Black Hills

If you’re looking to spend some quality time with your girlfriends, check out the legendary lodges and bucket list-inspired adventures available here.

Blue Bell Lodge in Custer is known for home-spun Western fun. You’ll see horses and chuckwagons around the property and every cabin comes with an outdoor fire pit. From here, you can book buffalo safaris that get you up close and personal with the herd, authentic chuckwagon dinners, trail rides, hiking, fishing and wildlife spotting.

Scattergun Lodge

From Custer, hop in the car for a 90-minute drive to Badlands National Park. This park draws visitors from around the world to see the breathtaking, other-worldly landscapes. The striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds, where ancient horses and rhinos once roamed. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie that now supports bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets. Bring binoculars to get a better look at the park’s inhabitants and see if you can spot a fossil or two.

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Of course, a trip to South Dakota wouldn’t be complete without visiting Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The 60-foot carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are awe-inspiring examples of the birth, growth, development and preservation of the United States. As you walk beneath the waving flags of 56 U.S. states and territories to the Grand View Terrace and Presidential Trail, chances are you’ll see mountain goats and other wildlife set against the beautiful Black Hills. From May through September, park rangers hold an evening flag-lowering ceremony in the outdoor amphitheater, complete with a salute to veterans, as they light up the memorial for a must-stop photo op.

South Dakota is truly spoiled with natural beauty all year round, but keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to check current regulations, permits and licensing requirements for fishing and hunting activities.

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Some South Dakota Favorites

Dine on Georgia O’Keeffe’s lamb chops at Buffalo Dreamer in Hot Springs.

Share a plate of lobster-stuffed squash blossoms at Harvester Kitchen in Sioux Falls.

Bring home a Bedsu dip-dyed leather handbag and Hayden denim barn jacket from Threads by Simply Perfect in Sioux Falls.

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Dakota Angler & Outfitter in Rapid City has an impressive collection of flies and fly-tying equipment, all geared to- ward catching trout, walleye, bass, crappie and more in South Dakota’s lakes and rivers.

The fly-fishing guides at Finn Provisions ensure everyone has a great day on the water. They provide all of the gear—rods, reels, lines, flies, waders and boots so you can show up and let them handle the heavy lifting.

We recommend grabbing a free guide from Travel South Dakota. It’s packed with a wealth of information from not-to-miss sites to off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Categories: Travel