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  1. Default N York to Mount Rushmore in 2 weeks

    Any help greatly appreciated! I'm looking to take a family road trip from NY Metro area to Mount Rushmore with 2 adult, 4 kids in summer months. I'm looking for any ideas on one day quick stops to see interesting things and more so looking to stay in better hotels, i.e. Marriot. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Initial Tips

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are a few basic things to keep in mind when planning a trip of this magnitude, especially with children involved. First and foremost is to use your time amply and wisely on the drive. It will be tempting to try to get to the Rapid City area as quickly as possible so as to maximize your time 'there'. But that can prove counter-productive if the kids arrive cranky from having been cooped up in the car for days on end and/or if it forces the adults to drive on traffic-clogged toll roads through heavily-populated cities.

    So, the first thing I'd tell you is to take your time on the long drive and avoid the turnpikes along the Great Lakes. You could conceivably make the drive one way in as little as three days if you stayed on I-80 to Chicago and then used I-90 from there while making no significant stops en route. But look instead at leaving I-80 in eastern Ohio and taking I-76 west through Akron to I-271 south and I-70 west at Columbus. At Indianapolis, take I-74 to the Quad Cities and get back on I-80 to the Omaha area and I-29 north to Sioux Falls and I-90 for the rest of the trip. That would only add a couple of hours to your total driving time but would save you quite a bit in tolls.

    Then look for other alternatives for the drive back so that you get to see some different parts of the country and the entire drive is on 'new' roads. Some alternatives include I-78/I-81/I-76/I-70 (partially toll) through Pennsylvania to Columbus; US-36 through Hannibal and across northern Missouri; I-80 (following the old Oregon Trail) through Nebraska; etc. If you take four or five days each way, you'd have time for such scenic 'detours' as well as for two or three short stops each day to let the kids blow off some steam and maybe learn a bit.

    As for where to stay, that's pretty much up to you, but I would recommend that you pick one of the major groups such as Hilton (Hilton, Embassy, Doubletree, Hampton, etc.), Marriott (Marriott, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield, etc.), or Choice (Comfort, Quality, Clarion, etc.); join their reward program; and plan your nights' stays around their properties. You should be able to earn at least one and possibly several free night's stays during your travels. Plan your overnight stops in advance and make reservations so that you won't be either disappointed when you get there; tempted to press on just a 'bit farther' down the road when you're tired at night; or spend your evening 'shopping' for a good room. If you plan to stop during the day as recommended above you should probably plan on driving days of no more than 450-500 miles, less if you plan a major stop.


  3. #3


    I hope you haven't abandoned the forum, but I see that AZBuck is the only one who has responded to you so far.

    You don't give ages for the children, but I'm assuming they are between 5-18. If so, there are lots of things to see and do along the way. You won't do all of them, but here is a list to choose from:

    Hershey Park is a nice amusement park and could be the first stop, but would fit better at the end since it is only about200 miles from NYC.
    Nappannee, Indiana has a neat working farm called Amish Acres, with a playhouse and good restaurant on the premises.
    Hannibal, Missouri was Mark Twain's boyhood home, and has lots of memorabilia from his days there and his books.
    Marceline, Missouri was Walt Disney's boyhood home. It too has lots of Disney memories to explore.
    St Joseph, Missouri is the town where Jesse James met his end and the home with the purported bullet hole in the wall is still there for touring. It was also the eastern terminus of the Pony Express.
    Omaha, Nebraska has one of the finest zoos in the world and it is a "must see".
    Kearney, Nebraska has the Great Platte River Road Archway, mainly dedicated to pioneer migration, but there is something for everyone there too.
    Hot Springs, South Dakota has a really neat enclosed site where several dozen mammoth skeletons were found buried in an ancient spring. The dig is ongoing and very interesting.

    Of course, the Black Hills has much to offer besides Mount Rushmore, so plan at least 2-3 days there. Then there is Wall Drug, The Badlands and the Mitchell Corn palace east of Rapid City on the way home.

    Now you have some homework to do. All those places have websites with directions, hours and entrance fees. I don't think anyone would be bored on the two week trip with all this to see and do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Wall Drug.

    Wall Drug is often regarded as a tourist trap, but if you go to the very back, you will see a lot of history, and maybe they still have the gold panning for children. Definitely worth a stop.


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