Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Sioux Falls
As the largest city in South Dakota, outsiders may overlook Sioux Falls as a modern, metropolitan hub, but intrepid travelers know better. Located on the edge of the Black Hills, adventure is always just around the bend. For families looking for the best of both worlds, make Sioux Falls your base for exploration for a value-packed weekend away.
Explore Falls Park
A centerpiece of the town, Sioux Falls got its name from a couple of major geographic landmarks in the area: the Big Sioux River and the 100-foot falls that cascade down it. Named one of the "Top 25 Parks in the United States" by TripAdvisor, visitors can easily spend the afternoon exploring the walking trails, picnicking on the rocks, or reading up on the Queen Bee Mill and a number of other historical landmarks within walking distance. Grab a front row seat at the quirky Falls Overlook Café at sunset. Once a restored hydroelectric plant, the historic 1900s building is a must-visit in the summer for their cool ice cream treats, and a must-see in the winter when their incredible Christmas display is lit up.
Bike the Greenway Downtown
Topping Fodor's list of "Best Urban Bike Paths," the 26-mile Sioux Falls loop weaves around Falls Park and through several parts of the city with plenty of shaded areas available for pit stops. While you’ll likely want to explore the whole trail (the city has 80 public parks to peruse), you can also break up the ride into more manageable chucks to tackle throughout the weekend. Don't worry about lugging your bike from home either -- there are several places in town for rentals and gear.
Connect with Nature at Newton Hills
If you make it to the Badlands, the kids are likely to be inspired by their brush with nature. Help them hone their skills as future explorers at Newton Hills State Park. A popular local haunt, the park is just about a 30-minute drive from the city. Aside from free activities like hiking and bird watching, park officials also host a number of classes throughout the summer to teach kids about the local critters, ecosystem and habitat. Think about it: supervised activities while mom and dad sneak away? Sounds like a plan to us. All you have to do is register ahead of time for fishing, shooting, paddling, or camping and they’ll take care of the rest.
Get a Bird's Eye View
What better way to get a lay of the land than from the sky? The beautiful rolling hills and gentle winds of Sioux Falls make for nearly perfect hot air ballooning conditions. There's nothing quite like the feeling of floating through the air, light as a feather, above the verdant landscape of the picturesque Tuthill Park below. If you'd rather observe from the ground, make it a point to come in August for the Great Plains Balloon Race, when the sky is speckled with patterns and awash in color.