South Dakota Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

labrador retriever in a car

Although traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun, it can also end up being a stressful nightmare. Usually, planning ahead is what can make all the difference. If you’re planning a trip to “The Mount Rushmore State” with your dog, use this South Dakota dog-friendly travel guide to start your research:

4 Dog-Friendly Activities in South Dakota

Not everywhere you go will be dog-friendly. So, if you want to see the sights, you’ll have to make sure they’re dog-friendly first or have a plan for a doggie daycare if they’re not. Here are a few dog-friendly activities in South Dakota to consider adding to your trip plan:

1. Custer State Park

Custer State Park is located in Custer, South Dakota, and is dog-friendly. There are 71,000 acres of beautiful scenery to see and outdoor experiences! You can take a drive along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop to see indigenous wildlife and explore the park by car.

Also, there are several hiking trails of varying difficulties available. Your dog is welcome to join you throughout the park and on hiking trails as long as they are leashed. But, they are not permitted in any of the park buildings or on designated swimming beaches.

2. Mitchell Corn Palace

The Mitchell Corn Palace is an interesting stop. Located in Mitchell, South Dakota, the Corn Palace is redecorated with new themes and designs each year. Over 275,000 ears of corns are used to redecorate it every year! Even the auditorium inside the Corn Palance is decorated with the intricate corn murals this landmark is known for.

Also, tours are given daily. Although some sources say only small dogs are welcome, other travelers have said the Corn Palace is dog-friendly to big dogs too. If you have a big dog, you may want to contact them to make sure your large pooch will be welcome too before you go.

3. The Splash Bark by SDK

If your travels will bring you near Harrisburg, South Dakota, consider setting some time aside for The Splash Bark by SDK. This stop is all about your dog, but is bound to be a blast for everyone. It’s the only water park of its kind.

Your dog can enjoy synchronized water features that are specifically designed for dogs in addition to a 3-inch deep pool for play. On top of that, there is a tropical theme complete with Tiki-style features just for your dog.

You’ll need to bring proof of vaccinations for your dog and to purchase a membership or a day pass. There are also doggie daycare and dog boarding services available on-site if you need them.

4. Pioneer Auto Show

The Pioneer Auto Show is located in Murdo and is dog-friendly. Your leashed, well-behaved dog is welcome to join you. In addition to touring classic motorcycles, tractors, and cars, you can also take a tour of Prairie Town.

3 Dog-Friendly Hotels in South Dakota

After a day full of fun, you want to make sure you have a place to stay where you and your dog will be welcome. Because not all hotels are dog-friendly and dog-friendly rooms tend to go fast, it’s important to do your research and reserve a room early. Consider booking a room at one of these dog-friendly hotels in South Dakota if you’ll need to stay overnight:

1. The Lodge at Deadwood Gaming Resort

If you’ll need to stay overnight near Deadwood, consider booking a room at The Lodge at Deadwood Gaming Resort. In addition to plush accommodations and a casino, this resort is also dog-friendly.

Dogs of any size are welcome to join you for your stay. There is an additional pet fee, which is $10 per night. Dog treats are given at check-in and there is a grassy relief area on-site for your convenience. There are even fake fire hydrants! Additionally, you can leave your dog unattended in your room as long as they are crated and well-behaved.

2. Bavarian Inn

Should your travels take you near Custer and you’ll need to stay overnight, take a look at the Bavarian Inn and consider booking a room. Up to two dogs of any size are welcome to join you for your stay at the Bavarian Inn.

There is an additional pet fee, which is $25 per dog, per night. There is a grassy relief area on-site with waste stations for your convenience. Also, as long as your dog is well-behaved when you are not around and you hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, you can leave your dog unattended in your room.

3. Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center

Should you need to stay overnight near Sioux Falls, check out the dog-friendly Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center. Up to two dogs, up to 75 pounds are welcome to join you for your stay. There is an additional pet fee, which is $50 per stay.

You are permitted to leave your dog unattended in your room as long as they are crated and well-behaved when you are not around. Bowls and dog beds are available if you need them. There are also several parks within minutes of the hotel.

3 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in South Dakota

Although you can always rely on the food you’ve brought with you, convenience stores, and fast food, that can get boring and can mean you miss out on the local flavor. Instead, think about stopping by one of these dog-friendly restaurants in South Dakota for a meal if your travels bring you nearby:

1. Bar K-9 Indoor Dog Park and Bar

The Bar K-9 Indoor Dog Park and Bar is located in Rapid City. Although this stop is mostly about your dog, it has some benefits for you too if you like sitting back and enjoying a good drink.

You won’t be able to order food here, but you will be able to choose from a variety of affordable beers and wines while your dog enjoys the large indoor off-leash area.

2. Murphy’s Pub and Grill

If you’re in Rapid City around a mealtime, consider stopping by Murphy’s Pub and Grill. This local spot is known for its mixed menu of contemporary and classic pub foods. Enjoy some drinks from local breweries and wineries while you sample some pub grub.

Local favorites on this menu range from beer cheese soup and fancy fried pickles to Buffalo meatloaf sandwiches, elk stroganoff, grilled salmon, and more. Plus, your dog is welcome to join you on the spacious outdoor patio.

3. Ruby House Restaurant

Ruby House Restaurant is located in Keystone. Open seasonally from April to October, this restaurant is a turn-of-the-century style eatery that allows you to step back into the Old West while you enjoy delicious food.

The menu features a variety of options. From New Orleans Cajun pasta and potato skins to bourbon ribeye steak, Santa Fe chicken salad, and more, there’s something for everyone. And, your dog is welcome to join you at the outdoor tables.

This South Dakota dog-friendly travel guide is a good way to kickstart your research, but it certainly doesn’t cover everything. If you find something else you want to see or do, just make it’s dog-friendly before it goes on your trip itinerary.

If you’re headed to another state, check out the other dog-friendly travel guides available. Here’s to safe travels and wagging tails no matter where your adventures take you!