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  1. Default Hello, new guy here with questions. Road trip from Boston MA to Yellowstone NP.

    Hello everyone, i have been lurking on this website for a long time and decided to join. I am planing a trip with my father from Boston MA to Yellowstone NP. I have list of places that we want to visit but we also have 17 days and i am not sure if we are going to be able to see them all.

    On our list are following places:
    -Mt Rushmore
    -Wind Cave
    -Custer NP
    -Mamouth Dig site
    -Yellowstone NP
    -Custer Battlefield

    I am planing to drive my large SUV and both of us have visited lot of locations on east coast, Canada, NS, NF. Also planing to camp along , tent .
    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Doable

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You could probably make just a straight-through drive between Boston and Yellowstone in a solid four days of driving with minimal stops. Budget five each way to allow yourselves to take some time off from the road each day, to account for the time to set-up/take-down camp each night, and minor detours. That still leaves you seven days to apportion out to your various stops. While that's not ideal - you could spend several days in Yellowstone alone - it can still make for a wonderful time if you're comfortable with the pace.

    The other major piece of advice I'd have is to look at taking two completely different routes out and back. The 'shorter' route to the Rapid City area would just be I-90 all the way, but that entails a LOT of tolls and transiting some pretty congested areas. A reasonable alternative would be I-90/I-84/I-81/I-80/I-76/I-71 to I-70 through central PA and OH to Indianapolis and then I-74 to the Quad Cities and I-80 to Ogallala NE; finally using US-26/US-385 up to the Rapid City area. You could see some of the Rapid City area sites on the way west and others on the way east. For a pretty thorough list of campgrounds along major Interstate Highways, be sure to check out the lists one of our contributors has created.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I would recommend getting your Yellowstone reservations for camping NOW. The first-come sites will fill by 10 am. Alternatively, you could stay at one of the national Forest campsites or privately owned campgrounds outside the park one night and move into the park the next morning, but reservations would give you peace of mind.

    This thread, post #6. will give you the link to campgrounds in Yellowstone.

    Yellowstone is one of the parks where you make reservations when the Reservation Window opens for your planned travel. If you don't get reservations for your preferred campground right away, you can try back again and again, or you can accept a different campground. For the record, their hotels run the same way. We just got our reservations for NEXT summer (2020) for one of their inns.


  4. #4


    I don't think you mentioned what time of year you were planning for the trip. That could be a huge factor in campsite availability and weather due to the higher latitudes AND high elevations of some destinations. Summer season also means most, but not all, campsites sellout quickly, so trying to nail down a good planning itinerary early on is a prudent way to go, and then start checking availabilities and firm up the plan.

    West of Indianapolis is a nice state park campground, Lieber State Recreation Area, with showers. Park admission and camping fees.

    During the same trip I camped out along the Missouri River on the border of Nebraska and South Dakota at the Nebraska Tailwaters Campground, part of a national recreation area (NRA). There are other NRA campgrounds in the area.

    I camped at Wind Cave NP a couple of summers ago. It is a first-come, first-served site (or was then). I stayed my first night a half hour south of the campground (no showers) and then was able to get a preferred the following morning around 10a. That gave me the better part of the day to be a tourist and line-up cave tours (lines can be long at Wind Cave during peak summer, less so at nearby Jewel Cave National Monument. Custer State Park campgrounds do have showers. Recommend visiting the websites of national parks, monuments, recreation areas you plan to visit for information updates (e.g., I just stumbled across an announcement of cave tours at Wind Cave NP being closed from July 2 though late-August do to an elevator repair issue.

    It will probably make sense obtaining a park pass. If you or your father are seniors then you can purchase a rest-of-your-life park pass for $80, good for admission at no cost to most national park and forest areas (some places like Rushmore do not have an admissions fee but they do have a parking fee and you have to park to visit).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default 1959 Earthquake Area, Montana.

    If you should miss out on a spot within Yellowstone, there are many campgrounds very close outside the park. I was alerted and directed to one of them by the Yellowstone Visitor Centre in West Yellowstone. It was a nice campground with plenty of privacy. It was just north of West Yelloowstone and on the west side of US-191. Looking at the map, I see there are several others in the area.

    You will also be very close to the 1959 Earthquake Area along US-287.

    At the Visitor Centre in West Yellowstone they have the brochures for the self guided tour along this approx 20 mile stretch of US-287; ending at the Earthquake Visitor Centre at the west end of the Earthquake area. The 15 or 20 min video they show, tells a great deal about the area. Definitely worth a visit.


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