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Great Plains

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For the Hungarian region of the same name, see Great Hungarian Plain.

The Great Plains of the United States of America is a wide open, mostly agricultural area, but also home to the Badlands and Black Hills, where the iconic Mount Rushmore is located.


States and cities of the Great Plains region
North Dakota
South Dakota

Paralleling the Rocky Mountains, this vast stretch of grasslands extends from a tiny pocket of northern Mexico, through Texas and all the way north to the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


Other destinations[edit]

  • Badlands and Black Hills


An American Bison grazes on the plains


Get in[edit]

Air-travel is fastest and probably the most practical way of entering the Great Plains region. Many smaller cities in this region are serviced by the Midwestern airport hubs of Chicago, Kansas City, MO, or Minneapolis, Western hub Denver, or Texan hubs Dallas and Houston. From those large airports, smaller commuter flights are available into many small city airports such as Fargo or Grand Forks, North Dakota; Rapid City or Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney, McCook, Scottsbluff and Alliance, Nebraska; Salina, Wichita or Topeka, Kansas; and Tulsa or Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Get around[edit]

Generally by automobile, Greyhound bus has several routes through here as well and there is very limited passenger rail service. Many larger cities have regular air-commuter service to larger hub airports. Smaller towns may have smaller commuter flights with more limited service.

See[edit][add listing]

The Great Plains is not packed with sights. In fact, it's not packed with much of anything—these are some of the lowest density states in the union, iconic for their wide, flat, open spaces. The largest cities of Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Omaha all have a number of modest attractions, although a visitor to the United States probably wouldn't go out of their way to find them. The one big exception, however, are the Black Hills and Badlands of southwestern South Dakota, which is home to several of quite literally the country's biggest attractions: in particular, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial, as well as an enormous range of rugged and mountainous terrain, filled with Wild West cowboy towns and big game animals.


  • Great numbers of wildlife can be observed here including Whitetail deer, otters, badgers, pronghorn, prairie dogs, coyotes as well as Elk and Buffalo in wildlife refuges as well as other managed areas
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Western North Dakota
  • Badlands National Park in Western South Dakota
  • Black Hills National Forest in Western South Dakota
  • Sandhills in North Central Nebraska
  • Many National Grasslands dot this region

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Visit County/State Fairs generally occurring during the fall months, admission is usually charged
  • Rodeos
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Museums
  • Storm Chasing
  • Hiking
  • Fishing (licenses required, purchased at sports shops and larger stores such as Wal-Marts or grocery stores in the region)
  • Hunting (licenses required, hunters safety requirements vary by state)

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Free Ice Water at Wall Drug, Wall, South Dakota

Stay safe[edit]

The Great Plains are the location of "Tornado Alley", a multi-state region where tornadoes are more frequent on average during the spring and summer months. See Tornado safety for more information. While it is somewhat rare for tourists to experience tornadoes, severe thunderstorms containing frequent lightning, strong winds, hail and heavy rains are common during the spring and summer months as well. When weather conditions deteriorate listen to local radio stations for information ("Weather Radio Information" roadsigns are fairly common on interstates) The northern areas of this region are susceptible to blizzards and bitter cold temperatures during the winter; while southern regions sometimes face severe ice events. When driving cross-country in the winter, be prepared as Interstates often close during severe winter weather events.


Many residents living within the states of the great plains own guns primary for hunting/self defense. Do not randomly walk into property that you are not familiar with as the owner could have a firearm and could use it against you.

Get out[edit]

This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!