county seat of Clay County, South Dakota, United States

Vermillion is a city in South Dakota with about 11,500 people in 2023, known for being the home of University of South Dakota.

Downtown Vermillion



Vermillion was founded in 1859. The name refers to the Lakota name: wa sa wak pa'la (red stream). Vermillion has a mixed academic and rural character: the university is a major academic institution for the state, with its only law and medical schools and its only AACSB-accredited business school. Major farm products include corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.



Lewis and Clark camped at the mouth of the Vermillion River near the present-day town on August 24, 1804. The previous day, they had killed their first bison; the following day, they climbed Spirit Mound. In May 1843, John James Audubon visited the Vermillion ravine to view the bird life.

The original town was entirely below the bluffs on the banks of the Missouri River, and three-quarters of it washed away in the Great Flood of 1881.

William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft—candidates for the U.S. Presidency in the 1908 election—spoke in Vermillion on September 28 and 29, 1908, respectively. Along with Eugene Chafin, they toured South Dakota by train, including stops in Mitchell, Tripp, Yankton, and Elk Point.

Get in


By plane


By car

  • From Sioux Falls, Vermillion is approximately 60 miles south or an hour drive.
  • From Omaha, Vermillion is approximately 130 miles north or a two hour drive.

By bus

  • Greyhound has a stop on the edge of the University of South Dakota campus.

Get around

  • 1 National Music Museum (NMM), 414 E Clark St, The University of South Dakota (at the corner of Clark and Yale Streets, on the south edge of the University of South Dakota campus), +1 605 677-5306, fax: +1 605-677-6995, . The NMM's renowned collections, which include more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments from all cultures and historical periods, are among the world's most inclusive. They include many of the earliest, best preserved, and historically most important instruments known to survive. The quality and scope of the NMM has earned it international recognition. $10.    
  • 2 Spirit Mound Historic Prairie, 31148 SD Hwy 19 (5 miles north, off SD Hwy 19), +1 605-987-2263, . Spirit Mound Historic Prairie is a state park featuring a prominent hill on the Great Plains. The Plains Indians of the region considered Spirit Mound the home of dangerous spirits or little people; members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition climbed it on August 25, 1804. free.    







Go next

Routes through Vermillion
ChamberlainYankton  W   E  → Jct N   S → becomes  Le Mars

This city travel guide to Vermillion is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.