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Road Trip / Summer 2014

Rincon Georgia
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Road Trip / Summer 2014

I am starting to plan our next year summer vacation. It will be myself, husband and two children (13 & 10) We are thinking about a road trip to SD from southeast Georgia. I know it will be 3-4 days driving to get there and also back home. We are planning 2 weeks including drive time. That should give us 6 to 7 days to actually do things. My questions are..... Would late May, June or July be the best time to visit? Most of what we want to do is in the general area of Keystone. Would 6/7 days give us enough time for a variety of activities? I have ordered the SD visitor guide and after I get it, I will probably have more detailed questions.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

We have not driven to the west in a number of years so cannot help you with your route except to say if you go up thru Memphis to St. Louis and out thru MO and KS then all you will see is miles and miles and miles of corn and wheat fields.

We do travel at least once a year to the west but now fly and drive especially since Southwest airlines has such great deals.

Glad you ordered the travel guide.

Keystone is a great area to stay in and is very centrally located. We like the K Bar S Lodge while the DE likes the Roosevelt inn in Keystone. Keystone is touristy type town but has loads of things for kids to do.

Here are some suggestions-

Mt. Rushmore

Crazy Horse

Badlands NP

Spearfish Canyon

Deadwood

Jewel or Wind Cave

Custer SP

Minuteman Missile Site

1880 Train

If you want a daily trip plan then the DE is excellent and I am sure will be glad to help you with that.

The last time we were there we spent three days and did Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer SP, Spearfish Canyon and Deadwood. Our kids were teenagers at the time. We had been to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky so we did not do caves and had done the Blue Ridge Scenic RR and did not do the train trip either.

Good luck with your trip planning!!

South Dakota
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2. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

I will comment on the time of year. I would pick mid June if you are flexible. May and early June run a slight risk of a blizzard. The black Hills have unique weather. It can snow one day and be seventy degrees the next. Mid June will bring an end to the blizzard threat. June is cooler and less crowded than July. As the summer progresses, the risk of forest fires increases. You can have a good time in the Hills even when there are fires because it is a large enough area, but the air is less hazy and everything is open when there are no fires. So July is not a BAD choice, but I personally prefer June. A week is a nice amount of time to see things.

Pitman, New Jersey
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3. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

The travel guide will help you tremendously in choosing the attractions that interest you, and with a week's worth of touring time, you will be able to see just about everything.

Peachbelle has provided you with a great list of the must sees. I would add Devil's Tower to the mix, as it could be easily incorporated with Spearfish Canyon and Deadwood.

As for timing, as 3174 mentioned, May and early June are very iffy with weather. Waiting until mid June or July will insure better weather (hopefully..at least no snow, but you can always have an afternoon t-storm.) You will always want to avoid early August, as that's the typical time for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This is when hotel rates are sky high, and rooms are hard to come by. Crowds are at peak.

Once you receive your planner, please post again with additional questions. We are glad to help.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

The week after July 4th of 2012 was hotter than hell . . . +100F HOT.

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

Well if you are from the south and especially south Georgia then you are used to hot as hades in the summer and we've got all that humidity too.

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

I might recommend that you read a couple of guidebooks in addition to the South Dakota visitor guide. I found the two following guidebooks at my local library and they were much more helpful to me than the visitor guide, especially regarding accommodations and dining: 1) Moon Handbook--Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills and 2) Black Hills (Town Tourist Guides) by Jay Kirschenmann. You might check your library to see what they have (or can request for you from another library system.)

We are going to the Black Hills, Badlands and Devil's Tower for 9 days in mid- late June (not our first visit to the area). You will certainly be able to see/do a lot of different things in 6- 7 days, but you'll probably find yourselves having to "pick-and-choose" for lack of time to do it all. There's so much to do in that area!

Minnesota
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7. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

Memorial weekend & early June bring many families to the Hills. You'll find the temps are cooler than that of July. Temps can get down to the low 30's to upper 20's in the evenings, but it also gets warm during the daytime. There hasn't been measurable snow since the late 90's. Precipitation is in the form of rain. 6- 7 days is an adequate time spent. However, you probably will have a list of things you wish you could have done.

Rockford, Illinois...
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8. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

I would not worry too much about the weather, and plan out the trip based on what works best for your schedule. I have been to Sturgis many times and it has been hot some years and very cool some years, so it is anyone’s guess what the weather will be. Last year the end of May and June was much warmer than normal. I would look at an atlas and drive there one route to SD and try to return a different route. This way you can enjoy stopping and seeing lots of things on the road trip part.

You will have enough time to do all of the major attractions in the Black Hills area without trying to pack too much in a day. If you are interested in Horseback riding – book that well in advance as that seems to fill up fast.

Rapid City, South...
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9. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

Six to seven days gives plenty of time to do things in the Black Hills! Everything is pretty close together (anywhere from 30 min to 2 hours), so you’ll be able to see and do plenty. Any time that fits your schedule will be a great time to visit. Our weather has been fairly hot and dry the closer you get to August.

Some suggestions of what to do:

Keystone: Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Rushmore Cave (7D Interactive Theatre and Zip Line)

Wall: Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, Minuteman Missile Site

Custer: Custer State Park (Wildlife Loop and Harney Peak), Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, The Flintstones

Rapid City: The City of Presidents, Main Street Square, Art Alley, Watiki Water Park, Bear Country USA, Reptile Gardens, Dinosaur Park, The Journey Museum, Storybook Island, The Outdoor Campus West, Cosmos Mystery Area

Let us know if we can be of more help! 

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Road Trip / Summer 2014

lwm -- I'm a little farther down the coast from you. :) We're heading to SD in late June or early July -- must make reservations SOON. I'm curious what you're planning to see on the way or are you driving straight to SD?