Sioux Falls, South Dakota
If you're traveling through southeastern South Dakota, be sure to explore Sioux Falls. It's a budget bonanza.
My son and I started our visit in lovely Falls Park, where the Big Sioux River cascades over rose quartzite rocks in the city's namesake falls. We enjoyed the panoramic view from the five-story observation tower and found helpful area brochures below in the Visitors Information Center (309 E. Falls Park Dr.; open daily from mid-April through September; weekends only the rest of the year. ).
Later, we saw buildings made of that same quartzite, like the majestic Old Courthouse Museum, with three floors of fascinating regional history. We especially liked the Lewis and Clark exhibit and the gorgeous murals.
My favorite place was the beautifully restored Pettigrew Home and Museum in the city's historic district. South Dakota's first senator, Richard Pettigrew, lived in this elegant Queen Anne-style Victorian home, filled with artifacts he collected on worldwide travels.
My son loved the Outdoor Campus at Sertoma Park, a 160-acre gem at Oxbow Avenue and 49th Street. Besides a museum with a huge aquarium, it features a butterfly garden, plus walking trails.
There's a lot more to explore in Sioux Falls, so we plan to visit again--it's a real bargain!