Black Hills Vacation

With a wide range of accommodations, plenty of fun things to do and easy access to popular South Dakota attractions, Rapid City is the perfect home base for your Black Hills vacation. Stay in Rapid City to enjoy all the amenities of a cosmopolitan oasis – great dining, vibrant nightlife, arts and culture – tucked right in the midst of the rugged Badlands and the scenic Black Hills. Whether you explore dramatic caves, cruise scenic highways, visit massive monuments, follow park trails, learn about Native American traditions or live it up in Downtown Rapid City, every day is a big adventure.

Crazy Horse Memorial

Head 40 miles southwest of Rapid City to see the beloved Native American leader honored in a massive way at Crazy Horse Memorial. You’ll witness the creation of the world’s largest mountain carving, currently in progress, and explore the site, which features the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center and the Museum of the American Bison.  

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Take a short scenic drive into the Black Hills, and you’ll soon be in view of one of the most recognized vistas in the world: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, just 25 miles southwest of Rapid City. Like millions who visit each year, you’ll experience a rush of patriotism and learn how the ambitious sculpture was created.

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Bear Country USA

Just eight miles from Rapid City, turn into South Dakota’s famed drive-through wildlife park for the thrill of meeting black bear, reindeer, elk, deer, cougars, bobcats, arctic wolves, badgers, bighorn sheep, buffalo, river otters and more. Tour the park from the comfort of your car, then visit the bear cubs and other park youngsters on a walk through Babyland.

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Wind Cave National Park

Enjoy views of the Black Hills on your way to Wind Cave National Park, 65 miles southwest of Rapid City. Whether you explore hiking trails in the 28,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie at the park or take a ranger-guided tour through one of the longest and most complex caves in the world, you’ll want to experience this geological phenomenon firsthand.

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Custer State Park

The buffalo really do roam at Custer State Park, 28 miles southwest of Rapid City, and you’re about to be part of their world. Take a Jeep ride through the buffalo herds, enjoy horseback riding, guided fly-fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, scenic drives and chuckwagon suppers – no matter how you experience the open range, prepare to be swept away by frontier spirit.

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Reptile Gardens

Just six miles south of Rapid City you’ll find an exotic paradise that’s home to the largest reptile collection in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, an indoor jungle, rare birds and more than 50,000 tropical flowers. Pay a visit to the world’s deadliest snakes, adorable giant tortoises, majestic bald eagles, a prairie dog town and shows featuring birds, gators and more, all amid lush foliage and surprising exhibits.

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1880 Train

A short drive from Rapid City will take you deep into the past as you catch a ride onboard on the 1880 Train. You’ll soon be traveling the Black Hills Central Railroad by vintage steam train, winding your way through the South Dakota countryside for views you’d never see from the highway. Narrated journeys with seasonal features keep you guessing what’s around the bend on this two-hour train ride.

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Needles Highway

Take a journey into the Black Hills to experience the National Scenic Byway they said was impossible to build. The Needles Highway covers 14 miles of sharp turns and low tunnels amid impressive granite spires of Custer State Park, just 30 miles south of Rapid City. Pass through spruce forests, meadows of birch and aspen and by some of the oldest rock formations in North America, including the Eye Of The Needle.

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City of Presidents

Throughout Rapid City, you’ll notice an abundance of VIP’s (Very Important Presidents) transforming street corners into historic moments. The City of Presidents is a public art project that features 43 past presidents as life-size bronze sculptures, depicted in ways that illustrate both their humanity and their powerful legacies. Take a stroll through pedestrian-friendly Downtown Rapid City to view them all.

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Where to Stay