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Black Hills family road trip

Stevens Point...
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Black Hills family road trip

Hello, I've been researching and searching forums for help putting together/finalizing our itinerary for NEXT week but am still struggling a bit with a timeline. We (family of 5 with 3 kids ages 10,9, 6) are driving from Central WI for total of 5 nights. Limited budget. Prefer nature/wildlife/non-touristy attractions. We are staying in a cabin in Custer. Our first night will be in Chamberlain, SD after a 8 hour drive. Leave early next AM and visit the Badlands for the day with a stop at Wall RX. Arrive in Custer late afternoon. Then we would like to see the following attractions but I just don't know how to arrange them over the next 3 days. Mt. Rushmore (and night show), Crazy Horse, Mammoth Site, Alpine Slide, Bear Country USA, Jewel or Wind Cave, Custer State Park including scenic drives (could be separated into different days), my kids love to hike and climb on rocks and enjoy wildlife viewing/interactions. On the last day we hoped to drive to Devils Tower via the Spearfish Canyon, hike around that and then start our drive home with a stop enroute that night (?Chamberlain again) and finish drive the last day. I'm just struggling with which attractions to do when considering best time of day to go to them and their proximity to each other. Thanks for any advice.

South Dakota
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1. Re: Black Hills family road trip

If you dislike touristy attractions, be warned that Wall Drug is the epitome of all things touristy. Bear Country and the Alpine Slide, while enjoyable, are also touristy. Also, with only three full days, I think your wish list is too long and you may have to eliminate some things.

You could try it like this:

Arrival Day: Badlands, Alpine Slide (doesn't take long to do, spendy)

Day 1: Jewel Cave. Arrive at opening for tickets. Allow extra time due to reported road construction. Crazy Horse. Sylvan Lake (if you don't do it on day 3). Do the hike around the lake. Needles Highway.

Day 2: Mt. Coolidge, Wildlife Loop, Iron Mountain Road (south to north), Rushmore (get there no later than 5:00, check to see when the sculptor's studio closes)

Day 3: Bear Country. I usually suggest Reptile Gardens on this day, too, because they're close to each other. However, since that's not on your list and you like rock climbing, you could try to make reservations with these people:

http://www.sylvanrocks.com/.

I had to eliminate the Mammoth Site, because it's way down in the southern Hills and I'm not sure how to fit in in. Maybe others will have some suggestions and/or other ways of doing this.

For the trip home, I'd probably go with Chamberlain. Your lodging options along I-90 would be Rapid City, Wall, Chamberlain, Mitchell and Sioux Falls. There's a big gap between Wall and Chamberlain and after the Devil's Tower drive, you'll probably be too tired to go much further east. Make reservations for the trip home now. Hotels in I-90 towns fill with travelers, especially on weekends, in the summer. I'm not sure of your exact dates, but Mitchell is hosting the state swim meet July 25-27, so hotel rooms there will be full.

Edited: 15 July 2014, 16:24
Fremont, California
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2. Re: Black Hills family road trip

Day One: Drive from Custer to Mammoth Site (its worth it), drive north to Wind Cave National Park, then drive to Custer State Park area, drive the wildlife loop (hope the animals are out in full that day), and then drive to see the night lighting ceremony of Mount Rushmore. Get there about a half hour prior to when it gets dark.

Day Two: See Sylvan Lake (about 1/2 hour drive from Custer), then continue through park to Ironstone Highway, drive it (great views of Mount Rushmore), and then do mountain slide in Keystone and possibly bear country. Return to Custer and then go to the lazer light show at Crazy Horse (note: There is a really good Native American museum here so you might want to leaev yourself more time for Crazy Horse than MOunt Rushmore. The low side of Crazy Horse is that it is far more costly to visit the park than Mt. Rushmore - so if budget is an issue, just take pictures and do not enter the park.

Day Three: Drive to Deadwood (perhaps see that for a bit small museum there for free (donation encourage), then do Spearfish Canyon (scenic), also consider seeing the National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, then its about an hour drive to Devils Tower and remember an hour back from Devils Tower if you take I90. There are scenic roads you can also take that adds about an hour to the drive instead of the interstate.

Just my thoughts - we just got back from eight days there.

s for the day with a stop at Wall RX. Arrive in Custer late afternoon. Then we would like to see the following attractions but I just don't know how to arrange them over the next 3 days. Mt. Rushmore (and night show), Crazy Horse, Mammoth Site, Alpine Slide, Bear Country USA, Jewel or Wind Cave, Custer State Park including scenic drives (could be separated into different days), my kids love to hike and climb on rocks and enjoy wildlife viewing/interactions. On the last day we hoped to drive to Devils Tower via the Spearfish Canyon, hike around that and then start our drive home with a stop enroute that night (?Chamberlain again) and finish drive the last day. I'm just strugglin

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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3. Re: Black Hills family road trip

Here's another suggestion. These days could be interchangeable, and it makes no difference the order you do them in.

Day 1: Wildlife Loop (1st thing), Mammoth Site, Iron Mt Rd (south to north), stopping at Rushmore. It would be up to you if you wish to add the lighting ceremony this night or another one.

Day 2: Jewel Cave/Sylvan Lake/Needles Hwy/Crazy Horse. Even if you don't reserve with Sylvan Rocks, the kids can still climb informally over the rocks. The Badlands is a great place to climb too.

Day 3: Bear Country/Alpine Slide/Rushmore lighting ceremony if not done previously. If you have done the ceremony, I"d add something else here like Reptile Gardens.

South Dakota
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4. Re: Black Hills family road trip

sending you a private message

Stevens Point...
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5. Re: Black Hills family road trip

Small world Wendy! We're a family of five, from stevens point, and will be traveling to SD soon too on a family road trip! We're just doing 2 days in SD, then moving on to the Tetons and yellowstone, driving back through ND and spending a day in Theodore Roosevelt on our way back. Small world:) have a great trip!

Overland Park...
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6. Re: Black Hills family road trip

If your kids enjoy climbing around on rocks (mine do), get out on the trails at Sylvan Lake if you have time. Your kids will love it! I strongly suggest doing at least the first part of the Sunday Gulch trail at Sylvan Lake (going counter clockwise). My kids LOVED this trail!! They also loved the Harney Peak trail (#9 up and #4 down, we preferred #4).

7. Re: Black Hills family road trip

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