We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip Itinerary Help

Which South Dakota hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Lakeville, Minnesota
posts: 1
Trip Itinerary Help

I'm planning a trip to South Dakota with my 9 and 7 year old in mid-August. Places I'd like to see are, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Spearfish Canyon, Custer State Park, with possible Jewel or Wind Cave, Bear Country, Crazy Horse and panning for gold somewhere in there too. Suggestions on Itinerary? Thinking 5 day trip with camping. First night will be in the Badlands as that is about 7.5 hours from Minneapolis. Any other "must see's" with kids? Any help is appreciated!

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 18,668
reviews: 296
1. Re: Trip Itinerary Help

Be sure and go online and look at the maps and travel guide for the Black Hills at-


Apple Valley...
posts: 625
reviews: 24
2. Re: Trip Itinerary Help

Definitely do the Alpine Slide in Keystone for the kids. You should have plenty of time to do all you want. Also good that you are doing a stop at the Badlands on your first day/night. Not sure if the 5 days includes the travel time but here is a sample itinerary:

Day 1 Drive to Badlands NP, checkout visitors center and maybe do night sky program?

Day 2 Drive Badlands Scenic Loop Rd with stop at observation points or hiking at Door/Windows Trail, etc. Continue on to Black Hills camp site (Keystone or Hill City most centrally located towns). Possibly add Bear Country as it is located between Rapid City and Keystone. Cosmos Mystery Area attraction is also fun and nearby.

Day 3 Drive Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park to see buffalo/bison, begging burros, etc.up to Mt Coolidge Fire Lookout Tower and then drive Iron Mountain Rd (south to north) to Keystone and Mt Rushmore for the afternoon. Checkout the Alpine Slide, Big Thunder Gold Mine possibly and go back to Rushmore for evening ceremony as well.

Day 4 Day Trip to Devils Tower (walk trail around base) and then Spearfish Canyon Scenic Drive. Maybe stop at fish hatchery?

Day 5 Start at Jewel Cave in the morning, then on to drive Needles Highway in CSP and explore Sylvan Lake area. Then to Crazy Horse later which also has a kid friendly laser show at dusk.

On way home, stop in Falls Park in Sioux Falls as well to stretch the legs, get ice cream, etc. Very pretty park with some historical markers and an observation tower.

Woodbury, Minnesota
posts: 329
reviews: 7
3. Re: Trip Itinerary Help

We did the wildlife loop, wind cave and mammoth site in one day.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,557
reviews: 35
4. Re: Trip Itinerary Help

Great itinerary by Iowagirl! You are already hitting many of the highlights. And yes, you could do the Wildlife Loop, Wind Cave and the Mammoth site in a day. I don't know if it is of interest, but the Mammoth site offers a Jr Paleontology program where the kids can do a "fossil dig." Advance reservations are required.

Be sure to order the travel planner that Peach mentioned. It will help you in the planning process.

Do you have any campgrounds in mind? I don't camp, but many on here like camping in Custer State Park. I have also heard good things about Rafter J and Palmer Gulch.

Let us know if we can help further!

South Dakota
posts: 2,326
reviews: 138
5. Re: Trip Itinerary Help

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally runs to the 11th, and some bikers will linger a few more days. Try to bump your dates back as far as you can into August to avoid the rally crowd and prices. Also, if you have not made campground reservations,especially for an RV (tent sites do not fill as quickly) and especially if you are considering a state park, I would get on that as soon as you finish reading this. Have a great trip!

6. Re: Trip Itinerary Help

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:17 am, June 13, 2014