We went to the Black Hills at the same time as the previous poster. We left Minneapolis on Friday night 8/29 and stayed at the Microtel in New Ulm which was a nice reasonable hotel. Then we visited DeSmet, SD, home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We saw the Loftus store, which was okay..and the Surveyors House. I think the price of the tour was reasonable. We also visited the graves. The town is very small, but it is nice to see where she lived.
Then we visited the Corn Palace which is what it is. I appreciate all the hard work to put that together. It is just something that you see from the outside, but it is a bit cool.
Then we stopped at the rest stop at Chamberlain, which had some interesting displays. The Akta Lakota Museum at St. Joseph School is actually a very good interesting free museum, by donation only. We then went on to the Badlands. The Badlands were very hot, but the views were excellent and it had some interesting trails which were easy to walk with boardwalks.
From there, we went on to Wall Drug. Yes, it is tacky. Yes, it is overpriced. And to me, it was fun. I can appreciate all the old photos and memorabilla put together in one place..like an old fashioned store, so I was glad that I stopped there. It is a fun diversion after the long drive. From there we went to the Black Hills, and spent 2 hours waiting to get into Alpine Inn. The food was good, but not worth a 2 hour wait, although the service was fine.
The next day, we did the Wildlife Loop, Needles Highway, and Iron Mountain Roads at Custer State Park. I especially liked the Needles Highway, but was bored by the Iron Mountain Road. We ate at the buffet at the Game Lodge, which was a good deal, but the food was okay. They had good desserts.
We took a trail ride at Blue Bell Stables, which was fun. Then went into the shops at Keystone, and went to the Big Thunder Gold Mine. The mine itself was interesting, but the tour was too short for the money.
We then went on to Mt. Rushmore. I liked the Presidential Trail and Mt. Rushmore was awesome. The night ceremony was a bit disappointing. There was also a good gift shop there.
We stayed at the Super 8 in Hill City. Hill City is centrally located and a cute town. The Super 8 is in a good location, although we had a problem with the keys and the staff got annoyed with helping us. The next day we went to Spearfish Canyon. Roughlock Falls were beautiful with many nice trails to see the falls. A beautiful place for a picnic. It is an easy hike with many beautiful views.
We then went on to Deadwood and saw the Moriah Cemetary, which was interesting, Adams Museum, which was a very good museum (the museum at the Information Center across the street is interesting as well), and the shootout at Saloon #10. The actor who played Wild Bill was very good. He got right into the part and readily posed for pictures and was very personable to the crowd. From there we went on to North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Park. I will post that on the North Dakota forums.