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Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

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East Meadow, New...
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Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

We have been to 45 of the 50 states (not just drive through but staying and exploring) and now we will be visiting MN, NE, SD, and ND over a period of 12 days starting Saturday July 20th. So far we have a car for the entire time and all the hotels reserved but changeable.

Would appreciate comments and suggestions as to attractions, events, theater, rodeo, scenic drives, etc. We are not hikers but will take walks, prefer not to shop but will wander shopping streets, love live music and theater and modern art, and seek out scenic drives and backroads spots of interest. Are there any rodeos to recommend? (Loved the one in Cody Wy)

3 nights, 3 days Minneapolis Homewood Suites St. Louis Park at west end- Stone Arch Bridge, Cathedral, Landmark Center, Guthrie Theater, Walker museum and Sculpture Garden, Grand Ave, Nicollet Mall, perhaps Art Car Parade, 112 Eatery, Restaurant Alma. What else is happening that weekend?

1 night, 2 days Omaha: Old Market, Bemis Cntr Contemp Arts, Durham museum, Artists coop Gallery, Botanical gardens, Wave Bistro, Grey Plume

1 night, half day Sioux Falls: Sculpture walk, Parker's Bistro, Minnervas

3 nights, 3 days Rapid City, Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park bison and drives, Needles Hwy scenic drive, Natl Museum of woodcarving, mammoth excavation, Spearfish scenic drive, Dahl art center, perhaps Country roots festival Tally's silver spoon, Philly Teds

1 night Pierre, followed by full day scenic drive northward, Cattlemen's club Steakhousee or Big Tom's domer

1 night Bismarck: Heritage cntr if open now, Pirogue Grille, Blarney Stone Pub

1 night Fargo: Mezzaluna

drive back toward Minneapolis with full day of scenic drives before flying out at night

Thanks in advance for your advice and input

Apple Valley...
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1. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

See the Badlands on the way into the Black Hills/Rapid City area as its an hour East to make sure have time for more scenic drives in the hills area as they take time to go slow. Spearfish Canyon is an hour or so north so just be careful with time for everything. ;-)

See Falls Park in Sioux Falls, just beautiful and some historical markers and old mill buildings.

I am not familiar with rodeos (although I hear good things about the Cody, WY one too) but the Black Hills/Rapid City area has some nice Chuckwagon dinner shows if interested.

Too bad you are missing Teddy Roosevelt Natl Park Badlands area in ND...but sounds like it will be a nice drive along the river heading north from Pierre?

East Meadow, New...
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2. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

It looks like we have a choice according to someone on the NDakota forum who also thinks Teddy Roosevelt NP will be a loss..

Do we go on what is called the Native American Scenic Byway highly recommended in the National Geographic book of top scenic drives in America (Pierre to Eagle Butte to Bismarck) OR do we drive through the ND badlands through Teddy Roosevelt NP and then to Bismarck? And where do we stay en route? The first choice includes staying overnight in Pierre SD with an early start to do that route and end up in Bismarck to sleep. The second choice involves going north from Rapid City and finding a place to stay along that route - any ideas?

Which would you choose? We will have already driven Badlands NP in SD, Custer State Park, Needles Hwy, Spearfish Canyon so which route is more different?

Apple Valley...
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3. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

I have not done them myself, a friend just got back from a trip that included Teddy Roosevelt NP and the pics looked great! Choice is yours obviously, especially if you cannot find lodging. Plus the drive after that may be all interstate?

East Meadow, New...
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4. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

The alternatives are certainly all great but just to make sure, we researched both routes online at websites, youtube, mapquest, and car cam videos. The Native American Scenic Byway in the National Geographic best scenic drives book may not be as interesting as touted but the alternative that goes through highway, Teddy Roosevelt NP, and Medora is not perfect either. Teddy Roosevelt NP Badlands videos of ND look almost exactly like the Badlands NP videos of SD so that will likely be somewhat redundant...but still gorgeous. Medora is a created tourist town with shoot outs, musical extravaganza, golf, wild west hotels and pitchfook barbecues that are pretty pricey since that town is the only choice near the entrance to TRNP. If we had young grandkids along, that would be fun for them but for two very well traveled adults, the authentic route may be better. I think we will decide after we visit Badlands NP and while we are in Rapid City. Either way can't be bad!!!!!! Thanks for your input.

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

TRNP is by far the most scenic part of North Dakota. I don't think it's the same as the Badlands in South Dakota. We saw a good amount of wild life in the park. The rest of North Dakota is pretty much miles and miles of farm land. Never been disappointed by a National Park, each are unique and worth visiting IMHO. Fargo and Bismarck on the other hand don't seem like vacation destinations to me.

East Meadow, New...
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6. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

You are right in that we have no plans on vacationing in Bismarck or Fargo but they are good sleeping points. Bismarck is at the north end of the Native American Scenic Byway ----5 hours drive plus stopping points away from our start in Pierre. Fargo merely cuts the distance from Bismarck to Minneapolis so that we do not have to drive as far or take the risk of missing our plane out the next day. We would definitely like to visit TRNP in addition to the Badlands NP but we just don't have the time for every place...even though we are not really rushing with 12 days in the area. There is just so much to see and armed with information and suggestions, we know we can change our route during the trip...one of the beauties of traveling independently. Thanks for your thoughts.

East Meadow, New...
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7. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

Have changed our route based on several forum recommendations and will now go from Rapid City to Teddy Roosevelt NP, staying overnight in Medora which will give us the afternoon, evening, and most of the next day there.

So, does anyone have any thoughts on the Medora Musical? Restaurants in Medora area?

Thanks again.

Knapp, Wisconsin...
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8. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

I have not done the Medora Musical but we did do the Pitchfork Steak Dinner there and it was wonderful. The view and scenery in Medora is breath taking. A must see.

Sioux Falls, South...
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9. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

I 2nd goodiowagirl in that you should make a quick stop by Falls Park while in Sioux Falls. Maybe consider a cave tour in the Black Hills if you've never done one, Wind or Jewel Cave, if you have time that is. Everything else you plan on doing there are great ideas too. Maybe Deadwood or Sturgis would be worth swinging through and stopping by if you're into those sort of towns.

East Meadow, New...
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10. Re: Minnesota, NE, SD, ND in 12 days?

We thought we would swing by Sturgis since we will be near there he week before the big meet....to see what is happening and who is gathering. We have toured many many caves all over the world so we an pass on that one. Yes, we do plan to see Sioux Falls.