Mount Rushmore National MonumentSouth Dakota Visitors BureauSouth Dakota Visitors BureauSouth Dakota Visitors BureauSouth Dakota Visitors BureauSouth Dakota Visitors BureauSouth Dakota Visitors BureauMitchell Corn Palace

Families will love:

  • Outdoor adventure at Custer State Park
  • The scenic Needles Highway
  • Mount Rushmore

A vacation doesn't get much more American than a classic road trip to South Dakota's Black Hills. Even kids too young to know any presidents can appreciate the feat of carving Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln from the rough granite of Mount Rushmore. Just as impressive is the engineering that went into one of America's most stunning scenic byways: the Needles ... more
A vacation doesn't get much more American than a classic road trip to South Dakota's Black Hills. Even kids too young to know any presidents can appreciate the feat of carving Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln from the rough granite of Mount Rushmore. Just as impressive is the engineering that went into one of America's most stunning scenic byways: the Needles Highway. Together with Iron Mountain Road, the byway climbs along granite spires, winds past pine-flanked hills, spirals down pigtail bridges and requires you to honk your horn and take turns going through one-vehicle tunnels that frame views of Mount Rushmore like postage stamps.

Plan for many stops along the way: pausing to watch a mountain goat, admiring a climber scaling the famed eye of the needle rock formation, waiting for bison to cross the road or exploring countless trails or caves tucked into the Hills. Paths around Sylvan Lake -- part of the climax in the movie "National Treasure 2" -- literally sparkle with bits of mica and hunks of rose quartz that kids find enchanting.

The Black Hills boomed in the golden era of road trips and station wagons, so you'll find a few pockets of old-school tourism (especially with the famous huckster-style advertising for Wall Drug), but it can be part of the charm or easy to escape. Outdoors lovers hike, bike, fly-fish, rock-climb and enjoy some of America's best wildlife watching at Custer State Park. Guides and outfitters make it easy if you're trying the sports for the first time. Budding geologists and archaeologists can do simulated digs at the Mammoth Site, explore several dinosaur museums, and hike among the otherworldly red jagged peaks and buttes of Badlands National Park east of Rapid City.

Overall, it's a winning blend of pre-historic history, Native American and Old West legends, wildlife, and pioneering spirit nestled among the beautiful and intimate Black Hills.

Written by Lisa Meyers McClintick less

Black Hills Planning & Tips

6 Top-Rated Family Hotels in Black Hills


Black Hills Family Hotels

Black Hills Family Reviews

Fun at the Black Hills, SD
by Anna McFarland
We had a great time with our kids at the Black Hills! We stayed at Country Inn & Suite by Carlson in Rapid City. The breakfast was great and ... read more
Black Hills Family Reviews

11 Black Hills Family Attractions


Black Hills Family Attractions
Related Links:

  •  
    FREE Family Travel Newsletter
  • Family Travel Tips   (4 New)

    Family Planning and Tips

    • 10 Best Orlando Resorts for Families
      So many hotels and resorts to choose from! Which ones really are the best for families in terms of theme-park access, amenities, and accommodations? Here are our favorites in the Orlando area! 1. Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creak Maybe it is the Hilton's water park with two zero-entry pools, a 3-acre ...
    • Skip This: Do That!
      Deciding where to go for your next family vacation? Often it's the most popular destinations -- from mega theme parks to world-famous beach towns -- that come to mind first. It's tempting to pick a familiar place and just go with what you know, but do this and you could be missing out on some fantas...
    • Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise
      Join us onboard Disney Wonder's first exploration into Alaskan waters and ports as Family Vacation Critic Editor Lissa Poirot and her two tots take you on a tour. Be the first to see a sample of Disney's Alaskan Port Adventures, as well as glimpse the Disney Wonder's onboard fun, in our first-ever d...
    • Family Volunteer Vacations
      Away from the hectic pace of our everyday lives, any vacation is a chance for families to reconnect. There's no soccer game, no piano recital, no working late, so finally you have that precious day together. Yet, if you really want a meaningful break from your usual schedule, one that might change t...
  • Twitter
  • Facebook