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Badlands - Rapid City Accommodations with Kids!

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Badlands - Rapid City Accommodations with Kids!

I'd like some advice on accommodations. I'm driving through SD solo with 3 kids (preschool - elementary) on I-90. I'd like to stop and stay for several days in southwestern SD, and take the kids to see Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands, etc.. I'd like to find accommodations that were fairly reasonable (well under $100), and were outdoorsy. I'll be camping most of the trip, but would love to find someplaces in the Badlands/RC area that had tent-cabins or no frills cabins (so I don't have to sleep on the ground or set up the tent for a night), that were also close to attractions. While I don't mind staying in commercial KOA-type campgrounds if that's all that's available, I really prefer more natural settings (with no PA systems and without RVs running all night long with radios and tvs going).

Any ideas?

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1. Re: Badlands - Rapid City Accommodations with Kids!

I'd definitely spend 1 night in the Badlands at the Cedar Pass Lodge. Rustic cabins-beds and bath, not much else right inside the park. Have stayed there twice-walking distance to the gift shop/restaurant but very quiet at night. Not sure on the price-definitely cheaper than a motel but more than a campsite would run you. I did check prices a year ago (it had been 6 years since our last stay there) and I want to say it was around $65 (?) a night-may be off on that but I know we paid $100 to stay at the EconoLodge in Wall instead (opted for a pool for the kids plus we were traveling with others). As of a year ago, no website, had to call for reservations and since this is off season expect to leave a message-they will call you back.

Anyways, couldn't ask for a more scenic place to spend the night. The best thing about staying in the Badlands is you can take your time in there-hike and drive around during the day and take advantage of the dusk and dawn to drive slowly thru and look for wildlife. Last year we drove thru at dusk and saw about 20 mountain goats (sheep?) on the side of the road and then had an entire herd of pronghorn (35 or more) cross the road right in front of our car.

I'd also recommend spending at least 1 night in Custer State Park. However, the cabins will not be much below $100 a night. We stayed in a sleeper cabin at Legion Lake last summer and I believe it was $90-2 beds and a bath, fire ring and picnic table outside. My in-laws had a 2 bedroom with a kitchenette for $110/night that I would highly recommend-much more room and the kitchenette was nice although I was happy with our cabin as well. We cooked out for dinner and had a buck walk right past us. We also had a fire at night. It was VERY quiet and keep in mind, we were there the end of the Sturgis Rally-some bikers there but very nice, quiet and considerate-I think that's the norm for bikers but of course it's hard to get past the "Hells Angels" stereotype! I think the campgrounds there would also be great but if you want to avoid setting up the tent the extra cost may be worth it. In my experience, you get a better experience camping in the state parks as far as quiet and consideration go as opposed to privately owned campgrounds-just my opinion.

Anyways, Custer State Park is a great place to spend a few days and is a good base of operations to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and the tourist attractions in the area. Hill City, Custer and Keystone are also very nice towns. If you stay in the park, figure in extra travel time for the crazy winding roads and wildlife in the roads-especially a billion deer in the dark and the occasional bison in the road.

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