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#2143320 - 08/23/17 06:29 PM South Dakota Vacation!
MBrownie Offline
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Hello everyone! Looking for any experience and/or recommendations on vacation to South Dakota in late August (2018) for 10th anniversary. Specifically re: where to stay (and where not to), restaurants, etc. We like to hike and generally enjoy the outdoors. Looking to explore around Custer, Wind Cave and Black Hills. Anyone have any recommendations?! Thanks!

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#2143331 - 08/23/17 06:58 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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815 Jackson Boulevard, Rapid City, SD 57702

great chain you can eat outside
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#2143344 - 08/23/17 07:45 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Helpful, as always, Ed.

When I was in college (and that was a while ago), I did a management paper on Wall Drug Store in Wall, SD. Ever since, I've wanted to stop by. Never have made it. I wasn't sure that anyone ever went to SD on purpose.
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#2143348 - 08/23/17 07:54 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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If you haven't been to Mount Rushmore, I think it is worth a visit. There is a trail you can take that gets you closer than the standard viewing area. There's also a neat lighting ceremony in the evenings. I would also take time to drive through Badlands National Park if you haven't been there. It is an eerie, unique landscape. Not sure if I'd want to try to hike there in the August heat, but there's a loop road that takes you through a good portion of the park.

You will see signs for miles and miles about Wall Drug. This is 100% a tourist trap. It is a very large, well executed tourist trap, but just be prepared if you go there, that is all it is. You can buy food, and you can buy lots and lots and lots of trinkets.

The Black Hills area is beautiful; you will have no problem finding plenty of outdoor activities to do there.
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#2143350 - 08/23/17 07:59 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Wall Drug is on the opposite end of state from where you are going, but if you want to drive there go through the Badlands National Park. While on the west side of the state see the Crazy Horse Memorial, drop into the Nebraska to visit Fort Chadron,

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#2143352 - 08/23/17 08:13 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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I went to SD in 2015 for Sturgis, while there we did just about everything that was listed above. We stayed in Rapid City which was a good location for Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, Deadwood, Hill City and the Badlands. We visited Wall Drugs and it is not much. Just a lot of stuff that reminded me of my childhood. I would also recommend taking a ride through Spear Fish Canyon (north of Sturgis), it was absolutely beautiful. I rode cycle so I had my bicycle and took a nice ride out of Rapid City into the Black Hills.
Very pretty part of the country.
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#2143354 - 08/23/17 08:20 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Go in early August and visit Sturgis
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#2143362 - 08/23/17 08:41 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! Reg Warrior
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Originally Posted By Reg Warrior
Wall Drug is on the opposite end of state from where you are going, but if you want to drive there go through the Badlands National Park. While on the west side of the state see the Crazy Horse Memorial, drop into the Nebraska to visit Fort Chadron,
So OP said they were going to the western part of the state - specifically mentioned Custer, Wind Cave, and Black Hills. From my map (Google Maps), Wall, SD is 100 miles from Custer - hardly opposite end of a state that is over 400 miles from east to west.
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#2143365 - 08/23/17 08:51 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Mitchell Corn Palace
http://www.cornpalace.org/
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#2143371 - 08/23/17 09:09 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Second the recommendation for Spearfish. Also eat at the Alpine Inn in Hill City.
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#2143400 - 08/24/17 11:11 AM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Mt Rushmore before they blow it up
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#2143469 - 08/24/17 04:36 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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#2143479 - 08/24/17 05:06 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Maybe they'll only have to blow up the left half, since that's where the former slave owning presidents are located. Teddy and Lincoln should be OK, right?
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#2143486 - 08/24/17 05:39 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! RVFlyboy
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Originally Posted By BeechFlyboy
I wasn't sure that anyone ever went to SD on purpose.


I never thought I would go to SD either, and then we moved there. On purpose!!!

Black Hills are stunning and I would second the recommendation to go to the Badlands if you have the time. I think my family could have spent more time hiking there. There's a back road (off the interstate) from Interior into Rapid or Custer that will take you through the south end of the badlands too. Pretty drive to your next destination. (Note that you will, however, miss Wall if you take the back way wink ) If you do stay on the interstate, there's a old minuteman missile silo right off of I-90. Not really an anniversary, outdoorsy thing to do, but thought I'd mention it anyway.

We always go to Custer, but we usually camp when there. I can recommend their camping and cabin facilities. Great hiking trails there, too. Bring bikes and paddleboards if that's your thing. This last trip we were just passing through and stayed a night at the State Game Lodge at the state park. I won't stay there again.

My family prefers the Wind Cave to Jewel. Lines for the caves are long, but no one has complained. I don't cave but the surrounding park occupies my time. They have the usual Black Hills wildlife but the chances of seeing elk seem to be higher.

Be forewarned that cell service is sketchy in places. Most places have a pad of tear-off maps of the region. Take one. They are good maps and you may need the old paper way of getting around. If you request the tourist info, they will mail you two of these maps.

Last trip, we did as recommended above and dropped down into western NE.

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#2143501 - 08/24/17 06:18 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Devils Tower is a cool place to see if it within you traveling radius. I've also seen Rushmore which is cool and wind caves which my kids really enjoyed.
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#2143502 - 08/24/17 06:19 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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You will probably have to deal with residual smoke from all the fires in Montana and the surrounding area.
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#2143509 - 08/24/17 06:54 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Badlands are a must see. Like a different planet.
Enjoyed the 1880's train ride and ate lunch in the saloon Wild Bill was shot in.
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#2143518 - 08/24/17 07:09 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Wow everyone, thank you!! This is great to hear. My plans are to stay far, far away from Wall Drug. smile Looking into a couple VRBO cabins in the Custer and Rapid City area, never done that before but might be the way we go. Cornfed, I might pull on your knowledge closer to the time of travel!

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#2143542 - 08/24/17 08:14 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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We went several years ago. We stayed in Deadwood, and did Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devils Tower, Spearfish Canyon and Custer State Park. One of our faves was the caramel apple pie at the Bluebell Lodge in Custer State Park. We have talked about it for years. It was a great time and beautiful scenery. We were there in early August, just before the bike rally. Enjoy!

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#2143566 - 08/24/17 10:02 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Quote:
Teddy and Lincoln should be OK, right?


They have already started defacing Lincoln statues as he did not vociferously denounce slavery. It will just be a short moment in time until Teddy is next; after all, he had a captive bear, and they started to make stuffed bears in its likeness, and since it was his, the term Teddy Bear. PETA will be after him for having a wild animal in captivity.
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#2143586 - 08/25/17 11:31 AM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Ford owns Lincoln and Henry Ford used slave labor in his germany plants prior to WW2. The car and old Abe shar the same name. (See Robert Lee espn reporter)
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#2143724 - 08/25/17 08:08 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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Go through Custer State Park and then drive the Iron Horse Road to Mount Rushmore. The road was built so you get glimpses of the carving on the drive. Even the tunnels are designed so the openings frame the carving.

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#2143776 - 08/28/17 12:04 PM Re: South Dakota Vacation! MBrownie
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We did this, great suggestion.
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