Can you stand yet another request for help with a South Dakota itinerary? ;)
About us: We are a family of five who are all reasonably fit and active. Our kids are 8, 12, and 14. We are spending the summer on a cross country road trip. Since we are on an extended trip, we need to have some "down" time to take care of necessities like laundry, groceries, bill paying etc.
We like nature, science, and history. Usually our hikes are in the 5-mile or less range, but we can go up to about 8 - 10 miles for something really special. We also need to hit as many National Park Service sites (parks, monuments, etc) as possible. I would like to fit in the Big Thunder Gold Mine near Keystone. Where should I put that? Since we are spending 8 days in Yellowstone later in the trip, how much time should I devote to the Wildlife Loop? I'm guessing the kids' patience for riding in the car for a scenic drive will be close to zero by this point of the trip.
We will be in South Dakota for 9 days in mid- to late-June. Here is the itinerary so far:
Day 1: Drive to De Smet from Walnut Grove, MN (~2-ish hours) and tour the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites in town. Camp in the Lake Thompson Recreation Area near De Smet
Day 4: Drive to Custer, SD; hit Walmart in Rapid City to resupply food etc; set up camp at Big Pine Campground in Custer; spend the rest of the day on "housekeeping" (laundry, checking in with work, etc)
Day 5: Wind Cave at opening, Mammoth Site in the afternoon
Day 7: Jewel Cave at opening, Sylvan Lake, Needles Hwy
Does this sound reasonable? Are there things I should add, delete or rearrange? Thank you so much for your advice and input!