I adore Rapid City, South Dakota for a variety of reasons. It has a small town feel, the people are wonderfully friendly, it is deeply tourist oriented, the area is deep in history, there is a wealth of wonderful tourist based activities and family fun. I would highly recommend this location for a one week to two week family vacation. National Geographic recently named Rapid City as one of “America’s Best Adventure Towns.”
Here is a list of things to see and do around Rapid City, South Dakota. I have personally visited every site listed here during my two vacations to the area.
1) Bear Country USA
I have personally visited Bear Country USA on two separate occasions and I have greatly enjoyed the experience. This is a drive through wild animal park that has a strong focus on bears. You can also walk through the baby bear land for a close up view of small cubs that children adore. Be sure to plan a whole day to see this wildlife park.
2) Reptile Gardens
I have been to this small place and greatly enjoyed myself. They offer very informative shows and displays. Any child will adore a visit to this educational place. Be sure to plan a whole day at this wonderful park.
3) Mt Rushmore
No visit to Rapid City is complete without seeing Mt Rushmore. Its an amazing drive and a beautiful awe inspiring experience.
4) Crazy Horse Monument
A short drive away from Mt Rushmore sits the Crazy Horse Monument which is slowly being carved into the granite hillside. This is an ongoing project but no visit to the Black Hills is complete unless you see this phenomenal place.
5) Custer National Park
This is a beautiful location where you can still see Bison running free. It s a park that truly represents the beauty of the Black Hills and the American Plains.
6) Badlands National Park
No trip to the region is complete if you do not take in the rugged beauty of the Badlands. This is a must see place in America for anyone.
7) Deadwood, South Dakota
Be sure to visit this wonderful historic gold town in the heart of the Black Hills. If you are a history fan then you will adore this town.
8) Wind Cave National Park
This is a 44 mile underground cave that is quite awe inspiring.
9) Devils Tower National Park
Many Indian legions surround this unique formation which is a volcanic core.
10) Jewel Cave National Monument
This is a beautiful cave that is full of crystal formations.
11) Storybook Island
This is a free park in the middle of Rapid City. It is wonderful for children because it offers nursery rhyme displays, live animals, and a fantastic play land.
12) Dinosaur Park
This is located in downtown Rapid City and children adore it. It boasts many life size dinosaurs which are lit up at night.
There are a vast array of hotels in Rapid City that range in price from low to high. Each one offers a safe nights sleep. I would advice getting reservations if its the height of tourist season.
The region also offers a wealth of outdoor recreation. You can fish, hike, mountain bike, rock climb, and bicycle the many roads.
Please visit Rapid City’s Official Website for more information.