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Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

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Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

Hi! My husband, 2 teen daughters, and I will be driving to a family wedding in Eugene, OR in July. We have about 2 weeks and were considering driving the northern route to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone before landing in Portland OR for a day before the wedding in Eugene (2 hrs. away). None of us are the nature-hiking types, but we do like history/landmarks (loved Gettysburg!), so Custer Battlefield, Rushmore, and Crazy Horse are all on our to-do list. We love shopping, unusual/fun/foodie places to eat, and interesting sites to photograph (not nature). We know Chicago well so will probably drive through. If anyone can suggest places to stop, particularly HIlton properties (Hampton Inns, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inns, etc.), that would be great, as well as must-see stops. Thanks so much!

Pitman, New Jersey
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1. Re: Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

Since this trip will encompass many areas, I'd recommend posting on the road trips forum.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

I do have some concerns, however, based on your description of yourselves. Since you are not that into nature, I don't know how much you would enjoy Yellowstone. Neither area is a shopping mecca.

In the South Dakota area, you will probably want to stop at the Corn Palace (unusual place to photograph), and also Deadwood. There's quite a bit of wild west history there.

I've been to Gettysburg, as it's fairly close to where we live, and it's really not like Yellowstone or anything you will find in SD at all. Just something to consider. In order to get a feek for the attractions in South Dakota, be sure to order the travel planner at travelsd.com.

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2. Re: Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

Thanks, I have made the travel SD info request.

We don't dislike nature, we just don't see the need to hike through areas with lots of fearsome wildlife.:-) We're happy to drive around Yellowstone, for example, taking in highlights like Old Faithful. That being said, I read something about a ski lift ride at Mt. Rushmore with a some sort of slide down(?!). That I can see making time for! Stuff like this (and go carts) are definitely of interest, too. My main interest, though, are places to stay given how late we're starting our planning.

Iowa
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3. Re: Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

Yellowstone is incredible, but given it's vast size it's not really a place you can quick drive through to see the highlights. How many days to you want to spend there? If you do Custer battlefield first, you could take the Beartooth highway down into Yellowstone, but it is a slow drive and very "nature driven":-). Old Faithful is at the south part of the park, so a long drive from Custer battlefield (full day's drive if you barely make any stops). Given you're not into nature at all, I would be tempted to give the Yellowstone detour a miss, as much as it pains me to say it! That would give you more time in South Dakota, and doing the attractions there.

I think the alpine slide is what you mean; we didn't do it but it seems to get good reviews. I don't remember seeing any go cart tracks in the area, but we weren't looking either. Any interest in animals? Bear Country USA and Reptile Gardens would be a suggestion.

We (errr...well the kids and I, not dh so much) like history too, and I thought Crazy Horse memorial interesting. They have a museum there too. Mt. Rushmore is worth a stop too, of course!

Not sure which route you'll be taking, but I-90 has a cute and interesting attraction called 1880s town, with old western style buildings, some you can go in.

Since you mentioned go-carts, have you considered stopping at Wisconsin Dells? I think it's about a three hour drive from Chicago. You'll certainly find go carts there, along with waterparks:-). We go for a weekend each summer, and my kids love it. It ranks right up there with Disney for them.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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4. Re: Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

The Alpine Slide is located at Keystone next door to the Roosevelt Inn and Big Time Pizza, which is a wonderful place to eat. We LOVE the pizza there. The only go karts I can think of would be in Deadwood at Gulches of Fun, which is part of the Comfort Inn there.

As Kren said, Yellowstone is not a drive through park. In order to see the major sights, you need to park, get out and walk. For instance, you will need to walk to get closer to Old Faithful. The numerous geyser basins are very accessible, but you must leave your car. Ditto on the beautiful canyon area. There are many short walks, but you will still need to leave your car.

We don't mean to discourage you. We just want to try to give you an idea what the park is like. Badlands National Park, however, is one which you can drive through much easier than others. There are many overlooks you can enjoy that don't require any walking.

Apple Valley...
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5. Re: Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

Most of the posters on here would recommend NOT staying in Rapid City but I believe that is where you would find the brand of hotels you prefer. It adds a 30 min drive or so to the main attractions like Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial but also a lot of the other stuff that you and your kids are interested in for the area, water parks and mini golf and whatnot.

I did the ski lift but not the alpine slide but it did look fun and seemed really popular! Near Badlands Natl Park is the Minuteman Missile Site with a tour, also Wall Drug sounds like a souvenir shopping mecca you might enjoy, a piece of Americana roadside history.

Rapid City would also offer more food options then the smaller towns in the Black Hills. I remember reading about the Journey Museum and other attractions, as well as the Presidential statues all along the downtown area. They also have a park downtown that has some pieces for the Berlin wall. That along with the Minuteman Missile site would offer a lot of Cold War era history possibly for you.

Wall, SD also has a small Wounded Knee Museum for more Native American history.

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6. Re: Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

Thanks so much to everyone that responded! I think you've really helped clarify our plans.

7. Re: Road trip: Ann Arbor, MI to Portland OR

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