South Dakota’s state capital, Pierre, is a pleasant and attractive city on the banks of the Missouri River. The State Capital building is especially visually impressive with its meld of Classic and Victorian architectural influences. The nearby Capital Lake is fed by a warm artesian well and never freezes, making it a wintertime oasis to many grateful waterfowl. Both the lake and the Flaming Fountain memorial are saturated with natural gas, useful for warmth and flame but occasionally unpleasant for visiting noses.
Lewis and Clark, the famous American explorers who seem to have spent a night on every square yard of the Dakotas, would be pleased by the city’s commitment to its history. The South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center has many fine exhibits, including a bloody Ghost Dance Shirt from Wounded Knee. Passengers on the Capital City Queen can visit some of Lewis and Clarks stomping grounds on LaFramboise and Farm Islands, which feature hiking and camping opportunities and good view of Lilly Park, yet another Lewis and Clark stopover.