Pronounced "Peer," South Dakota's capital of Pierre is perched on rocky bluffs overlooking the Missouri River and offers historic sites in town as well as close access to any variety of outdoor sports and activities.
The South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre (www.state.sd.us) was built between 1905 and 1910 from native field stone and hand-laid stone. Other sight-seeing opportunities in Pierre include the Cultural Heritage Center (history.sd.gov), which tells the story of the Plains native tribes, including the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota, as well as Lewis & Clark and the early pioneer days. Located north of the State Capitol, the Cultural Heritage Center is built into the side of a Missouri River bluff.
The Lewis & Clark Family Center, located at Farm Island Recreation Area east of Pierre on Highway 34, offers hands-on interpretive exhibits that allow visitors to climb in a dug-out canoe, identify animal tracks and feel the difference between elk and buffalo hides. For more information, call 605-773-2885 or send an email to FarmIsland@state.sd.us. Other sight-seeing options include the South Dakota National Guard Museum (www.ngmuseum.sd.gov), which focuses on the state’s guard from the days of the Dakota Territory to today, and the South Dakota Discovery Center (www.sd-discovery.com), which offers interactive science activities and exhibits.
Pierre is close to any number of recreation areas, as well as private lodges and companies that offer a wide array of outdoor activities, including guided fishing and hunting. Okobojo Point State Recreation Area, located 17 miles northwest of Pierre off of Highway 1804, offers an excellent view of the historic Oahe Reservoir, sandy beaches and campgrounds. In addition to the Lewis & Clark Family Center, Farm Island (www.sdgfp.info) features Lake Sharpe, beaches and eight miles of hiking trails. It offers 90 campsites and three cabins (800-710-2267, www.campsd.com) and is open year-round.
Lodging options in Pierre include the Ramkota Best Western Inn, Days Inn, Comfort Inn and a Holiday Inn Express in adjacent Ft. Pierre. The 47-room River Lodge, located five blocks from the Capitol building, and a block from the Missouri River, offers rates from $59. Pierre also is home to some bed-and-breakfast inns, such as Madeline’s Bed and Breakfast and the Hitching Horse Inn. The Eagle’s View Bed & Breakfast captures the spirit of the state by proclaiming that it’s “not your ordinary B&B -- no lace, no antiques, just a real down-home stay!”
Just outside of Pierre, however, are lodges that cater to sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. Spring Creek Resort (www.springcreekventure.com), located 17 miles north of Pierre overlooking Lake Oahe, specializes in guided fishing, and pheasant- and goose-hunting adventures. The staff will cook your day’s catch for your dinner. The property offers a selection of motel rooms and two- and three-bedroom lakeside cabins with nightly rates from $60 to $180.
Pike Haven Resort (www.pikehaven.com), also overlooking Lake Oahe, offers fishing for walleye, salmon, small-mouth bass and pike as well as guided hunting for geese, deer, grouse and prairie dogs.
For more information, call the South Dakota Office of Tourism at 800-S-DAKOTA or visit www.TravelSD.com. For South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, visit gfp.sd.gov. For the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.pierre.org. For the Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates, call 605-341-2378 or visit www.attatribal.com.