Last summer we ventured on a little trip with friends of ours and headed to the black Hills in South Dakota. Having never been to the Black Hills, we knew we were in good hands as our friends have been many times and were great guides to us. Part of the fun of road tripping to the Black Hills is all the stops along the way. You can read about all the fun places we stopped on our way out here. When we arrived in The Black Hills it was late afternoon. We decided to head to Mount Rushmore right off the bat. The sun was setting and the kids were ready to get out and stretch their legs. The great thing about Mount Rushmore is that it’s easy to get to and it can be as long or as short of a visit as you want it to be. Ours was more on the shorter side (sorry Mr. Presidents). We made just enough time to admire and take photos of the iconic rock sculpture, watch a short clip on the history of how it all came together, and walk around a bit. It was really all the time we needed there and then it was time for dinner. We stopped for pizza on the way down the hill from Mount Rushmore in the little town of Keystone. The drive to our house was about a 45 minute jont up into the hills, and with the deer coming out we didn’t want to be making that drive at dusk (which happened this night) or when it was dark.
Day 1 (or 1st afternoon): Mount Rushmore
For our time in the Black Hills we rented a house from VRBO in Lead, and it was in a ski resort area. It was so quiet and peaceful up there which made the long drive to and from the main events each day worth it. Plus, the drive was beautiful so we didn’t really mind it.
Day 2: Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park
The next morning we headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Our 10 year old was really into the history of the rock sculpture of Crazy Horse and loved walking around in the museum. We enjoyed a quick hoop dancing demonstration, and the kids loved getting up and trying their own hoop dance. It was fun and educational.
After Crazy Horse we ventured over to Custer State park and walked around Sylvan Lake. We could have spent an entire day here at the lake, and now we know for next time how to best utilize our time for Sylvan Lake and Custer State Park. We didn’t make it to the wildlife viewing part of Custer or drive through the so-called nail biting needles road, as it was getting late and we needed to head back down the windy road that leads up to Sylvan Lake to get home before dark.
Day 3: Cosmos and Keystone
We opted for a quirky little visit at The Cosmos Mystery Area. Here we got a short tour of the property where they say weird things happen because of the magnetic hills and the gravitational vortexes. Something to be experienced for yourself. It was definitly entertaining and something different. The kids thought it was really interesting and had a blast on this short tour.
After our Cosmos experience we headed into Keystone. We visited the popular tourist stop Rushmore Tramway Adventures. We took the kids up the hill via a chairlift and proceeded to have lunch at the top. After lunch we headed back down the hill but this time riding the alpine slides. My kids loved this so much. Landry (our 3 yr old) was with me and kept saying, “Go faster mom!” I was going pretty slow for safety precautions and even after me saying, “We’re going fast,” he wasn’t having it. “No we’re not. We’re going slow.” He’s too smart for his own good.
Once at the bottom, I talked Tanner into going ziplining. I have always wanted to zipline and they had one here. He was a champ about it and we can now check zip lining off of our bucket lists. After the ziplining, we all headed over the the 1800’s train. The train ride was so relaxing and peaceful and was definitely a highlight of the trip and a must do again for all of us.Visiting the Black Hills was the perfect little getaway for us. It was a slow relaxed trip. The kids were able to run and explore and just be kids. For a mid July trip, the weather was perfect. Such a memorable summer trip. We can’t wait to go again.