After much research in the South Dakota travel guide and this website as well as other sites, I have come up with our itinerary for our trip to SD in late June. We are a family of 3 (hubby & I and our 5 year old daughter. We like history and scenic places and it looks like the black hills has plenty of both.
Friday, June 21 - Leave SW Missouri and drive north, stopping for the night at Mitchell where we have a room at the Best Western
Saturday, June 22 - Quick stop at the Corn Palace and then a quick stop at Chamberlain. Arrive at the east entrance to the Badlands around noon. Any suggestions on where to eat or get some picnic food in this area? I've read that the Cedar Pass Restaurant is only so-so. In the late afternoon we will head up to Wall where we have a cabin booked for 1 night at Frontier Cabins. After check-in, head over to Wall Drug for dinner and tour the rest of the store.
Sunday, June 23 - Wounded Knee Museum first thing and then leave Wall and head to Rapid City, arriving around noon. Drive into downtown RC to see the Presidents' statues. Any suggestions for a good restaurant in downtown? Museum of Geology, Storybook Island, and Dinosaur Park. Then head south on 16 to Keystone and check in to our cabin at Powder House Lodge where we will spend the next five nights. Dinner at the Powder House Restaurant and relaxing at the pool.
Monday, June 24 - Sylvan Lake, Needles Highway, lunch at Legion Lake Lodge. Gold panning at the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center at 1pm. Drive the Iron Mountain Road from south to north, arriving at Mount Rushmore in the late afternoon. Tour Mount Rushmore, eat dinner at the Carver's Cafe there, and stay for the evening lighting ceremony.
Tuesday, June 25 - Start out at Fort Hays for the 99 cent pancake breakfast. Then head over to Reptile Gardens for the rest of the morning and afternoon. Eat lunch at the cafe there. In the late afternoon, head back over to Fort Hays to tour the film set and craft demonstrations and then stay for the evening dinner and show.
Wednesday, June 26 - Head into Custer State Park and drive the Wildlife Loop from east to west. Head south on Highway 87 to Wind Cave. Take the 10:40 am Garden of Eden tour. Head back up Highway 87 into Custer State Park and stop at the Blue Bell area. Eat at the BB Lodge or get some picnic food and find a spot. Drive up to Mount Coolidge Lookout. Quick stop at the Gordon Stockade, then head west into Custer City. Tour the 1881 Courthouse Museum and then eat dinner at the Black Hills Burger & Bun Company. Then head to Crazy Horse for the laser light show and the Night Blast.
Thursday, June 27 - Head up 385 to Deadwood. Drive by Adams House and take a few pics from the outside. Continue on to Mount Moriah Cemetery for pics of the graves and the view. Stop next at the Adams Museum. We need a place to eat lunch somewhere near Main Street that is not in a casino (i.e. kid-friendly). Walk down Main Street to the Saloon #10 for the 1pm show of the Killing of Wild Bill. Watch the shootout on Main Street in front of the 4 Aces at 2pm. Head north to Spearfish and then drive south through Spearfish Canyon, stopping to take pics and short hikes. Stop at Cheyenne Crossing for dinner. End in Lead to see the Homestake Mine Big Cut. I've read that there is a free viewing platform at the visitor center. Is this platform accessible when the visitor center is closed? If we don't get to Lead until after dinner, the center may be closed, but we still want to see the big hole.
I wish we had time to go out to Devil's Tower but just don't see how we can squeeze it in. On Friday we will leave the Black Hills and head south into and across Nebraska. We want to drive home via a different route and see other stuff. We plan to stop at Carhenge, Chimney Rock, North Platte, and Lincoln before heading home.
Thank you for your help.