I have had a lot of people ask "What is there to do in South Dakota?" There is actually a lot to do. I was pleasantly surprised :) I decided to share some of the fun things that we did. I'll also attach our itinerary just so you can see how we did everything. Obviously, depending on how much time and the age of everyone going on the trip, would depend on what you do. But at least it gives you a jumping off point.
- Mount Rushmore - I know, I know, everyone knows about Mount Rushmore. Can I just say that is truly is amazing and spectacular!
- Make sure that you go to the movie and learn about why and how it was built.
- Go in the morning for great lighting and less people.
- Go to the evening Ranger Talk and lighting ceremony. Stay for the retiring of the flag for the opportunity to honor all of the veterans in the audience.
- Get the Jr. Ranger booklets for your kiddos to do. Then make sure they get their badge. (my kiddos learned a lot and thought it was great to get a badge).
- Go there first thing. They often sell out of tours. (It's first come, first serve).
- Natural Entrance Tour is good for kids. We went on this one. It was a lot of walking and not as much talking. The kiddos LOVED walking through the cave and seeing how cool it was. They were patient during the stories that were told, but I think much more talking would have lost their attention.
- Sylvan Lake is a fun place to stop for lunch. There is a beach where you can get in and swim. You can also hike around the lake and some cool rocks in the area.
- Needles Highway is a must drive. It is beautiful and majestic. Lots of great photo ops.
- Wildlife Loop is great especially in the morning or early evening. We went during the middle of the day and didn't see as much as we would have at a different time of day. We saw buffalo, prarie dogs, wild turkeys, burros, deer, and antelope.
- Iron Mountain Road - Another cool drive with fun tunnels and bridges. If you can't do the whole thing, start on the Keystone side and just go up through a couple of tunnels and then turn around and go back down.
That was our trip in a nut shell. If you want to see how it all came together. Here is a copy of our Itinerary.