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Please help with itinerary

Chicago, IL
12 posts
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Please help with itinerary

Me, my husband and 8year old daughter are planning a fun vacation in the Black Hills and I was hoping to get some input on my schedule. Our trip is July 4-10. I realize this is not the ideal time, but between my daughter's softball and cheerleading season, it's the only time we have to go.

Fri July 4-Fly into Denver from Chicago. Do something fun all day, see Rockies game at night. Stay in Denver.

Sat July 5-Drive to Custer and check in to the new HI Express. See Bear Country and Mt. Rushmore lighting ceremony

Sun July 6-Drive to Devils Tower, head back through Spearfish Canyon, spend a few hours in Deadwood.

Mon July 7-Custer State Park, Jewel Cave, Crazy Horse at night.

Tue July 8-Minuteman Missle, Badlands and the obligatory stop at Wall Drug.

Wed July 9-Mammoth Site, Horseback riding in Hot Springs

Thu July 10-Drive back to Denver, do something fun until late flight home.

We'll be stopping to 'smell the roses' at Devils Tower, Spearfish Canyon, Custer SP, Badlands. We like to get out and hike, not just drive through and call it a day.

I've purposely left the schedule pretty basic to leave time for stuff that looks fun when we pass by, like mini golf etc. We don't like having to adhere to a strict schedule, but much prefer to have a basic plan for the day.

Thanks in advance for any input!

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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6,357 posts
61 reviews
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1. Re: Please help with itinerary

Your plan looks really good. I wouldn't do too much tweaking, but I will add my two cents for consideration.

1. Be sure to both Crazy Horse and Rushmore during daylight hours in addition to the nighttime ceremonies. It's really neat to see the two perspectives.

2. I would add the Reptile Gardens to your itinerary. It's practically right next to Bear County. My daughter was 8 when we visited, and she loved the shows at the Reptile Gardens.

3. There's a really neat indoor mini golf course called Putz & Glo. It's a great activity on a rainy day.

Enjoy your trip!

North Dakota
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189 posts
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2. Re: Please help with itinerary

It looks like a good plan and its great that you left it flexible. The only hitch I can see is that driving through Bear Country might be a little less enjoyable if you've already been in the car all day. I guess it depends on how well your daughter tolerates all that time in the car. If you or she can't stand to be in the car anymore, there's a nice trail at Mt. Rushmore with lots of stairs to use up energy. You could have dinner there and stay for the lighting, depending on how your time/trip plays out. They also have great ice cream. :-)

Have fun!

South Dakota
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3. Re: Please help with itinerary

Just an FYI on Bear County.. My kids love it, we get an annual pass and go 2-3 times a week all summer long. You are better off hitting it early in the morning. Weather is still cool, so more animals are up and moving about and most tourist traffic is not there yet and it makes the drive through area more pleasant as you get to drive at your pace intead of the guy in front of you. Much more enjoyable.

Chicago, IL
12 posts
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4. Re: Please help with itinerary

Great points about Bear Country. I'll try to move it to a morning.

Thanks for all your suggestions!

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5. Re: Please help with itinerary

I agree on stopping at Reptile Gardens. When my kids were that age, they loved it.

Not much, in my opinion, in Deadwood for an 8 year old. Keystone and Hill City are touristy towns, but might have some more appropriate things, like ice cream shops and 1880 train, museum in Hill City.

Eight year old would also like Dinosaur Park in Rapid City (walk up about 92 steps and can see city) many concrete critters to look at and crawl on. They would probably also like Storybook Land (Park) in Rapid City, has tons of story book characters. Both are free attractions right in Rapid City.

Wall Drug - is world famous! It's sort of silly, but as an adult each time I drive by I still have to stop! My kids also love going there.

6. Re: Please help with itinerary

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