Photo of Mount Rushmore, One of the Best South Dakota Attractions.In May, we mapped out 10 unique reasons to visit the Black Hills during summer’s peak. This month, we’re going to branch out a bit by covering five quintessential South Dakota attractions, all of which are a short drive from Rushmore Express, a classic, family-friendly Keystone inn. South Dakota tourism naturally revolves around the state’s westernmost wonders, chiefly the Black Hills. Once Mount Rushmore was finished, it didn’t take long for Midwesterners to wholly realize the natural splendor of this sprawling, rugged region.

The Top 5 Family-Friendly South Dakota Attractions

The Black Hills’ proximity to Devil’s Tower and the Badlands makes western South Dakota all the more enticing. And, to ensure that your next family vacation to Rushmore Express is nothing short of sublime, we’ve collected five exemplary South Dakota attractions that the kids won’t soon forget.

1. Mount Rushmore

A visit to Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum’s crown achievement, is a road tripper’s rite of passage. Rushmore is consistently revered as one of the most iconic monuments in the world. It needs to be seen to be believed. The Rushmore Borglum Story, which will reopen in 2021, is a worthy companion for those aiming to learn more about the monument’s enthralling backstory. 

2. Custer State Park

Custer State Park is a vast, 71,000-acre slice of the Black Hills that never ceases to amaze those with a penchant for natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and head-turning wildlife. Some of our favorite South Dakota attractions lie inside the state park, including shriek-inducing Needles Highway, the buffalo-overrun Wildlife Loop, and the awe-inspiring Cathedral SpiresBlack Elk Peak combo trail.

3. Wall Drug Store

Children cannot deny the allure of Wall Drug Store, a shopping-dining extravaganza that spans over 76,000 square feet of smile-inducing nostalgia. Munch on fresh-made doughnuts, purchase a glitzy souvenir or two, pose for family photos, meet a ferocious T-Rex, and peruse classic western art.

Photo from within the Badlands, One of the Most Popular South Dakota Attractions.4. Badlands National Park

A few miles south of Wall Drug Store lies Badlands National Park, a truly mysterious natural wonder that doesn’t seem to fit South Dakota’s landscape. The Badlands is often referred to as a “mini Grand Canyon” because of its aesthetic, hot spells, and deep ravines. A stroll along the lengthy yet level Castle Trail is a must for a family with budding explorers.

5. Crazy Horse Memorial

Hidden along U.S. Route 385 is Crazy Horse Memorial, an unfinished monument that’s been a work in progress since 1948. This beautiful ode to the fierce, 19th-century Lakota war leader is a sight to behold and a gripping chapter in this state’s history. Unlike most South Dakota attractions, a visit to Crazy Horse is less about the visual appeal and more about the Lakota’s lasting legacy.

Affordable Lodging near Mount Rushmore

The perfect place to start and finish each day of hiking, shopping, and sightseeing is right here at Rushmore Express, ideally located near Mount Rushmore, downtown Keystone, and Custer State Park. We’re proud to be one of the most affordable yet modernized hotels near Mount Rushmore. You’ll also be a short bicycle ride or drive from many crowd-pleasing restaurants and eclectic shops. And don’t forget: This classic Rushmore hotel is within 20 miles of the finest attractions near Rapid City, so the kids will never be far from excitement! Please give us a call today at 800-323-6476 to book a well-deserved escape into the Black Hills (or check availability online).