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.

Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

Which Sioux Falls hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Houston, Texas
posts: 68
reviews: 19
Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

I will be going on a road trip next summer (July) from Chicago to Mt Rushmore w/ 3 adults and 2 kids (15 & 12).

From Chicago to Sioux Falls it’s about 8 1/2 hr drive; so I was thinking of stopping for the night here (which we would lose a day. Or 2nd option is to drive for 13 hrs straight to Mt. Rushmore. We are used to the long drive, so that will not be an issue. I plan on leaving Chicago by 6:00 AM, so could arrive Mt. Rushmore/Keystone by 8:00 PM

Is there anything worth stopping to see in Sioux Falls? I would hate to lose time in SF if it’s not worth the stop.

South Dakota
posts: 2,406
reviews: 138
1. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

I think it will actually take you closer to 9 1/2 hours to get from Chicago to SF, but I suppose that depends on how fast you drive.

Here's a suggestion for you:

Leave Chicago at 6:00. Arrive in Sioux Falls around 3-3:30ish. Stop and spend an hour bumming around Falls Park. It's free and it's scenic. Go up the free tower, have ice cream at the cafe and stretch your legs on the paths. Get back in the car and drive to either MItchell or Chamberlain. Spend the night in one of those two towns. Continue driving west and spend 3 or more hours in the Badlands. Continue on to Keystone for the night.

In my opinion, Falls Park is the best thing to see in Sioux Falls. Others haven't been impressed with it and, I suppose I'm biased, but I think it's worth the stop and it's free, so you're not out money if you dislike what you see.

South Dakota
posts: 2,406
reviews: 138
2. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

Thinking about this a bit more, since you don't mind long drives, I'd spend the night in Chamberlain and get up early, trying to get to the Minuteman Missile site at opening (if you don't get there at opening, tickets are tough to get). After touring the Minuteman site, I'd drive the main Badlands loop. You will still have time to arrive in Keystone for the night and this saves you backtracking later to visit these sites (assuming you'd like to see them).

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,602
reviews: 35
3. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

If you are interested in touring the silo at Minuteman, I'd definitely arrive at the opening (8 a.m.) as 3174 suggested. I arrived there this past summer at about 9:15 a.m. and the next available tour wasn't until 1:30. And..it would have not accomodated a party of 3. The center is about 2 hours from Chamberlain, so you will need to leave no later than 6 a.m. I believe the tours are limited to 6 people each, so they fill quickly.

Let us know if we can help you further.

Houston, Texas
posts: 68
reviews: 19
4. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

Thank you for your suggestion. I used to work at NASA-JSC, so the family is a little burnt out touring rockets.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 7,974
reviews: 29
5. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

>>> I used to work at NASA-JSC, so the family is a little burnt out touring rockets.<<<

I can appreciate how that might happen. I would note, however, that the Minuteman Missile Site is much more than a rocket. In fact, the actual launch site tour doesn't even include the missile silo, you have to drive to another location in the area to see the underground silo.

You may want to reconsider the suggestion as it really is very informative about an era in American history that many are not aware of and have probably not "toured."

I also agree that at least a "drive through" Badlands NP is worth the time and effort since you nearly go right past it anyway.

I did the trip from Milwaukee summer of 2012. Here is a link to my travel journal with reviews and photos: igougo.com/journal-j77035-South_Dakota-More_… .

Have a great trip!

South Dakota
posts: 2,406
reviews: 138
6. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

If you decide to skip the Minuteman site, then either Mitchell or Chamberlain will work (there's not much for lodging after that until you reach Wall.) Mitchell is larger than Chamberlain and would have more services and hotel options, if that makes a difference. Mitchell is one hour west of Sioux Falls and Chamberlain is two hours west. But definitely do the Badlands on the way as they are not to be missed. Staying in Mitchell or Chamberlain will allow you time to do that. You will arrive too late in the day if you attempt to see them the same day you depart Chicago. Obviously, as I mentioned before, you can always go directly to Keystone and then head out on a day trip (will be about two hours round trip). Whatever you decide to do, have a great trip and check back here if you have more questions.

Houston, Texas
posts: 68
reviews: 19
7. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

Thank you got taking the time to comment and help out!

8. Re: Driving thru from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore

-:- 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: 10:15 am, December 13, 2014