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Old 01-06-2015, 09:22 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2011
Location: South Illinois (no where near Chicago)
Posts: 68
Looking for South Dakota recommendations


I hope everyone has has a great holiday! I am starting to plan for warmer weather (since the weather people are calling for 30 below wind chills tomorrow) and my wife wants to go to South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and the badlands and we are looking at other attractions. WE have a 9 year old so some stuff needs to be fun (and educational) for him, and a 2 year old labbie (half lab, half beagle...and a lot of attitude)so it must be pert friendly. What can you recommend? Places to stay, maybe less known attractions or other fun things in the area. WE are thinking late June and early July to avoid the Sturgis festivities (although if I can talk my wife into a toy hauler I will bring my Buell XB12X).

Thanks in advance,


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Old 01-07-2015, 09:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
... snip ... South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and the badlands and we are looking at other attractions. WE have a 9 year old so some stuff needs to be fun (and educational) for him... snip ...
Of course you will include a stop at Wall Drug, won't you?

Years ago we made a similar trip (but longer) with our 2 boys (7 & 11... ages, not names ).
We included Dinosaur National Monument, Yellowstone, and river raft ride on the Snake River in Jackson Hole area. The youngest got a kick out of Dinosaur and the oldest liked the river rafting. But to be honest, the most important thing to both boys was having a pool each night along the way.

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Old 01-07-2015, 09:28 AM   #3
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Location: Aurora, IL
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We made the exact same trip this past July, and it was a blast for our 4 young kids (age 2 to 11). We pulled our x23B from Chicago to SD through MN. On the way to our destination, we drove through the Badlands with camper in tow. It's an awesome sight, with the kids climbing all over the rock formations. It could get windy and the dust/dirt blows if that's the case, so pack sunglasses for everyone just in case, lest you get debris in your eyes. The Badlands tour took us about 3-4 hours, as we were in and out of the truck to look at wildlife and scenery. We then stopped at Wall Drug, but honestly was not that impressed.... Made it to our destination about 2 hours later--we stayed at Custer State Park in SD; stayed at the Game Lodge campground; terrific park, terrific scenery, very relaxing and enjoyable. I had posted a synopsis of our trip on here somewhere. I'll link it here shortly. Once you setup camp, you can do the Needles drive, hang out at the beach on Sylvan Lake, of course there's Rushmore, drive the wildlife loop at Custer and go off on a dirt road somewhere to explore... On our way, we made overnight stops at the Jackson KOA in Jackson, MN, and the Camp America in Salem, SD. Both were nice places for an overnight stay; the host at Camp America was kind enough to provide us with grease to grease up our noisy Equal-I-Zer hitch. Enjoy your trip!!
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:33 AM   #4
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Here you go...

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Old 01-08-2015, 01:19 PM   #5
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We made a trip there 4 years ago and stayed at Rafter J Bar Ranch campground and would HIGHLY recommend this location to anyone and everyone.


We went to several different places including the Presidential Slide in Keystone,
Custer State Park, Deadwood, Needles Hwy and others that I can't remember at this time. There is an attraction that they say "Gravity is missing or forgotten in this place".
The name escapes right now, but I say, SAVE YOUR TIME AND MONEY! I was not very fond of this attraction and wish we went somewhere else, but I did it.

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Old 01-08-2015, 01:34 PM   #6
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We are planning this same trip later this year as well.

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Old 01-08-2015, 02:48 PM   #7
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great trip. I like the Custer Area, just wish it was a little closer. Check out the Mamoth dig site in Hot Springs, it is about 30 minutes south of Custer SP. they have a great program for kids to do a "dig" for replica mammoth bones. Our son had a blast and wanted to do it multiple times. There are a couple of cave tours you can do, I like Windcave the best, if I recall it is between Custer and Hot Springs. In Hill City there is the 1880's train, you can take a ride through the mountains. I do not recall where it went to.

Personally, I like Crazy Horse better than Mount Rushmore, take the bus tour it is cheap and you get up a bit closer to the monument. You must do Rushmore with the kids, it is really built up now, even with parking ramps in the middle of no where.

I like to stay in Custer State Park, I do not recall the name of the camp ground, but it is near the west entrance, closest to Custer.
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Old 01-08-2015, 04:42 PM   #8
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I believe that is Stockade Lake near Custer SD. I used to live in Rapid City. Air Force brought me there. The Black Hills are great, my DW and I would even go into Custer State Park when fresh snow covered the hills. any of the campgrounds in the State Park are good. I prefer Hill City area due to less congestion. So go camp, explore the hills and make sure you do the Spearfish Canyon tour, another great place is Hot Springs SD, south of the Hills along with Wind Cave national park.
Happy Trails.
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:32 PM   #9
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Stockade Lake is the CG I like, it was even better before they put in electric sites. If you look at the road maps there is a back way to the wildlife loop.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:18 PM   #10
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We are all booked for a 2-1/2 week stay at Custers Gulch Campground starting the week after the Sturgis bike week. We are looking for any suggestions for a campground to stay at overnight about half way to South Dakota. We will be driving from Michigan and traveling on I-80. I'm guessing somewhere in Sioux Falls?


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