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Help!/Badlands trip

Memphis, Tennessee
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Help!/Badlands trip

My husband, in-laws and I are planning to travel from Memphis, TN to the Badlands late next spring. We would like to travel by train, but after looking online under Amtrak, i found there are no train stations in that area! Sooo...I'm at a total loss!!! We don't want to drive, and would prefer not to fly if at all possible. Surely, there's a way! Also, we plan on spending around 4 days there and would appreciate any suggestions/recommendations on other tourist sites in the general area. We have never traveled anywhere near that area and have no idea what to expect. The Badlands are the main reason for the trip but i know there's lots more to see...i just need help! Any suggestions on sites, hotels, restaurants, etc. will be more than appreciated!! I'll take anything!!! ha!!! thank you so much for your time.

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Help!/Badlands trip


If you go to the "GO" area next to South Dakota Forum and type: "David Bear", you'll get an excellent summary of what to do in the Black Hills. And for your travelproblems, maybe grow wings-lol-


Barnesville, Georgia
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2. Re: Help!/Badlands trip

I believe you will need a car to check out the Badlands, much less other nearby areas like the Black Hills (Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore are two nice places). Check out some of my other posts about the area for a brief description of our visit.

Badlands are spread out along the driving route, with trails here and there. I would be difficult to see most of it without a car to get back and forth. For example, the Praire Dog Town is appx 5 miles down a dirt road off the main paved highway.

A couple of days in Badlands would probably be enough, unless you plan to hike out and camp. You might want to check the temps at that time, it can get very hot.

I would definitely suggest a couple of days, at least, for Custer State Park and that area. It is really nice and a big difference than Badlands. All are in relatively small area.

Badlands is secluded, I would stay at the Park in the cabins. Reserve early. Otherwise there are a couple of ranches that host folks and maybe something on the Interstate, but it seemed very slim pickings. You might end up in Rapid City.

For Black Hills, Hill City is nice, has tourist train, a few chain motels. Great eats at Alpine Inn (German for lunch, filet only for dinner). Good location to get around to the sites. Custer SP has cabins and lodges in numerous spots.

Google, badlands and check out national park site, and go to SDak tourist sites and you can follow numerous links to more info than you need, probably. Don't hesitate to ask specific questions and I will try to help you as I can.

We had a great time in the area.

Rapid City, SD
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3. Re: Help!/Badlands trip

To get from TN to western SD without flying or driving only leaves buses as an option. Greyhound serves Rapid City. You should seriously consider the airlines if you want to make this trip happen and you don't want to drive. I would guess that route on Greyhound would take multiple days.

Once you're here, you can tour the area using a local tour bus company.

Here is a little background on the area. Rapid City is on the eastern edge of the Black Hills. The Black Hills contain the popular sites of Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park. The Badlands are about 60 miles to the east of Rapid City out on the prairie. There are more Black Hills tour buses than Badlands tour buses but you can get a tour of the Badlands by bus.

Try this link to Black Hills Custom Tours.


A tour of the Badlands by bus will leave you without a lot of freedom but you will see the main sites.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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4. Re: Help!/Badlands trip

I agree with accomodator with reconsidering your thoughts about flying. My family flew into Rapid City and found it to be a pleasant experience. It's a small airport where you won't find a lot of delays, lines etc. Northwest & United are the main airlines. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Memphis.

As for the sights, the Badlands are great, but there is so much more to see. We spent 11 days here this past summer and still didn't see quite everything. Here are some must sees, in my opinion:

Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Crazy Horse, Devil's Tower (a day trip from the Hill City/Custer/Keystone area), Custer State Park, Wild Horse Sanctuary (Hot Springs), Mammoth Site. If any children will be along, Reptile Gardens and Bear Country are fun. There are lots of privately operated caves which are great also if you enjoy being underground. There are about a dozen caves in the area. I do think the ones operated by the park service are best (Wind & Jewel). The Chapel in the Hills is a nice diversion if you have an evening. It's located right outside Rapid City. It's a chapel of Norwegian design, and the people there will tell you everything about the property. They would have talked to us all night; they were so friendly!

Hill City's Alpine Inn is a MUST do! We went for lunch, and the food is wonderful. The desserts are outstanding! They only serve fillet for dinner, so if that's not your thing, try it for lunch. The prices are VERY reasonable.

If you have any questions, let me know. I just visited here in August, so my memory is still pretty fresh. This is truly one of the most enjoyable areas I ever visisted! You will love it! There's something for everyone here, and the attractions are very close together. I think it's a tough place to top! Plan plenty of time to see as much as possible!

Have a great trip!

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5. Re: Help!/Badlands trip

Hi. You're in for a real treat! The Badlands are simply amazing. Like nothing you've ever seen before. it's well worth seeing. I'd suggest 2-3 days in the Badlands and 2-3 days in the Black Hills. The Badlands are a bit less crowded and less "touristy" than the Black Hills. I'd suggest staying at the Cirlce View Ranch. They are located just 6 miles from Badlands National park visitors center and have amazing views from the top of their hill. It's a quaint place on a family run cattle ranch. The folks there are very informative and helpful to people traveling around the area. My family loved the breakfast and the cozy accomidations. We loved having Indian tacos at the park cafe and doing some hiking. You would definatly need a car to get around the Badlands. You could even drive through the park and still get an idea for the place. Enjoy!!

Fargo, North Dakota
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6. Re: Help!/Badlands trip

Another thing to consider while you're in the area is getting to Medora and the Badlands of North Dakota. Also, Theodore Roosevelt State Park. Actually Amtrak does go to Medora so you could always rent a car there (if available) and drive down to the Black Hills from there. The Medora musical is something that you should definitely try to see and the scenery of this area is really remarkable. Especially since North Dakota is typically known as a plains state.

7. Re: Help!/Badlands trip

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