Summer isn’t over yet! Southeast South Dakota Tourism shared with 605 the top activities and places to visit as summer transitions to fall.
1. Visit a Farm
There’s no better way to experience the state of South Dakota than to explore the various agriculture. The Good Earth Farm, Farm Life Creamery, 6th Meridian Hop Farm, Fleurish Flower Farm & Designs, and Mazing Acres Pumpkin Patch provide fun for all ages.
Located south of Lennox, The Good Earth Farm is a working farm home to an animal sanctuary, including a miniature bull and horse, a trio of ducks, chickens, pigs, donkeys, and more.
“Good Earth also uses sustainable practices to grow vegetables that they sell through their CSA and farm stand,” said Amy Bailey, marketing manager for Southeast South Dakota Tourism.
Throughout the summer and fall months, wood-fired pizzas are available for order for visitors.
“They use ingredients from their garden as toppings and create a true farm to table experience,” said Bailey.
Enjoy a sweet treat at Farm Life Creamery in Ethan. The handcrafted artisan cheese maker offers endless educational opportunities about cheesemaking and milk bottling.
“Take a free tour, taste the products, and finish with an ice cream cone made right in the creamery,” said Bailey.
Good Earth Farm is home to a restored three-story barn from 1897, which is now an event space. It has become a focal point for the farm, hosting and renting the space for various events, with a bar and seating options available at the basement level.
Farm Life Creamery offers more than dairy products. The whole family can experience their friendly farm animals, 18-hole mini golf course, tractor tire playground, occasional food trucks, and more.
Come see, taste, and enjoy the summer season at 6th Meridian Hop Farm in Yankton. The family-owned farm is open on select evenings for fresh food, drinks, and live music.
“For adults, I recommend grabbing a beer from their barnwood tap trailer which features 12 taps of cold craft brew, most made with their own hops,” shared Bailey.
She also recommends ordering dishes from the farm kitchen’s ever-changing menu.
From mid-July to October, visit Fleurish Flower Farm & Designs in Elk Point for their popular You-Pick Nights. The farm site is home to an enchanting flower field, with over 50 specialty flowers.
You-Pick nights are completed with live music and local food vendors, providing a delightful evening for everyone of all ages.
“You-Pick nights are the perfect outing for dates, families, or a girls night,” said Bailey.
Visit the Mazing Acres Pumpkin Patch in Yankton for their Annual Wine and Flower Festival. Sip on craft beers, local wine, and wine slushies all while enjoying over 20 various attractions and a flower photo opportunity.
“This event brings fun for all ages as parents can enjoy the outdoors, live music, and adult beverages while kids run from activity to activity,” said Bailey.
2. Hang Out on the Water
Beat the heat by taking a dip or riding the various lakes and rivers throughout the state. Bailey recommends Lewis and Clark Lake, Split Rock Creek, the Missouri River, the Big Sioux River, or the various lakes throughout the Madison area.
Set out in your kayaks, canoes, or boats, cast your fishing line, or cannon ball into the lakes.
For families looking for sandy beaches to relax on, Bailey recommends Lewis and Clark Lake.
For experienced paddlers, she recommends Split Rock Creek. “Paddlers should start at Split Rock Park and make their way to Palisades State Park,” she added.
When you venture out into the Madison area, you’ll find four lakes, each with its own unique draws and great qualities: Long Lake, Brandt Lake, Round Lake, and Lake Madison.
“When you visit, be sure to talk to the locals and see what they recommend for enjoying these numerous bodies of water,” advised Bailey.
3. Hit Up a Museum
Experience rich history and fun at the National Music Museum, Old Courthouse Museum, Washington Pavilion, Children’s Museum of South Dakota, and the Mead Museum.
Spanning hundreds of years of culture, the National Music Museum in Vermillion features over 15,000 instruments from Italian violins to celebrity guitars, including Elvis Presley.
Music lovers are transported back 50 years with the exhibit, As Good As Gold: The First 50 Years (1973-2023). This musically-curated exhibit highlights the treasured instruments that shaped the museum’s collection during its first 50 years.
Known as one of the oldest buildings in Sioux Falls, the Old Courthouse Museum houses permanent and changing exhibits focusing on the natural and cultural histories of the Siouxland Region.
“This museum also hosts lectures, workshops, astronomy programs, walking tours, children’s programs, and traditional music concerts year-round,” said Bailey.
The Washington Pavilion is the region’s home for the arts, entertainment, and science. In downtown Sioux Falls, the historic building brings visitors and residents together under one roof to partake in the performing arts, visual arts, interactive science, and educational opportunities.
The Kirby Science Center is a top destination within the Pavilion.
“This center has more than 100 interactive, hands-on exhibits and offers an array of fun and educational activities for all ages,” said Bailey.
Other exhibits include the Raven Children’s Art Studio, Visual Arts Center, the Performing Arts Center, and the Wells Fargo CineDome Theatre & Sweetman Planetarium.
The fun doesn’t end there. Located in Brookings is the Children’s Museum of South Dakota offering endless hours of play and exploration.
The SDCM promotes learning for children of all ages and abilities through interactive, informal, hands-on exhibits.
“It’s also a great way for grownups to play and bond with their kids,” said Bailey.
The Mead Museum is home to over 45,00 historic artifacts and features various fixed and traveling exhibits. Currently, guests can visit the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery exhibit and the Children’s Transportation Museum.
Head up to the second floor to take in the exhibit, Yankton State Hospital: Minds, Methods, and Medicine and take a look at the building’s original purpose.
“The rich history of this building makes it a special place to visit,” said Bailey.
4. Grab a Cold One at a Local Brewery
Sit down and enjoy the summer nights with a cold drink in hand. Throughout the southeast part of the state Bailey shares the various breweries and wineries you can spend your evening at.
Enjoy friendly competition and a local brew at Ben’s Brew Station in Yankton. With 28 beers on tap, the brewing headquarters hosts eight pinball machines and a game room featuring hoop shoot, foosball, ping pong, darts, as well as outdoor games like corn hole.
“If I had to choose one beer to recommend it would be the Cold Brew Blonde,” said Bailey. “It’s very unique as it’s a light beer with cold brew added to it.”
For a more intimate and modern experience, try Lupulin Brewing – Sioux Falls. Originating in Minnesota, the brewery developed strong distribution in the Sioux Falls area.
“An opportunity became available to purchase a brewery space, so the owners opened a brewery and tap room in the city,” said Bailey.
While sipping on a beer, munch on a pizza from Sunny’s Pizzeria, play arcade games and board games with friends or family.
Take in the countryside views of Brandon at Wilde Prairie Winery. Guests can taste various fun wines that are produced from locally grown fruit and honey.
Bailey suggests planning a visit on Sundays to partake in their weekly Sunday in the Vineyard event.
Customers are encouraged to bring their lounge chairs, blankets, and friends to enjoy an afternoon of wine, wine slushies, local beer, snacks, and live music.
“All ages will love spending time here, out in nature with space to run and relax,” said Bailey.
5. Attend a Festival or Event
Enjoy three full days of fun at the 40th annual Yankton Riverboat Days and Summer Arts Festival from August 18-20.
Riverboat Days offers a great mix of entertainment, events, free concerts, and vendors, while the Summer Arts Festival includes rows and rows of food, drink, and retail vendors.
“Here you’ll find unique art, homemade products, scrumptious food and drinks,” said Bailey.
Bring the whole family for a day of fun as there’s a separate section for young kids with bounce houses and fun-filled activities.
Yankton Riverboat Days 2023 Entertainment
Megan Moroney // August 18
Frank Ray // August 18
Rowan Grace // August 18
Rock Hardys // August 19
Pop Evil // August 19
Plush // August 19
Attend South Dakota’s oldest running fair, The Turner County Fair from August 14-17. Make your way to Parker to experience a wide array of 4-H exhibits, specialty food, commercial exhibits, contests, Demolition Derby, rodeos, live music, and a carnival.
Throughout your time there, indulge in classic fair treats such as lamb chislic, homemade ice cream, tri-tip sandwiches, homemade pie, pork loin sandwiches, fresh baked donuts, and more.
“At Yankton Riverboat Days, everyone needs to try either the kettlecorn, root beer on tap, funnel cakes, or the build-your-own snow cone.” – Amy Bailey
“Many have said that the Turner County Fair is a hidden gem in the world of fairs,” said Bailey.
Thursdays on the Platz in Vermillion is the ultimate summertime music series that will make your Thursdays groovy.
Every Thursday until August 24, Ratingen Platz hosts the annual event providing the perfect blend of live music, good vibes, and a fantastic outdoor atmosphere.
Roam around Vermillion’s recently renovated downtown area packed with retail stores, restaurants, and bars.
For more information, visit SOUTHEASTSOUTHDAKOTA.COM+