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Trying to narrow down where to stay in Black Hills

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Orland Park
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Trying to narrow down where to stay in Black Hills

My family (me, husband and 3 kids - twin 11 year old girls and a 5 year old boy) will be going to this area in July. We are driving from Chicago and planning on spending 2 nights in the Badlands (hopefully, haven't booked it yet), Then, we have 5 nights to stay in Black Hills/ Mt. Rushmore before heading home. I have narrowed it down to these: The Powder House (seems to be my favorite; kids would love the loft suite or family suite), K Bar S Lodge (looks nice and the free breakfast) , Roosevelt Lodge (large suites) Holiday Inn Express in Hill City (gets great reviews). Or we can split it up and spend a couple nights at Blue Bell Lodge and then head back to Hill City or Keystone for the rest. Blue Bell only has a couple nights available during our stay, but those nights would work out well. Just not sure we really need to split up our time between the two hotels.

We would like to do the main touristy things but we do like to hike (easy - moderate intensity) as we proved from last year's Yellowstone trip. So I did think we would want to be close to Custer State Park, but then again there are other areas in hike/walk as well. the Michelson Trail looks very interesting to me so maybe close to that?

Help please!!.

Edited: 12 January 2011, 17:34
Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Trying to narrow down where to stay in Black Hills

I am partial to the K Bar S Lodge while others like the Roosevelt Inn in Keystone. We ate supper at the Powder House Lodge and were not impressed at all with the food. The cabins and lodge looked quite rustic but we only saw them from the outside.

When you are in Custer SP eat lunch at the State Game Lodge for the best buffet with bison stew and homemade pies.

Orland Park
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2. Re: Trying to narrow down where to stay in Black Hills

Thanks..will keep this in mind. Lunch at State Game Lodge does look great!

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Trying to narrow down where to stay in Black Hills

Blue Bell Lodge is a quaint little resort located at the south end of Custer State Park. While Keystone and Hill City are a more central location to the Black Hills, there is something special about staying in the park. We have stayed in the housekeeping cabins at Blue Bell and camped there as well. Absolutely love this resort. Some of the cabins have been built within the last 10 or 15 years while others are original to the resort which was built in the 1920's or 30's. The older cabins have been remodeled and are cute and rustic while the newer cabins are a little nicer. Everytime we have stayed there we have seen tons of wildlife right outside our cabin. Our kids, who are now grown, always bring up Blue Bell as one of their all time favorite places. The Lodge has an excellent diningroom as well. It is too bad only 2 nights are available.

Keep in mind, though, that the Black Hills are very compact. Keystone and Hill City are very close to Custer State Park and the northern Hills, as well, and are close to the hiking trails in the Needles/Sylvan Lake and Michelson Trail areas. Powder House Lodge is located just outside of Keystone right next to the main highway. We have never stayed there but have talked to people who have and were happy with their accomodations. Even though it was close to the road they said you could not hear road noise. Unlike PeachBelle, we eat at the lodge restaurant all the time and always have good meals. K Bar S and Roosevelt Inn are both more like hotels. K Bar S is very nice and located just minutes from downtown Keystone in a more remote area. The Roosevelt is in town.

You mentioned staying 2 nights in the Badlands. If you haven't made reservations yet, check into the Circle View Guest Ranch. We have relatives who stayed there for two nights and raved about their stay. Sunrises and sunsets in the Badlands are incredible. Website is:

circleviewranch.com/circleviewguestranch.aspx

Pitman, New Jersey
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4. Re: Trying to narrow down where to stay in Black Hills

Great advice already. The Roosevelt Inn has very large family suites and a pool/gameroom. However, many do not like the breakfast they offer. It was ok for us, and with a micro/fridge, you can always pick up things. I like the Roosevelt very much. Others like K Bar S for its breakfast, but it does not have a pool, which may or may not be an issue for your kids. I have read mixed reviews on Powder House, though it seems more good than bad. As you said, Holiday Inn Express does get great reviews, but I personally think Hill City caters to a more mature crowd. I think your kids might like Keystone better. Yes, it's touristy, but there's a bit more kitcshy stuff to do there, and kids like this type of thing.

You could split up your time..Custer is not that far. It would really depend on how much you feel like moving. I have not stayed at Blue Bell, but I have eaten there, and it was excellent. We had great food and service. You would not need to move about, since as Mountainmama said, the Black Hills is very compact.

You really can't go wrong with any of your options here, IMO. I think with your family, I'd stay in Keystone or Custer SP. THe cabins are certainly looking into, and you could save $ by eating in.

Also, if you stay in Keystone, be sure to check out Big Time Pizza at the Roosevelt Inn. It's the best pizza anywhere... Even if you don't stay in Keystone, check it out...

5. Re: Trying to narrow down where to stay in Black Hills

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