After struggling with a dip in tourism in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in South Dakota is back with a vengeance.

New numbers from Tourism Economics show that visitor spending in the Mount Rushmore State wasn't only up in 2021, it was the highest it's ever been.

Visitors to South Dakota spent $4.4 billion last year, which is a 30 percent jump from the previous year and six percent higher than anything the state has ever seen.

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The number of visitors skyrocketed as well.

A total of 13.5 million people came to visit last year, which is an increase of 26% over 2020.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism estimates that $344 million in state and local tax revenue was generated in 2021.

In all, 5.2 million hotel room nights were booked in the state in 2021, while a record 8.3 million people visited South Dakota’s state parks - a three percent increase.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at

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