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Itinerary help

Chicago, Illinois
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Itinerary help

We are planning a trip to SD for the end of June. We are traveling via RV from the Chicago area with two kids, ages 8 & 11. I would love any advice on our proposed itinerary:

Day 1: drive 12 hrs to badlands. Stay overnight at Cedar Pass

Day 2: Tour badlands for most of the day; visit Crazy Horse on the way to campgrounds. Stay overnight at Rafter J in Hill City.

Day 3: Jewel Cave in the morning; Rushmore in the afternoon. Back to Rushmore for lighting in the evening. Stay at Rafter J again.

Day 4: Take 7-hour Open-Top tour of Needles Hwy, Sylvan Lake, Custer, etc. Dinner at Circle B Chuckwagon. Stay at Rafter J again

Day 5: 10am 1880's train from Hill City to Keystone. Explore Keystone - cave, alpine slide, gold mine & lunch. Take 2:30 train back to Hill City. Drive to Devil's tower. Stay overnight at D.T. KOA

Day 6: Hike Devil's tower in a.m., drive to Deadwood (via Spearfish canyon scenic route). Spend 1 hour in Spearfish and 1 hour in Deadwood. Leave in the afternoon. Drive to Wall Drug for a 1-hour stop. Drive to Mitchell to stay overnight

Day 7: Drive 9 hours back home.

Any other suggestions/changes you would make to this??? Did we allow appropriate time for each activity? Thanks!

South Dakota
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1. Re: Itinerary help

I think the first part looks good. The end has some issues. Some suggestions:

-Get in line early for the return trip on the 1880 Train. It will fill and you want to be able to sit together.

-Day 2-I think you could see Wall Drug on this day.

-Day 3- I think you could fit something else in on this day. I'd save Rushmore for last so you only have to make one stop there.

-Day 4- 7 hours probably includes all three drives in Custer State Park. You may want to read the Top Question in the upper right corner entitled, "What do I need to know about Custer State Park?" Realize this will be a lot of sitting in the car for one day and your kids may get antsy. They may want to bring something to do in the car, because, unfortunately, a lot of kids don't appreciate scenic beauty. Depends on your kids, though. This isn't something I'd want to tackle with mine.

-I don't think Day 6 is possible. You'd have to drive north out of the Black Hills, which will take awhile, then out west to Devil's Tower, back east and then a lot further east to Mitchell, which is a four hour drive from the Black Hills. The driving alone would fill the day and then trying to fit in the other things makes it almost impossible.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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2. Re: Itinerary help

On day 5, you won't be able to include Rushmore Cave if you are on foot. It's not right in town. The other attractions are feasible. For lunch, I highly recommend Big Time Pizza right next door to the Alpine Slide.

I agree that a 7 hour tour might not be the best option for you.If you enjoy tours, then go for it, but Custer SP can be easily done on your own at your own pace. Sometimes that's nice because you can spend plenty of time looking at wildlife or walking the shore of Sylvan Lake, and you aren't a tour company schedule. Plus, if your kids get antsy, you can pull the plug at any time doing it yourself.

Day 6 would be very rough, and like 3174 said, I don't even know if I could fit it all in a day. Definitely see Wall Drug when you visit the Badlands. You will need a lot more than an hour in Spearfish Canyon if you do the hikes to the waterfalls, even though they are short. IMO, they are not to be missed, and your kids are old enough to appreciate them.

I would recommend adding another day to your trip if possible. Let us know if we can assist further.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Itinerary help

Okay, I amended the itinerary per a few recommendations. Please let me know if this sounds better.

Day 1: drive 12 hrs to badlands. Stay overnight at Cedar Pass

Day 2: Tour badlands for 4-5 hours; Wall drug, drive to Devil's tower. Stay overnight at DT KOA.

Day 3: Devils tower in a.m., drive through Spearfish canyon & do a little hiking, drive to Deadwood for gunfights and dinner; drive to Hill City to stay at Rafter J

Day 4: Jewel Cave, Crazy horse, Rushmore. Rushmore lighting at night too. Stay at Rafter J

Day 5: 10am 1880's train from Hill City to Keystone. Explore Keystone - alpine slide, gold mine & lunch. Take 2:30 train back to Hill City. Dinner at Circle B Chuckwagon. Stay at Rafter J again

Day 6: Take 7-hour Open-Top tour** of Needles Hwy, Sylvan Lake, Custer, etc. Dinner in Keystone. Leave after dinner and drive 3-4 hours. Stay overnight in Chamberlain or Mitchell (wherever we can make it that night!) ** this is our only option of doing Needles, as we are in an RV!! Plus, my husband would like to see Custer without driving!! (PS. our kids do fine in these situations)

Day 7: Drive 9 hours back home.

South Dakota
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4. Re: Itinerary help

I think that's better. Thanks for explaining about the RV.

On Day 3 you may want to spend the night near Deadwood. You don't want to drive to Hill City after dark with wildlife running around.

Day 6 I'd spend the night in Chamberlain. That's going to a really long day.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Itinerary help

3174 -

Thanks for the advice on Chamberlain. I will look into staying there the night before we head home. Also, I think we will try to eat early in Deadwood and be back before dark. Since it is close to the summer solstice when we are there, I think we should have daylight until 8:40!

6. Re: Itinerary help

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