How Many Days to Spend on a Road Trip in South Dakota?
Where to stay on a South Dakota Road Trip
- 1.5 hours to Spearfish via Blackhills National Forest 385 goes through Deadwood 1 hour via 1-90 goes through Sturgis
- 40 minutes Mount Rushmore
- 1 hour Custer State Park
- 1 hour Badlands National Park
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South Dakota Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1 Rapid City to Spearfish
Day 2 Mount Rushmore
- Cars, Motorcycles, and RVs – $11 per vehicle
- Evening lighting ceremony of Mount Rushmore May 26, 2017 – Oct 1, 2017
- $28.00 Per car – more than 2 people
- $22.00 = 2 people in car
- $11.00 = Per person
- $5.00 = Per person on motorcycles, or bicycles
The Alpine Inn only serves two things for dinner, filet mignon or a Spaetzle Primavera. We opted for the 9-ounce bacon wrapped filet for $13.95 and we weren’t disappointed. This place is a steal, for less than $50 we each got a 9-ounce steak dinner, dessert, two beers, and a glass of wine. If you visit during the summer expect there to be a line before dinner service even starts. Their lunch menu is much larger. Click here for Trip Advisor reviews.
Day 3 Badlands National Park
Wake up early and head back to Custer National Park for sunrise and a morning hike before continuing on your South Dakota road trip. The Badlands National Park is 1.5 hours from Custer State Park, it’s an easy drive down I-90.
On your way to the park make sure to stop at Wall Drug in Wall South Dakota. You will see sign after sign along I-90. It’s a great place to stop and have lunch before heading into the park. We suggest staying at a hotel in Wall it’s only a 10-minute drive to the entrance of the park and it has good options.
We suggest trying to arrive around lunch so you have most of the day to drive through the park and find the perfect spot for sunset. If you plan on waking up for sunrise the next day also scope out where to watch the sunrise, we suggest Window Trail on the east end of Badlands National Park.
The Badlands look out of this world. The park is 244,000 acres and is said to contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Apparently, even rhinos once roamed in South Dakota. Now you will find bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs.
For us the Badlands National Park perfectly summarizes this part of South Dakota, it’s amazing and nothing like what you expect. Before traveling to the Badlands and South Dakota we would have thought this park existed somewhere in the southwest of the country, not in South Dakota. The Badlands and our entire road trip in South Dakota surprised us in a very good way.
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Have you gone on a South Dakota road trip? What would you add to our route?
While Mt. Rushmore is what brings most people to South Dakota there is so much more to this beautiful part of the country. For more on South Dakota check out our Things to do near Mt. Rushmore Article.
This post was sponsored by Travel South Dakota. Thanks to Travel South Dakota for inviting to explore your amazing state. As always all of our opinions are our own.This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure