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Driving from Denver to Rapid City

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Denver, Colorado
posts: 8
Driving from Denver to Rapid City

hi,

We are planning for a trip to Rapid City and the area during this thanksgiving holidays. I wanted to find how the drive is going to be? Is it pretty much flat land or is it mountainous- the drive from Denver? We have a mini van (2010 Honda Odyssey) but it is not 4 wheel drive. So I want to know if we need to rent a 4 wheel drive SUV or our mini-van will suffice.

Also we have 2 kids 8 and 3. We are planning to go to WaTiKi in addition to the Mt. Rushmore ... any more suggestions aboout where we can visit to keep the kids engaged. We plan to stay to days there.

Regards

Ravi

8 replies to this topic
Arlington, Virginia
posts: 7,363
reviews: 91
1. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

We made the drive from Denver to the Black Hills a number of years ago in our minivan--no problem in the summer, but I can't say what it will be like in November.

I recommend going to the Reptile Gardens in Rapid City.

Edited: 6:45 pm, November 19, 2013
Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 1,760
reviews: 128
2. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

Reptile Gardens is a good suggestion. It's open until Nov. 30th and then closes for the season. Putz N' Glo indoor mini golf might amuse the 8 y.o. It's open on Wednesdays and weekends. You could also try ice skating in the relatively new rink at Main Street Square.

I can't recall how mountainous the drive was, as it's been years since I've done that drive. I do remember the middle portion being relatively flat. Mostly, I remember that it was the most boring drive I've ever done. Seriously, watching paint dry is more exciting than that drive. Watch the weather forecasts because there are long stretches with no sign of civilization. Most people go through Lusk, and that's about the biggest town along there, which isn't saying much. Slrtravelplanner did the drive this past summer, so she will have good info. on that.

Edited: 6:51 pm, November 19, 2013
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,237
reviews: 35
3. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

The drive is very straightforward and isn't particularly mountainous. The Wyoming and SD portions are pretty flat. You will be on the interstate in Colorado, so it should be easy, unless weather gets in the way. In November, anything is possible.

it's about 6 hours without stops from Denver to Keystone.

For the kids, I agree with Reptile Gardens, and you can add Bear Country. Both are open 9a-3p, so plan accordingly. Wind & Jewel Caves are possibilities. Two days isn't much time. so be careful to not overplan. In warmer weather, the Badlands and Custer State Park are must sees, but I'm not sure if the weather will be kind to you.

Let us know if we can help you further.

Denver, Colorado
posts: 8
4. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

Thanks slrtravelplanner and 3174 for the info. Is WaTiKi waterpark something the kids will enjoy?

Regards

Ravi

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,237
reviews: 35
5. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

I have not been to Watiki, but I am thinking if they are kids who enjoy waterparks, they will like it, especially this time of year when the outdoors can be somewhat "unkind." I have a teenager, and she likes just about any waterpark, regardless of size. lol!

I am laughing as I read 3174's comments about the drive. Yep..Lusk is about the most interesting town, and she's right when she says "It's not saying much." We encountered some interesting rest stops along the way with some rather primitive toilets (I don't recall which towns they were in), but we were grateful they were there if you know what I mean. We did find the drive long and tedious after our flight into Denver from the east coast, but it seemed better after getting a good night's sleep. We drove almost the same route again when we headed to Estes Park after the Black Hills, plus we got a much earlier start.

I forgot Putz N Glo mini golf. Great fun!! The kids will love it.

Enjoy your trip!

Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 1,760
reviews: 128
6. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

Friends went to Waitiki with an 8th grader, 5th grader and 3rd grader and had a good time. I don't know what they have for your younger child, though.

Slrtravelplanner, it sounds like not much has changed about the drive. :)

Denver, Colorado
posts: 8
7. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

Thanks all for the info. This is very helpful!! If weather is not too bad we will make the trip :-)

Regards

Ravi

Presho, South Dakota
posts: 966
reviews: 99
8. Re: Driving from Denver to Rapid City

We have been to Watiki twice. It is our favorite of motel waterparks. There are 3 different slides. We went down with the grand kids when they were little. They loved it.

There is also a lazy river that you can float around. There is a hot tub which is great for warming up. There is a walk in beach type area area which is good for little kids.

If the kids don't know how to swim, a life jacket is a good idea.

We have spent a whole weekend in the waterpark so allow enough time! Have fun!

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