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  1. Default Mount Rushmore from minneapolis!!

    Planning to travel with my three children ages 4-6 in mid October. Looking for great stopping points, good family friendly lodging (resorts ideally), restaurants and any other tips. We have about 5 days roundtrip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The Black Hills are a great place to go on a long weekend from Minneapolis. You can make the drive in one long day, each way, although, I'd look at splitting at least one of the days up so you can give yourself some time to explore the badlands. Of course, along I-90, there are plenty of great other points to stop, like the Falls in Sioux Falls, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, and Wall Drug to name a few. RTA's Map Center can show you many more ideas.

    Of course, the Black Hills are so much more than Mt. Rushmore. Make sure you give yourself time for Custer State Park - especially the wildlife loop road which is fantastic for kids.

    I don't have any specific lodge or restaurant recommendations, although I will warn you that Mid-October is very much the end of the tourist season. I was out there a couple years ago over Columbus Day (Native American Day in South Dakota) weekend, and many of the touristy stops - including several hotels and restaurants were already closed or were in their last weekend of business for the season. That's not much of an issue in Rapid City itself, but it is something to keep in mind for many of the smaller towns like Keystone, Hill City, and even Custer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The Backyard.

    When stopping at WallDrug with children, be sure to go right through to the 'backyard'. When I was there (a few years ago now) the dinosaur was fed every 15 minutes (kids loved it) and there were children 'panning' for gold. Lots to keep you entertained too. Posters of old newspapers all over the walls. Lots of local history. A very interesting place.... as well as a tourist trap' if you let it be.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    You may not get away from "winter", though. The Black Hills are around a mile high in elevation, especially in Custer City and Custer State Park. Also, Michael is correct about a lot of the places closing up in winter. I would recommend where we stayed (Black Hills Mile Hi Motel in Custer City), except that I believe they close down for the season on October 1st. There are chains that do not close, though, and many places (especially along I-90 in Rapid City) that will be open. Rates are fairly reasonable in Rapid City, too.

    Among things we did in the Black Hills area: Wall Drug, Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park's Needles "Highway", Iron Mountain Drive and Wildlife Loop, and Wind Cave National Park. Jewel Cave National Park and Crazy Horse Monument are also in the area, as is Deadwood and Lead (who got hit with a good snowstorm last night, picking up 8" of snow).


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