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.

family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Which Custer hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Berea, Ohio
Level Contributor
15 posts
family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Hi!-looking for advice..we have a great trip planned- 2 adults and kids ages 10,11,,,leaving Ohio June 1 to Starved Rock State Park in Ill, staying there 2 days, heading to Sioux City,IA for 1day, then to Keystone,SD for 2 days,

to Billings MT for 1 night, then take Beartooth Pass to Yellowstone for Families Summer Camp for 6 days

wondering if - when we are in Keystone if it seems practical to also see Wind Cave,Custer,crazy horse,and also go to Hot Springs(kids want to see Mammoth Site)

thanks! appreciate any input..havent been out west since I was a kid:)!

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
4,853 posts
35 reviews
1. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Well, Sioux City, IA to Keystone is 6.5 hours with no stops per Google maps. Therefore, the way I see it, you really only have one day to tour the the area. You are really going to have pick and choose your activities carefully as not to overplan.

We usually recommend stopping at the Badlands when you are driving in, but you may just want to get to the area, rather than adding a 3 hour stop to your plans of the day.

On your full day in the area, I'd focus on Mt. Rushmore and whatever you can see in Custer State Park. If your kids are set on seeing the Mammoth Site, keep in mind it's about 50 miles from Keystone. You could drive the Wildlife Loop, which is part of Custer State Park, on your way back. You won't have time to see Crazy Horse and Wind Cave, unforutnately. The Mammoth Site, although interesting, would not be a high priority for me in your limited time frame, but only you know how much it means to your kids to see it.

Let us know if you have additional questions.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
19,930 posts
329 reviews
2. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

With 2 days should be able to fit any your list of sights to see in the Black Hills. There is also the Badlands NP if interested and Custer SP.

Go online and look at or order a Black Hills travel guide at www.travelsd.com

When leaving Billings and heading out the Beartooth Hwy into the NE entrance of YNP check to be sure the road is open. Because of budget issues and possibility of late spring snow storms the hwy can be closed. We have been twice in early June and both times the road was closed. Also was there the first of September one year and encountered snow and ice and the DOT closed the road the next day.

Edited: 10:17 pm, April 13, 2013
Level Contributor
386 posts
237 reviews
3. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

There is so much to do in the area. I would, just my opinion, just do one night in Illinois, drive to Sioux Falls (it's closer to Keystone making the next day a shorter drive) then stay in Custer rather than Keystone. I haven't gone yet but unless your dead set on a particular place, Custer seems a little more central for Custer SP, Wind and Jewell Caves. Mt Rushmore is a little further away than Keystone but I have been told to go to Rushmore via Iron Mt Rd (in Custer SP).

I would definitely try and fit in at least 2 hours for seeing Badlands. Ideall a few hours (or spend a night here instead of the 2nd night in Illinois). Cedar Lodge happened to update the rest of their cabins which are a very reasonably priced given their proximity to awesome parts of the park.

Custer State Park will arguably the best attraction so definitely budget as much time as you can for it. I am going to stop at Wind Cave as well but I am just going to do the basic tour and do a small hike on the way to stay in Custer coming from Nebraska the night before. Yellowstone is amazing...easily my favorite park and I have been to a lot... Definitely be prepared for snow and other weather in June in Yellowstone. The park is great in any weather though really.

Level Contributor
333 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Why do you have starved rock on your schedule? There really isn't much to see or do there especially when you compare it to the parks in SD. For more time, I would skip IL all together.

South Dakota
Level Contributor
2,922 posts
152 reviews
5. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Is this going to be your one and only trip to Yellowstone, or is it a place you plan on visiting more in the future? If this is going to be your only visit, six days is not enough time to see Yellowstone, especially if a good chunk of that time is spent in a camp setting doing camp activities. Since you have to go to Yellowstone for the camp, maybe you could skip the extra nights in SD and IL and add them to your Yellowstone time? Eight days is a bit better. It's also handy to see the Tetons since they are close to Yellowstone.

The Black Hills, the Badlands and Devil's Tower are wonderful and deserve a week's worth of your time. Maybe plan on seeing them on a different vacation when you have time to fully appreciate them?

Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
419 posts
185 reviews
6. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

While I think Starved Rock State Park is a beautiful place to visit (we live nearby and usually go once a year for a day of hiking), I do think I'd cut that part back to one day. That way you'd have more time for the sights in South Dakota and Yellowstone, etc......which are more impressive than Starved Rock. Don't get me wrong.....Starved Rock is beautiful......but the other things you'd be missing out on are much more unique.

Berea, Ohio
Level Contributor
15 posts
7. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Thanks so much for the input!

we adjusted our days-and appreciate all the advice!

just trying to break up the trip for our kids and do things on the way

thank you!!!

Level Contributor
718 posts
8 reviews
8. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Cam, if the Beartooth is closed when you travel, turn off I-90 at Ranchester, WY, onto 14 and go over the Bighorns. Continue on 14 to Cody. @ Cody, you can either enter the park thru the East Entrance, or go north on Chief Joseph Highway and enter thru the NE. When you leave, the Beartooth may be open and you can take that route then. This would let you see 3 beautiful drives in one trip.

I would drive thru the Badlands on the way home, rather then on the way out. You'll be more rushed to get to the Black Hills and Yellowstone. And you'll need a break on the way home.

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
2,065 posts
161 reviews
9. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

I'd focus on the caves and Custer SP over Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse as it would seem like the kids would get bored quickly at the latter sites. I agree with you limited time you should bypass the Mammoth Site as it is out of the way relative to your ultimate destination.

Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
419 posts
185 reviews
10. Re: family trip June Oh to Yellowstone

Mt. Rushmore is an American icon! I definitely wouldn't miss that!