Interior, Sd is a gateway to vacation fun

The small community of Interior, South Dakota offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a fascinating part of the world.  Situated within sparsely populated Jackson County at the crossroads of Highway 44 and Highway 377, the village lies nestled within the Big White River Valley. 

To the south, Highway 44 leads to a gateway to the sprawling Oglala Dakota Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation, reportedly the eighth largest reservation in the United States.   And just up the road to the north, Highway 377 intersects Highway 240, a scenic drive through the magnificent Badlands National Park.

A friendly vacation spot

Interior offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy proximity to the richly historic Oglala Dakota Sioux culture.  Although the town’s population remains few in numbers, the local area offers facilities for road weary travelers.

Interior possesses the pleasing atmosphere of a quiet rural town.  The 2010 Census reported only 55 houses in the entire community.  Residential property and vegetable gardens line a roughly twelve block area.

Yet people visiting this area can obtain access to groceries and basic camping supplies, and gasoline and comfortable overnight shelter in the Interior area.  The town’s businesses include both a food and retail store and a nearby resort providing air conditioned motel rooms, a large bed and breakfast establishment and RV hookups and parking.  Depending upon the season, recreational facilities include a swimming pool and a playground.

To the south: Pine Ridge Reservation

Located in southwestern South Dakota close and bordering Nebraska for miles, the Pine Ridge Reservation has preserved a breathtaking natural landscape of rugged mountains, scenic valleys and dusty plains.  It was established in 1889, and today encompasses several rural communities in addition to Pine Ridge: Oglala, Kyle, Wanblee, Wounded Knee, Sharps Corner, Potato Creek and Long Valley.

The “Res” spans all of Shannon County, the southern half of Jackson County and a small portion of northwestern Bennett County.  Some of the region can become inaccessible during winter months. 

High unemployment rates on the reservation during the past have prompted the tribe to encourage the development of many new small businesses, a number of which involve efforts to preserve tribal crafts. Today visitors can stay in Interior and enjoy day trips visiting sites offering Oglala Dakota Sioux crafts, art works and jewelry items for sale; some members of the tribe produce a variety of unique products reflecting the important cultural traditions of the Oglala Sioux. 

Members of the tribe speak Lakota, and reportedly the population approached 38,000 people in 2010—a significant increase from previous years.

To the north: Badlands National Park

Interior sits within a region of geologic interest.  Amid the surrounding semi-arid landscape of dusty, rolling plains, scientists have located many unusual rock and mineral formations and fossils.

Badlands National Park can be reached easily from Interior by traveling just a few miles north.  However, the thousands of acres within its boundaries actually sweep in a huge arc formation extensively to the northwest and southwest.   

Highway 240 cuts across the northern rim; much of the southern portion falls within the borders of the Pine Ridge Reservation.  Road access remains limited there.

A lovely drive 

Anyone visiting Interior should take the time to drive through Badlands National Park along Route 240 if possible.  The area possesses an incredible diversity of wildlife in addition to wide natural vistas and stunningly beautiful sunsets and dawn horizons. 

Travelers can enjoy watching buffalo, coyotes, eagles, and pronghorn antelope.  Big Horn sheep reside in some mountainous sections of the Park.

The modern Visitor’s Center offer maps, outdoor safety information for hikers and details about points of interest within the region.  Definitely a park worth seeing…

In conclusion, the tiny village of Interior may hold the key to gigantic vacation fun.  The community’s residents enjoy full time access to a unique and very interesting part of South Dakota.