This town in the far southeast corner of the state gets its name from the deep-red clay found along the Vermillion River. Home to the University of South Dakota, Vermillion is also where you'll find the one-of-a-kind Shrine to Music Museum, a collection of more than 13,000 rare, beautiful and just plain strange musical instruments.
Be sure to stop at the W.H. Over State Museum, which houses a sizable collection of specimens and artifacts pertaining to the natural history of South Dakota and to Native American culture. It also contains the Lewis and Clark Spirit Mound Learning Center, which focuses on a nearby site that was visited by the explorers. They had been told that tiny spirits inhabited the mound, but they found only large numbers of buffalo. Spirit Mound itself is 5 mi/8 km north of Vermillion.
Though they lie about 95 mi/152 km away, Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge and Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge may be worth a stop for those heading west from Vermillion. In fall and winter, the largest concentration of bald eagles in the U.S. (apart from Alaska) migrate to the Mundt Refuge. Visitors to Lake Andes include waterfowl, 200 species of birds and deer. Hiking, fishing, hunting and boating are popular pursuits in the refuges and elsewhere in the surrounding area. Vermillion is 62 mi/99 km south of Sioux Falls.
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