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Old 02-09-2015, 08:20 AM
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Default Mount Rushmore this weekend, trip advice?

My mother-in-law is coming through town this weekend and we thought about sizing the nice weather and good fuel prices and take an overnight trip to Mount Rushmore this weekend since it's only like 5 hours away. No of us have ever been there, any advice for things to check out, places to stay, things to see and do, and or places to eat with small kids (5,3,2)?

We are looking to leave Friday morning and head back Saturday night. Temps should be in the 50* range in the day time so we aren't looking for lots of outdoorsy things, we'll just hang a camera around our necks and do the tourist thing.

Thanks I'm always impressed with the help I get here.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:28 AM
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We also like to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial while in the area.
Another cool site is the Chapel in the Hills in Rapid City.
http://www.chapel-in-the-hills.org/
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:00 AM
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We like to go through Spearfish and much prefer to stay there. I doubt you're looking to camp, but the city campground in Spearfish is the bee's knees. There's a brewery in town, Crow Peak, that's pretty good. Spearfish is about an hour west of Rapid City, not far from the Wyoming border.

If you have the time, though, do drive up or back using U.S. 85. The shortcut using U.S. 14 between U.S 85 and I-90 through the forest following Spearfish Creek is cool or you can make the short detour to Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Although now that I think about it, it might be pretty snowy up there so I'm not sure the alternate route would be open. Dunno, just file it away for reference.

Custer State Park has one of the largest bison herds in the country and that's pretty neat.

It's best to see the Monument itself in the morning with the alpenglow from sunrise. At night they flood the thing with lights and that's cool, too. You won't have a ton of fellow travelers about now and that's a major benefit since the road up there and the parking lot are pretty congested. Entry to the Monument is free, parking is not. I want to say it was like $20 to park. If memory serves your National Parks pass (if you have one) isn't valid for the parking, but bring it in case (if you have one).

There is a cool little nature hike that gives you all kinds of views, do that if you can. It's probably a bit too much for small children, though I'd think a 5 year old might be OK. It's I think about a mile or two and mostly on boardwalks, so it's not tremendously hard. It takes you right up to the base of the tailings, so it gives you a different perspective. That might also be under snow now, not sure.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:10 AM
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Drew, check out this thread from 2009. All the suggestions are great.
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:08 PM
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Thanks guys, we realize it isn't the perfect time of year but the weather should hold, driving should be clear and we ought to be able to make some good memories.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:06 PM
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You'll wish you had a full week there - but you're on track for the good stuff. I found Crazy Horse to be more compelling than Mt. Rushmore, but you need to see both. The Chapel in the Hills was indeed fascinating, too.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:15 PM
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I seem to spend a lot of time in Rapid City lately.

Best food/drink is at Murphy's. There used to be a Beaujeau's downtown, but it closed earlier this year.

I also think the Crazy Horse monument is cooler than Mt. Rushmore, but both are pretty cool.

Dan
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:01 PM
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Reptile Gardens is pretty fun, quick, and not too expensive. The kids will like the big turtles.
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:48 PM
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Weather changed, calling for snow, we're gonna pass and hold out for better weather.
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My rig... "Maude"
1976 FJ40 with some stuff and some leaks.

1999 UZJ 100 Series bone stock ready to rock AKA:The backup minivan

2012 Toyota Sienna Minivan, fastest Toyota in the stable.

My camping trailer build up thread.

"You 80 guys are just a Sawzall away from nirvana." -Red Chili
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Old 02-14-2015, 05:59 AM
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If Mother Nature gives us snow you could always make your own.

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