top of page
  • Writer's pictureJenna

Road Tripping Through South Dakota

A South Dakota road trip isn’t complete without seeing Mount Rushmore, wildlife, and the natural beauty the land has to offer.

About five years back, my parents and I decided to take a road trip to South Dakota. We hadn’t seen any of that part of the country before, and had Mount Rushmore on our bucket lists. We did a whole lot of research and made a plan of all the things we wanted to see. Here are a few of my favorite things that should be on your list if you are planning a trip to South Dakota!

The top thing to see, of course, is Mount Rushmore. When we first got there, it was so cloudy and I was disappointed because the monument was totally covered in fog. We drove all this way for that to happen?? We stood there for ten to fifteen minutes, and finally all of a sudden the fog dispersed for a couple minutes and was long enough for us to take in the monument’s beauty. We also noticed the monument’s grounds opened every morning at 5am. So, we woke up really early the next morning because we knew the weather would be nice. We had the whole place to ourselves and having this history to just the three of us is something I will never forget.

My mom surprised us with an awesome place to stay for a few days by Mount Rushmore. The name of the place was K Bar S Lodge. It was one of the coolest places I have ever stayed!! It had a cabin feel and the best part, were the views. It is set back in the trees a bit and it is just gorgeous. Oh, yeah and you could see part of Mount Rushmore from the hotel. How cool, right!? Thanks mom, for the awesome surprise :)

A place with some of the best views of the unique landscape of South Dakota is driving through the Badlands. We made this a whole day thing and packed lunches to picnic in the park. The land here was so different than anything I had seen before and it was fun to drive through miles and miles of it. I just watched out the window admiring all that it had to offer. 

Another stop you should consider on a trip through South Dakota is driving through Bear Country USA. This might sound a bit scary driving through bears, but they are all calm and as long as you keep your windows closed, you will be safe! There were so many different animals to see, and it was so fun being here during early spring because we were able to see a lot of animals with their babies. My favorite part was at the end, they have all the bear cubs in an area where they get to play together. It was the cutest thing!

A final stop for your trip to South Dakota is driving through Custer State Park. Our experience was a tad scary.. okay very scary. We drove through the park when the weather was foggy and rainy. We could not see very far ahead of us, and being hundreds of feet in the air, with drop offs, and tight turns was terrifying. BUT! On a clear day this is something that all parts of the family will love. We were still able to enjoy so much of the beauty that Custer Sate Park has to offer, and my favorite part was seeing all the animals along the way.

The thing I recommend most while driving through Custer State Park is stopping to see the Begging Burros.. They seem to be the star of the show (and they know it) because everyone was stopping to feed them and they knew they would get as much as they wanted! One donkey started walking up to the car so I opened the window and stuck out the only thing I could find in our car, a pop tart. It was so excited that it decided to stick its head right in the window! We got a good laugh out of that one.

Road tripping through South Dakota is an experience I will always remember and I am so happy I got to share it with my parents. We were able to see so many cool things in a week, and there is so much to offer for all ages. My favorite part was seeing so much wildlife coexisting around so many tourists. They just keep living their lives while we admire the land they live on. I definitely will be back!

If there are anything you recommend when visiting South Dakota, please let me know! I would love some more fun ideas :)

bottom of page