Top 10 Things To Do During a Summer Vacation in the Black Hills

March 16, 2011


Located in western South Dakota, the Black Hills offers family vacationers the beauty and excitement of the great outdoors - Ponderosa pine covered hills, clear blue skies, and sparkling streams - as well as the chance to explore phenomenal manmade national monuments.

Surrounded by all the beauty and excitement western South Dakota has to offer, Josh Daiss of the Palmer Gulch KOA is often asked for his list of the top things to do and see on a Black Hills summer vacation. His top 10 list includes:

1.    Norbeck Scenic Byway: Take a day trip! Winding through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills, this Scenic Byway offers views of picturesque lakes, towering granite formations, rock tunnels, and spiraling "pigtail" bridges as it travels through wildlife preserves and wilderness areas.

2.    Covered Wagon Rides: Got the pioneer spirit? Enjoy a steak dinner, cracklin’ campfire, and a cowboy music show. We offer covered wagon rides and an authentic chuck wagon supper show in a picturesque mountain meadow.

3.    Mt. Rushmore: View these spectacular mountains at night! Vacationers are welcome to take our shuttle and enjoy the lighting ceremony and multimedia program. This epic sculpture featuring the granite faces of four American Presidents - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln – proudly towers 5,500 feet above sea level.

4.    Crazy Horse Monument: It’s the world’s largest sculpture, and it’s an amazing sight - especially at night! Take one of our shuttles to the evening lighting ceremony. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began creating his monumental sculpture of Chief Crazy Horse mounted atop a spirited warhorse in 1948. After his death in 1982, his family still continues to make his dream a reality.

5.    Water Sports: Go boating, water skiing, canoeing, or fishing. The Lodge is surrounded by pristine mountain lakes and sparkling streams.  Need a rainy day plan? We are also close to the warm, inviting thermal springs of Evans Plunge! 

6.    Caving: Venture into the mysterious depths of the underground world. This area is home to a number of caves, including Jewel Cave, the second longest cave in the world; Rushmore Cave, the closest cave to Mt. Rushmore; and Wind Cave, the world’s fourth longest cave.

7.    Biking & ATVs: Take the road less traveled! From adventurous back wood trails and “no kidding” road rides to relaxing bike rides on old railroad beds, guests can rent a bike or ATV and go exploring. 

8.    Hiking/Backpacking: Be adventurous! Hike Harney Peak, the highest point in the Black Hills; the dramatic formations of the Cathedral Spires; or the steep walls and limestone cliffs of Hells Canyon. 

9.    Horseback Riding: View lush forests, tranquil meadows, and breathtaking overlooks along a meandering trail atop a horse. From beginner to expert, we offer families of all experience levels well-trained horses and experienced guides.

10.    Spend a Day at Camp: Take a dip in one of our two swimming pools or make a splash down the water slide. Enjoy a round of mini golf or a friendly game of sand volleyball, basketball, or horseshoes. Make it a relaxing evening – take in a movie under the stars, listen to live local music, or watch traditional Indian dancers perform.

“A Black Hills vacation gives families the chance to reconnect, relax, and enjoy summer,” says the manager of this Black Hills vacation destination. “From a scenic road trips and outdoor adventures, to touring the Crazy Horse Monument, or visiting the Presidents of Mt. Rushmore, this is the perfect area for family vacations…there are a range of activity levels, comfortable accommodations, and kid-friendly itineraries available.”

Last Modified: 06/25/2014 12:22:02 pm MDT