If you're a geologist, a naturalist, or just someone that's interested in a place a bit off the beaten track, then The Badlands, South Dakota is the place for you.
A mixture of spires, valleys, buttes and sharply eroded sandstone, this mixed prairie grass preserve is a great place to go whether you're a fossil hunter, or just interested in natural beauty.
Badlands National park is a gorgeous place – with unique and unusual sandstone rock that layers in ways that has to be seen to be believed. The spires, and erosions formed over several thousand millenia make for a unique skyline. Vegetation and fauna sprinkle crevices and valleys, making for interesting walks, and of course, the badlands are home to all kinds of wild animals, from Bison that graze by the side of the road as you're driving through, to Prairie dogs, Elk, Coyotes, and wild Horses.
Many interesting fossils have been found there, since the interest in paleontology kicked up in 1840 or so. Several species of fossils have since been discovered in the White River area of the Badlands – more than 3/4s of the total found by 1854 had come from that one area.
Theodore Roosevelt national park is the most interesting of the Badlands parks, made up of three packages of land that are separate from one another – and are all connected by The Maah Daah Hey trail. It is said that Theodore Roosevelt associated strongly with the 'dying' way of life of the Western cowboy, and rancher and had his own ranch there to recover from the loss of his mother and later, his wife. His Ranch is set deep within the heart of one of the packets of land and though there's nothing left of it now, he wrote about the peace he found there, before returning to politics later in his life.