The most popular time to visit South Dakota is during the summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when families are able to take vacations. Winter is the least popular time for general tourism, but is peak for skiers, snowmobilers, and other snow sports enthusiasts. Spring and fall are in-between seasons that have varying weather, but can be ideal times to visit due to fewer crowds or lower prices.
- high season: late May to early September
- low season: November to mid-May
- shoulder season: mid-September to October
December through March is also high season for winter sports areas.
South Dakota has a four-season climate, with temperature highs ranging from the 40s to the 90s and lows from below zero to the 60s, depending on the season. Summer, from mid-June through mid-September, is generally warm and sometimes hot during the day and cooler at night. Fall starts out warm, but gets crisp and cool by November. Winter, from December through early March can be cold with plenty of snow. Spring is typically the rainy season, but it can see snow as well as plenty of sunshine.
South Dakota sees the most crowds during the peak summer months, particularly during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which brings 500,000+ motorcycle enthusiasts to the state.
Some attractions close down during the winter, but re-open in the spring.
When to Save
South Dakota is consistently ranked as one of the least-expensive places to visit. However, costs are higher later in the summer as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally during the second week of August begins. The cheapest time to visit is the fall through spring.
When to Book
Book as soon as possible for hotels and car rentals to ensure availability. Airfare prices fluctuate, so it's always best to check with travel agents and the Internet to find the best deals.
Information provided by the South Dakota Office of Tourism.