I’m going to make a bold statement: everyone needs to visit the Black Hills of South Dakota at least once in their lives.
Why? Three reasons:
- It is BEAUTIFUL.
- There is SO MUCH to do in the area.
- It is very AFFORDABLE.
Although I allocated three days to explore this region in Trip 4 of my ebook How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips, you could easily spend not just one, but two entire weeks or more in the Black Hills. That’s how much there is to do.
Most of my clients who travel to the Black Hills spend about a week there, and so my work is to curate the many available activities into a manageable itinerary based on their interests.
Do you want to see some of the many activities available?
The Black Hills region offers two national parks for you to explore: Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park. Both offer fascinating geological formations. Wind Cave is also home to a herd of free-roaming bison and lots of cute prairie dogs.
Other National Park Service sites
One of the most well-known places in the Black Hills is Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but there’s also Jewel Cave National Monument and Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Plus Devil’s Tower National Monument is two hours away–a popular day trip from the Black Hills.
Other parks and monuments
Custer State Park is a must-see, in my opinion. There are also lots of hiking trails and places to explore in the Black Hills National Forest.
Plus, Crazy Horse Monument has an interesting story and is a fascinating place to visit.
I’ve already mentioned Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, but there are also some commercially operated caves in the Black Hills that offer tours.
You are likely to encounter wildlife such as bison (don’t get too close–use your zoom lens), prairie dogs, and burros in the parks of the Black Hills, but there are also attractions where you can get up close to bears and reptiles.
Dinosaurs and Paleontology
The Black Hills is a fantastic destination for anyone interested in paleontology and archaeology. You can see some amazing dinosaur fossils that were found in the region and even touch real dinosaur bones!
You can also visit a working archaeology site where they are uncovering woolly mammoth bones.
Learn about the history of the railroads by visiting a railroad museum and taking a ride on a heritage railroad train.
Beyond what I’ve already mentioned, there are even more museums in the Black Hills. It’s a fantastic destination for combining learning with fun.
Fun stuff and photo ops
While there’s a lot to learn in the Black Hills, there’s also plenty of fun to be had too. Let’s start with all the fun statues you can pose with: dinosaurs, a giant prairie dog, plus several more at Wall Drug Store, like a giant jackalope.
One of the more unique attractions I’ve seen is this spring-fed swimming pool with these swinging rings.
The Black Hills also has a couple of attractions that offer rides like an alpine slide, mountain coaster, and ziplines. Plus you’ll find escape rooms, mini-golf, etc. If you’ve never been to a Chuckwagon Dinner, you may want to give that a try too.
Do you see what I mean? The Black Hills region offers MUCH more than you can do in a couple of days or even a week. I would love to help you plan a trip for your family to the Black Hills. Read about how my services work.