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Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

Needham...
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Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

I'm traveling with my 8 year old son to see Mount Rushmore. We fly into Rapid City and I'm weighing options of staying at a hotel vs. a B&B vs. resort that has horse riding/fishing/activities as part of the overnight stay. Anyone have any suggestions on places they recommend? It would be for 4 nights and I am renting a car. Looks like we should see Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, Crystal Caves, Cosmos Mystery Area and the Alpine Slide but am open to suggestions on itinerary. Thanks in advance!

Everett, Washington
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1. Re: Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

Probably just a personal preference sort ot thing but I think I would opt for the Reptile Gardens over Cosmos. Might be more interesting for an 8yo.

http://www.reptilegardens.com/

Also try to squeeze in a stop at Crazy Horse. Contrast to Rushmore.

With so much else to see in the Hills paying extra activities of a resort might not be worth it. A nice hotel with pool might be sufficient.

Badlands are opposite direction from Rapid City so if flight arival is early (or departure late) swing there at start or end of trip.

Pitman, New Jersey
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2. Re: Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

I agree with Sequim that I'd go for Reptile Gardens considering your son's age. Bear Country, right next door would be interesting as well if time permits, but you will see plenty of wildlife in their natural habitat in Custer SP.

I also agree that I'd probably opt for a hotel with a pool. With five days, you will be quite busy. Your son is a perfect age for exploring the area. Keystone as many options, as does Hill City. I like the Roosevelt Inn of Keystone, and there are chains there as well. In Hill City, the Holiday Inn Express is well rated. If you were looking for activities, you could consider staying in Custer State Park. There are cabins and rooms at the lodges.

You mention crystal caves. It sounds like you are referring to some of the privately owned caverns in the area (Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns and/or Crystal Cave Park). Personally, if you are looking to explore caves, I'd look to do Jewel Cave and Wind Cave, which are operated by the National Park Service. The rangers do a superior job with the tours, and your son could participate in the Jr. Ranger Program.

If time permits, I'd consider taking your son to the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs (especially if he likes dinosaurs), Everything Prehistoric in Hill City, and you could possibly go panning for gold. There are gold mine tours in Keystone and Deadwood.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to order a travel guide from travelsd.com so you can get a feel for the area's attractions.

Have a good trip, and please feel free to ask additional questions.

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

While touring Custer SP be sure to eat lunch at the State Game Lodge for a delicious buffet with bison stew and homemade pies.

We like the K Bar S Lodge in Keystone which sits in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore. It has a hot breakfast included and an area in front of the lodge for kids to play but no pool. It also sits off the main road.

Brighton, Michigan
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4. Re: Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

We stayed at Circle View guest ranch in Badlands for one night when my boys were your son's age -- great night sky -- can feed resident mules/donkeys :) Be sure to do alpine slide near Mt Rushmore :) Rode horses @ Blue Belle. When you go to CSP, be sure to ask ranger where the heard of buffalo are -- hopefully this will put you right in their path, which is quite cool :) Sylvan Lake is great for swimming -- maybe look into lodge there. Also, Sylvan Rocks great fun to rock climb with :)

Needham...
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5. Re: Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

Thank you for all the replies- these are such helpful tips! I am thinking he and I will want to do a hike while there. We loved hiking but on trails that are highly populated and ones that do not go deep into woods- preferably ones that have huge views. Any suggestions? I'm thinking that one day will be jewel/wind cave in morning, crazy horse then mount rushmore at night for lighting ceremony.

Another day will be badlands and a hike? Could I fit more in?

Another day the alpine slides and reptile gardens and bear country?

What is custer SP?

Finally, should I potentially stay at more than one spot? My thanks in advance!!!

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

You asked what Custer SP is. It is a state park that should be a national park. Custer State Park is defintely the best state park we have seen and is one of our favorite destinations. Full of wildlife, gorgeous scenery and wonderful hiking trails. You mentioned you would like to hike. Almost all of the trails will take you into the woods but many are highly populated. The hike to Harney Peak is one that is and has a fanatastic view at the top. The hike around Sylvan Lake is easy, short and also very pretty. There is also the Mickelson Trail which can be hiked or biked. There are several places you can rent bikes if you are interested. We have rented them Hill City and I know you can rent them at the Rafter J Bar Ranch campground just south of Hill City. Bike rental links:

http://www.rafterj.com/other-activities

mickelsontrail.net/mickelsontrailadventures

I do not think you need to change hotels thoughout your stay unless you are interested in staying at the Circle View Guest Ranch in the Badlands as noted by a previous poster. We have heard wonderful things about the ranch. We always encourage people going to the Badlands to try to take in the sunrise or sunset while there. It is fantastic. Your son will probably love the town of Wall located at the north entrance to the Badlands. It is a kitschy place but one you have to see at least once. Lots of fun for an 8 yr. old.

http://www.circleviewranch.com/

7. Re: Mount Rushmore trip last week in June 2011

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