If you’re visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota, everyone knows to go visit Mount Rushmore. But I’ve heard travelers say they’re not sure what else to do while they’re here. I’ve got your “to visit” list, as stated by a South Dakota born and raised gal.
Mount Rushmore – Yes, this is the obvious one for a reason. 😉
Bear Country USA – If your kids love animals, THIS is the place to go! With a drive through wildlife exhibit, your children will love seeing many animals. One part of the park even lets you drive past the “gatekeeper” (a bear who paces back and forth by the gate) before you go into an enclosure FULL of bears. You’ll be sealed up safely in your vehicle, so no worries! There are often many baby bear cubs as well.
Reptile Gardens – This is for the die hard reptile lovers. Here you’ll see alligator wrestlers, giant turtles, and more snakes than you can count. Think of it as a zoo of only reptiles, but on steroids!
Spearfish Canyon – This is a GREAT place to go for a drive, head out for a few short hikes, or just stop and take breathtaking photos. You’ll see small waterfalls, streams, and lots of amazing photo opportunities!
Custer State Park – Less than an hour’s drive from Rapid City, Custer State Park is another great place to take the entire family if you want to see buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, donkeys (yes, donkeys!), and other wildlife up close and personal. Many times the buffalo will be right on the path, so you’ll get to drive through the entire heard. Make sure to bring a loaf of bread. The donkeys like to be fed, and they’ll reach their heads right into the window of your vehicle looking for a bite to eat! 🙂
Crazy Horse Monument – While not finished, this is another one-of-a-kind monument in a mountain. You’ll see some great Native American history in the museum and artifacts. Call ahead because you may be there when they are doing a dynamite blast. If not, you might be able to climb up to the top. If you’re short on time, simply drive by the monument so you and everyone in your family can say you saw it.
At Least One Local Cave – Personally, I’ve only been to Rushmore Cave, and it was spectacular! However, I’ve heard great things about many of the caves in the Black Hills. You’re going to see an overabundance of billboards on the drive, so pick one that looks interesting to you. Or ask around. Everyone has a favorite!
Heather blogs at HoJo’s Life Adventures about her South Dakota life – saving money, parenting, and much more. You can find her most active on Facebook and Instagram.