5 Places To Explore Near Rapid City, SD That Aren’t Mount Rushmore

December 11, 2018

When you think of tourist destinations in the United States, you wouldn’t think of Rapid City, South Dakota. It’s not on your bucket list. But you would be surprised just how many tourists travel to South Dakota’s second largest city every year to visit the gateway to Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills.

However, there’s more to explore in Rapid City than just Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills. Instead, you can roam the prairie with buffalo, go on archaeological digs, hike, camp, and kayak. Luckily, we have your complete list of fun destinations in and around Rapid City for the whole family. Schedule your next vacation to South Dakota!

Badlands National Park

Located about an hour southeast of Rapid City, Badlands National Park is a popular destination for those who love hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Its landscapes span several rock formations, steep canyons, and towering spires. You can also meet South Dakota’s native bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs as you explore the grasslands.

You can take the Badlands Loop Road to look at the scenic lands. Luckily, there are several trails for hiking, where you may stumble upon uncovered fossils in the park.

Caving At Wind Cave National Park

Caving is one of the most popular family trips, and South Dakota offers two of the longest caves in the world. The Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs and Jewel Cave National Monument near Custer in the historic Black Hills allow explorers to travel up to 180 miles underneath the ground.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty near unique rock formations, beautiful crystals, and more. A guided tour is available, and Wild Caving Tours gives viewers a realistic caving experience.

Canoeing And Kayaking

One of the best ways to experience South Dakota’s stunning picturesque views is to canoe and kayak on the waters of the Black Hills and Badlands. Thankfully, canoeing is allowed on the majority of lakes and rivers in South Dakota, including Angostura Recreation Area, Bear Butte Lake, Custer State Park, and more.

The best times of the year to canoe and kayak are in the spring and early summer seasons when the water flows at its best. Go canoeing and you’re ready for an amazing adventure.

Custer State Park

Speaking of Custer State Park, it’s another location you must visit. Located in Custer, South Dakota (40 minutes south of Rapid City), the 110-square-mile park is the home of buffalo in grasslands and granite cliffs.

No trip to South Dakota would be complete without seeing the breathtaking country, but also the animals that call the land “home.”

Snowmobiling Trails For Everyone

If you’re visiting South Dakota during the winter months, you probably wonder if there’s anything to do in the snow. Contrary to what you think, there’s plenty to do to calm cabin fever, including snowmobiling.

With more than 1,500 miles of snowmobile trails, South Dakota offers the best trails for snowmobiling. If you feel the need for speed, while playing in the snow, South Dakota is the next destination for you.

For other unexpected opportunities for adventure, check out Québec City, Canada where activities to keep you immersed in nature abound.