Activities For Dogs In South Dakota On Rainy Days

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Introduction

As one might guess, South Dakota isn't the most precipitation-heavy state in the country, nor is it close. In winter, it's second only to its upstairs neighbor, North Dakota. In summer, it's just outside the top ten, even though its warmest months - May through August - see almost as much as the other 8 months combined. However, when it does get rain, there aren't many places to hide but indoors, as South Dakota also ranks in the last 5 states in terms of tree cover, leading many staring out their windows longly when it finally comes down. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of opportunities to not only enjoy the rain, but take advantage of it, so you're never left with less in the Mount Rushmore State.

Dog-Gone Fishin'

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Rainy Day
Cheap
Easy
1 - 4 hrs
Items needed
Fishing Rod/Line/Lures/Bait
Leash
Dog Bags
Towels
Waterproof Doggy Raincoat
Activity description
For those who don't live in or near the state of South Dakota, it's often overlooked that it's easily one of the best fishing states in the entire country. In fact, nearly 98% of its waters are accessible and open for fishing. Add in the facts that it boasts some gorgeous, dramatic and magical backdrops, the lack of people makes for crystalline water and that the rain usually only comes when the weather is warmest and you've got the makings of a near-perfect opportunity to take in nature's beauty (and maybe even put some in your stomach). If you're new to fishing, it may not be ideal given the rental and knowledge requirements, but anyone with even basic knowledge can find a way to enjoy the great outdoors with their dogs, whether the fish bite or not. For anyone who already fishes, it will be dirt cheap, ideal conditions since fish are more active in the rain and a great way to pass the time with your dog, whether you're watching your line or exploring with your dog while you wait for a bite.
Step
1
Spot your spot
The first step in planning your trip shouldn't take too long but it's nonetheless important: picking your destination. While there are quite a few combinations of dog-friendly parks and great fishing spots, one of our highest recommendations is Spearfish Canyon. It not only has great fishing, but boasts loads of trails to hike and easily some of the most beautiful backdrops in the entire state. Regardless of where you choose, consider the difficulty in getting to your fishing location, as the rain can cause washouts and dangerous hikes when combined with steep grades and narrow trails.
Step
2
Pack your pack
Once you've chosen your spot, you'll be able to research what type of fish will be common in the general area, giving you an idea of what kinds of lures and other gear you'll want to bring. If the rain is light or doesn't look to last long, you may not need heavy rain gear, but if it's strong or has any chance of increasing in intensity, it's always better to over-prepare than under. Make a list of supplies that you'll need for fishing, as well as a list for how to keep yourself and your dog dry and comfortable (let alone under control if they tend to wander). If you need anything you don't have, make another list, grab your dog and head to some dog-friendly outdoor stores like Bass Pro Shops to pick them up (it's another way to spend time on rainy days too!).
Step
3
Fish and wish
Once you've picked your spot, done your research and grabbed your gear, you can finally depart. Make sure to actively keep an eye on the weather in case it threatens to alter your plans, for better or worse, so you can plan accordingly. Once you arrive, map out your trip beforehand if you can, while you're still dry and can use your phone or map (unless either are waterproof, then you're golden). Use making your way into the spot as exercise for your dog in case they have a propensity to get bored while you're fishing. Don't forget to bring or come up with ways to support your rod as well, so you can maximize exploration time with your dog as well. At the end of the day, you'll have enjoyed some new territory, gotten some exercise, gotten some fishing in, and if you're lucky enough, found some dinner to take home and share!
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Corn Palace

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Rainy Day
Cheap
Easy
45 - 120 min
Items needed
Leash
Dog Bags
Activity description
Outside of some of the state's natural features and Mount Rushmore, South Dakota is limited in terms of rarity, but there is certainly one thing you're guaranteed not to see anywhere else in the world: a Corn Palace. This impossible-to-miss building has been on Main Street in Mitchell since 1982 and even though it has seen numerous iterations and changes since the very first building was erected, the purpose has largely remained the same while the scope has been maximized to suit the purposes of the town's residents. It now stands at a century and a quarter old and still attracts nearly half a million visitors a year. The best parts are, it's dog-friendly, offers free tours and provides a good amount of entertainment for almost nothing.
Step
1
Go be a-maize-d
There really isn't much to planning this trip. If it's raining and you need something to do, call ahead and make sure there aren't any specific changes to the dog policy, then head on over. If you do like planning ahead, they do host events but only some are dog-friendly since others involve food, which gets tricky legally. You can also plan ahead by looking up the regular tour schedule or see when they plan to change any murals or other exhibits over, but chances are you should just take advantage of having a great spot to explore indoors that will keep both you and your dog dry and comfortable.
Step
2
Festival time
Though the venue is dog-friendly, pups must be leashed at all times or small enough to be carried. If you do bring your companion through the building, be aware of other patrons and their comfort around dogs. If it is the right time of year, take advantage of the fun to be found at the Corn Palace Festival, typically held in August.
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Pioneer Auto Show

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Rainy Day
Cheap
Easy
45 - 180 min
Items needed
Leash
Dog Bags
Towels
Activity description
For fans of cars, there are few better ways to spend the day than doing like your dog does and drooling over something you want. Fortunately, the Pioneer Auto Show is open all day during the summer hours, rain or shine, so you can drool to your heart's content. Not only do they have tours to show off their amazing array of cars but tractors, motorcycles and even collectibles, much of which is on display inside their giant sprawling complex. At only $12 a ticket at timeĀ of writing, it offers hours of entertainment for only a small cost and provides a new and fun place to walk your dog.
Step
1
Hot rods and hot dogs
Like the Corn Palace, there's not much to do besides pick a day and time and show up. It's always best to call ahead to make sure pet policies haven't changed, but otherwise, all it takes is checking the hours, packing supplies and heading over. You can even make it a family event since they also offer a treasure hunt for the kids. Just make sure to give your dog a bathroom break before the tours so you don't have any incidents. Otherwise, enjoy!
Step
2
Explore Prairie Town
The Pioneer Auto Show has much more than cars to see; there's even an authentic Prarie Town to explore. Visit an antique gas station that features memorabilia sure to satisfy those who love history. Also to be enjoyed are a jail, general store, livery barn and fire station. While seeing the sights, be aware of your dog's fatigue and need for hydration. And of course, always pick up after your pet when necessary.
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More Fun Ideas...

Where is Wall Drug?

One of the biggest tourist traps in the country resides within the town of Wall, South Dakota. Complete with an immersive shopping experience, food and tons of other stuff, it makes for a great escape out of the rain and provides more than enough to look at within it's 76,000 square feet.

Small Dog, Mammoth Site

If you're looking to get out of the rain and do something new, check out the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. They do require that dogs be carried or off the ground in some capacity, so it's not easy for larger dogs, but for those who qualify (including all service dogs), guests get to see a live paleontology site in a climate controlled building, plus a few other areas of interest, like the gift shop and grounds.

Conclusion

South Dakota might not be the rainiest state in the country or even close, but that doesn't mean residents and visitors can't take in some classic views and attractions when it starts coming down. If nothing else, we hope we've at least helped you realized that the rain shouldn't be a deterrent and given you some insight on how to find some clever ways to get around those now not-so-pesky rainy days.