We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

Wyoming, Minnesota...
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Topic
Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

We will be traveling from MN with our 5 1/2 year old twins at the end of June - please give me your thoughts and suggestions on my current plan.

Day 1: leave home in the early evening and drive to the Sioux Falls area.

Day 2: 1880 Town and hang out at the Rafter J Bar Ranch Campgrounds where we will be staying.

Day 3: Mount Rushmore ~ Alpine Slide ~ Cosmos Mystery Area - Old McDonalds Farm and back for the lighting ceremony if we arent to tired.

Day 4: Jewel Cave ~ Crazy Horse ~ Needles Hwy. and Sylvan Lake ~ possibly see the Crazy Horse laser show if we arent to tired

Day 5: Custer State Park ~ Wildlife Loop ~ Iron Mountain Road

Day 6: Spearfish to see Roughlock Falls, Bridalveil Falls and Spearfish Falls ~ Fish Hatchery ~ Black Hills Mining Museum ~ Visit Deadwood (Old Style Saloon No. 10)

Day 7: Reptile Gardens ~ Chapel in the Hills ~ Dinosaur Park ~ Blue Bell Lodge's Chuckwagon Dinner

Day 8: Wildlife Loop in the morning and then check out of campgrounds. Wall Drug and check into KOA Badlands. Visit the Badlands

Day 9: Badlands and Corn Palace

Thank you for your help!!!


Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,854 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

Overall, I think this is a very nice plan. Because of the kids' ages, I'd consider adding Bear Country since you are also doing the Reptile Gardens. You could add this on day 5 since you will be just driving Iron Mt Rd. You will be seeing Rushmore on day 3. Just an FYI..if you find yourselves wanting more time, you could move Rushmore to day 5 after you drive Iron Mt Rd, which leads you right to the monument.

Storybook Island in Rapid City might also be an option if the kids are interested.

When you drive the Wildlife Loop, be sure to have apples and carrots for the begging burros. They are an absolute riot, and the kids will love them.

Rafter J is a highly recommended campground. I have a friend who camps there during the annual Sturgis rally and loves it. Mt. Mama, another regular poster on here, has family who have stayed at Rafter J and really enjoyed it.

Let us know if you have any additional questions. Have a wonderful trip! We'd love to read a report when you return.

South Dakota
Level Contributor
4,552 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

Much better plan!

I would do Mt. Rushmore last on Day 3. That way, you do not have to make two trips if you stay for the lighting ceremony. You can pack a picnic supper or eat in the cafe.

I agree about adding Storybook Island. I would nix the Dino Park in favor of this. The quality is far better without all the steps.

Apple Valley...
Level Contributor
778 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

I would only add to day 8 to drive up to the top of Mt Coolidge Fire Lookout while on the Wildlife Loop. It is a narrow, curvy mountain road but has great views from the top that totally make it worth it! It does not add a ton of time to your day or anything either in my opinion. From the top you can see the whole black hills forest area as well as Rushmore, Cathedral Spires of Needles, and Crazy Horse in the distance.

Wyoming, Minnesota...
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

Thank you for the help - it is much appreciated!!

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

I don't see Devils Tower in your plans. The kids and you also will like the prairie dog town at its foot but you also can see prairiedogs in Badlands NP.

6. Re: Thoughts & Suggestions On My Plan

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:17 am, March 06, 2014