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5 night stay.

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crawley
Level Contributor
77 posts
5 night stay.

Hallo, I know it's a very similar question to others, but I want a 5 night stay, based in one place. I want to visit Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Crazy horse ,Custer state Park , but stay somewhere nice that has easy access to restaurants as well. I was trying to find a resort style place in the area, but am having trouble. re the lodges at Custer State Park a very long drive to any towns at all ?

Also we are thinking of next Sept , and will either start our trip here and finish in Jackson (via Devils Tower, Cody, Yellowstone and Grand teton ) or do it the other way round . Any advice re. weather for that time of year ? All together we will have around 16/17 nights to play with.

South Dakota
Level Contributor
3,905 posts
177 reviews
1. Re: 5 night stay.

I usually stay in private vacation rentals, so I'm not much help with hotels. As far as choosing a centralized base, please read the Top Question in the upper right corner entitled, "How do I select a base . . ."

September should be fabulous time. I would go as soon after Labor Day as possible for the best weather. Just a heads up that Custer State Park has it's annual buffalo roundup in September, which attracts thousands of people. They had 14,000 people there last week, which may be something that interests you or something you wish to avoid.

crawley
Level Contributor
77 posts
2. Re: 5 night stay.

I have been looking at places in Keystone, but not sure if it will be too 'touristy' for us. Is it full of burger joints and pizza places ? I had actually read that 'How to select a base' but still not sure. Is Rapid City itself a long drive to Mt rushmore etc... Will it have more of a selection of hotels/ b&b's or cabins ? (we stayed in a fantastic cabin in the Smokey Mtns the other year but I can't seem to find anything like that ) Did not know about the roundup, so thanks for that.

Apple Valley...
Level Contributor
666 posts
48 reviews
3. Re: 5 night stay.

Yes Keystone is kind of touristy. Rapid City adds about 30 minutes to drive time. Hill City might be a good option. Hopefully mtmama will post about all of the cabin rental options. I am sure if you do a forum search some of her advice and suggestions will come up.

are you travelling with kids? What kind of "resort' amenities are you looking for if not the cabins in Custer State Park?

South Dakota
Level Contributor
3,905 posts
177 reviews
4. Re: 5 night stay.

Have you ever been to the downtown area of Wisconsin Dells? Keystone reminds me a lot of that. Others have compared it to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but I haven't been there, so can't agree or disagree.

If you want to be near "practical" shopping and a large variety of restaurants, then Rapid City is best. All other towns in the Black Hills are pretty small. They will have a few nice places to eat and a few fast-food/pizza type places. Custer and Hill City have grocery stores. Keystone does not.

As Iowa Girl said, Rapid City will add on some driving time, but people do use it as a base. It has a more urban feel and is situated adjacent to, but not in the Hills.

One place I have recommended on here is Hisega Lodge, if you're looking for something with rustic luxury. It's a B and B and gets wonderful reviews on Trip Advisor. It has been featured in SD magazine. It is not next to a plethora of dining establishments, however. Do not choose this option if traveling with kids.

Another option, again, if you aren't traveling with kids (no pool), is the historic Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City. This would meet your criteria of being upscale and near restaurants, but it won't have that woodsy-lodge feeling.

crawley
Level Contributor
77 posts
5. Re: 5 night stay.

Yes I have been to Pigeon forge, so I can get a feel for it now. There are 4 adults going, no kids. I had looked at Custer State Park lodges as well. It's hard to choose, as I suppose rapid City will have more of the choices of restaurants etc... but add on driving time. I will check out mtmama posts about cabins as well. Also, in early Sept, would you think , weatherwise, it would be better to go from Jackson Hole, through Yellowstone and on to South Dakota, or vice versa ?

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,246 posts
51 reviews
6. Re: 5 night stay.

Hi,

Here's a link to a past post from Mt. Mama, who always rents cabins when visiting the area:

tripadvisor.com/…47541174

I hope this will provide some insight on the rental scene.

As for Keystone, it is touristy, but much smaller than Pigeon Forge. In South Dakota, it is the most touristy town of all by far. Since you won't be having kids on the trip, I would not recommend staying here. You will find an alpine slide, mini golf, a great pizzeria (Big Time Pizza has some of the best pizza I've ever had), Presidential Wax Museum, and loads of souvenir shops along its boardwalk. We stay there, but we have a daughter travelling with us. I highly recommend it for families. Powder House Lodge is a very nice restaurant right outside of town.

For 4 adults, I think Hill City might be a better fit. The dining is better (Alpine Inn is very worthwhile, but can be busy...you will need to go early or late evening.), and the shops are much more sophisticated (local crafts and Black Hills jewerly). Prairie Berry Winery is also well rated. Many of the cabins mentioned by Mt. Mama are in the Hill City area.

Rapid City will be more budget friendly, but I still think Hill City sounds more your speed to me. If you want to dine in Rapid a night or 2, it will only take around 35-40 minutes to get there.

September weather in Yellowstone can be wonderful. I've been in September and in the summer, and September wins hands down. You will hear the Elk bugling. Evening temps will be chilly, but days will warm up. While visiting the Tetons in Sep. we experienced rain, snow, and hail all in one day. We waited it out back at our hotel. By early evening, the sun was shining and we experienced the best wildlife viewing of the trip. I still remember that day pretty vividly, and it was in 1997!

Weather aside, I'd recommend doing SD before Yellowstone. If you do them in reverse, some people find Custer State Park in SD disappointing, as it really can't compare to the wildlife viewing and unique landscape found in Yellowstone. I saw Yellowstone first (different trip than SD), and I didnt' feel disappointed with one over the other. However, I tend to find the good in most all attractions, particularly our national and state parks. There's always something unique to experience.

I hope this helps. Let us know if we can help you further.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
683 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: 5 night stay.

Srltravelplanner refered you to a previous post of mine which listed several websites of privately owned cabins that are available for rent. Not knowing your budget you should find cabins in all different price ranges. Executive Lodging manages the nicest, more expensive cabins in the Black Hills and the majority of them are in the northern Hills near Lead and Deadwood. Cabins in the Keystone/Hill City and Custer area would be more centrally located to the attractions you listed as your interests. You will also notice cabins with a Rapid City address. Although a Rapid City address, these cabins will mainly be located in the Keystone/Hill City area. We rent on Edleweiss Mtn. just north of Hill City near Pactola Lake and our cabin has a Rapid City address. There are several managed by Executive Lodging that are in the central Hills. If you go on their website look into the Central Hills locations under Lodges. Although it is not listed under Central Hills, the Midnight Blu Lodge I have not stayed in either of these cabins, I can recommend the 1927 Cabin, a beautiful cabin in the Keystone area, and

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
683 posts
12 reviews
8. Re: 5 night stay.

Are you a little confused? I hit reply by accident when I went to edit something. To continue ... The Midnight Blu Lodge is on Edelweiss Mtn. and can be found under All Lodges on the Executive Lodging site. My sister and family stayed in the Midnight Blue several years ago and loved it. It is only 3 or 4 years old and is nicely decorated with a nice view. The 1927 Cabin is located in the Keystone area and is also very, very nice. Local friends of ours spent their anniversary weekend there this past August and raved about it. We rent our favorite cabin, the RW Hogan, through Alpine Cabin Vacation Rentals. It is a nice cabin but not as updated as those leased by Executive Lodging. However, the view is fantastic and is hard to beat.

Lodging in Custer State Park is pricey but very special, IMO. We love this state park and it's history. The majority of the cabins at all four of the lodges are the original cabins, built in the 1920's or 30's I believe, but of course have been updated. Blue Bell Lodge does have some newer cabins which were built within the last 20 years. The older cabins are on the smaller side, rustic and quaint. The newer cabins at Blue Bell are larger with a rustic, western decor, some with fireplaces. Some of the cabins at Sylvan Lake Lodge also have fireplaces. The lodge rooms in the older sections of the State Game Lodge and Sylvan Lake Lodge are also on the smaller side with small bathrooms and get mixed reviews on TA. I think people are expecting more because of the lodge prices. State Game Lodge does have a newer lodge called Creekside which is only a couple of years old. We have only stayed in the cabins at Blue Bell Lodge and absolutely loved this little resort. We still stay there occasionally but usually rent the privately owned cabin because of the space, fully stocked kitchen and fantastic view. Our niece and her husband stayed in one of the Sylvan Lake cabins and really liked the coziness and charm of their little cabin.

There are quite a few B & B's in the Hills that get very good reviews. 3174 recommended Hisega Lodge. Another you might consider is the Buffalo Rock Lodge. I have not personally stayed there but it also gets high ratings on TA. I met the owner several years ago at a function and found her fascinating. Her grandfather was involved with building the Needles Hwy. and Iron Mtn. Road and the State Game Lodge. She is a historian of the area and can enhance your stay with her knowledge. For information on Buffalo Rock Lodge check out their website: http://www.buffalorock.net/

In closing, I would highly recommend the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup held the last weekend of September each year. It is an event you will not see anywhere else and a wonderful experience, IMO. The end of September is also the peak season for fall colors in the Hills. Spearfish Canyon in the northern Hills is especially gorgeous this time of year.

I hope I have help with your lodging questions. If I can answer any further questions, just give a shout.

crawley
Level Contributor
77 posts
9. Re: 5 night stay.

Wow ! thanks so much for the comprehensive replies from mountain mama and sirtravel planner. I am going to check out those cabins and also agree that we can always visit Rapid City for an evening and stay nearer Hill City. We want to visit the Badlands as a day trip anyway. We are planning to drive through Spearfish canyon, I think, on the way to Deadwood, and from there go to Devils Tower and then ,stay maybe ,Buffalo or Sheridan, on the way to Cody and then Yellowstone. I need to check availability for the lodges there actually. Many thanks .

KCK
Level Contributor
863 posts
28 reviews
10. Re: 5 night stay.

I will also recommend staying in Hill City. We rented a house this year, just up a hill a bit from downtown.

Worked really well for us (just me and my husband) Easy to walk to downtown for shopping, a drink or dinner. If we were traveling with kids or grandkids, I think we might stay closer to Keystone. Lots of touristy things to keep them happy. I found the house we stayed at on VRBO.

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