Now that we have visited the beautiful Black Hills in South Dakota, I cannot believe we have never been before. To have that gorgeous landscape, so different than what we are used to where we live in Nebraska so close to us is astounding. Driving to the Black Hills from Omaha is about 8- 8 ½ hour drive straight through. What makes this roadtrip fun is that there are unique places to stop along the way that breaks up the drive and makes it not seem so long. We actually made a day of it. Taking our time and exploring all the stops along the way. Since we live in Eastern Nebraska we actually drove straight north our first night. We were lucky enough to have our first overnight night stop be at our friends’ place in Sioux Falls which is about 2 ½ hours north of us. It was a quick drive and one there it left us with about a 6 hour drive to the west side of South Dakota that we tackled the next morning.
Once on highway 90, we drove for about an hour before we stopped in Mitchell, SD. I had heard about the corn palace before but have never even seen a picture of it. Our kids were so excited to see what this so-called palace made out of corn was all about. It is definitely a must see. I won’t go into too much detail (so as not to spoil the experience), but I will say, it is really cool, and we spent a good hour there just walking in and around it.
After we left the corn palace it was getting close to lunch and the kids were starting to get hungry. We had another quick hour drive up the road before making our next pit stop on the other side of the river in Oacoma, at the famous Al’s Oasis. This cute little strip mall of shops is dressed up like an old western town. Al’s Oasis had the best pie, which in my book is reason to go back again. If you have a big appetite, try their buffalo burger. Don’t forget to stop in the souvenir shop on you way out the door.
I have to laugh when I think of Wall Drug. People would try to explain it to me but once again, it’s something that needs to be experienced. It is such a tourist trap, but again, they have a little sprinkler/water area in the back on the stores and a places for kids to run around and get all their energy out. They also have ice cream…and homemade donuts. It’s one of those places where when our kids grow up they will remember trying to pick out their souvenirs at Wall Drug. It’s really just a strip mall of souvenir shop, upon souvenir shop made out to resemble an old western town.
I’m sure there are more hidden gem stops along the way, but these are just the ones that our family stopped at on our trip out. It made the day relaxed and fun. Even after driving and stopping at our slower pace, we still had time to fit in a trip to Mount Rushmore once we got to Keystone, have some pizza and call it a night. We did hit the Badlands on the way home, but it was more of a pit stop than a visit. We would love to go explore it more. Have you done this road trip? What are your family’s favorite stops/ things to do? I’d love to hear your suggestions for the next time we head out to the Black Hills.