Day 1 You'll See:
Day 2 You'll See:
This is the PERFECT itinerary for a quick but extremely fulfilling getaway in South Dakota's Black Hills, this 2-day journey showing you all the highlights of the areas natural wonders, city attractions, and everything in between!
Just a bit east of the Hills, the Badlands offer an 'otherworldly' geological variety, the landscape sprayed with cliffs, canyons, and buttes. The views here are absolutely one of a kind, so be sure to bring your camera! You will also want to bring your hiking boots, as this spot is chock-full of park trails, hiking paths, and backcountry fun. Take a scenic drive, explore the wilderness, or maybe even camp amongst the local wildlife while here! There are seven different towns within the area, one of our favorites to send student groups being Wall, home of the famous Wall Drug Store.
Over 2 million guests a year can't be wrong, Wall Drug is a must stop while in the area!! Wall Drug is the primary attraction here, a 78,000 square foot drug store, gift shop, and eatery all in one. Here you will find medicines, of course, and various souvenirs/local items such as western wear, leatherware, Native American items, and the Black Hills jewelry. Dine at the Western Art Gallery Restaurant while here, this western themed eatery selling such scrumptious items as buffalo burgers and homemade donuts. It also features the largest private Western art collection in the world! If you have kiddos with you head out to the Backyard where you will find Jumping Jets, panning and mining activities, the Shooting Gallery Arcade, a toy emporium, and a giant t-rex and jackalope perfect for a photo op!
Bear Country USA
Your group is going to love stopping here, this 3-mile drive showing you 200 acres of natural habitat home to several different local animals, with an obvious emphasis on black bears. One of the coolest things about visiting with your big group? There is no additional cost to get a step-on guide to narrate your visit on the motorcoach! There are 25 different species here total. You can see smaller animals and bear cubs along the Wildlife Walkway, a 1/4 mile loop your group can walk featuring scenic waterfalls and fun hands-on exhibits for little learners throughout. Before you go, be sure to check out The Bear's Den, the 6,000 square foot onsite Gift Shop featuring really great educational materials and souvenirs!
One of the most vibrantly unique spots you and your group can visit while in Rapid City is Art Alley, the one-of-a-kind back alley featuring buildings covered in vivid graffiti-style murals and writing. This art project began in 2005 and has grown into the magnificent display you see here today, a display considered to be a 'living tribute to freedom of expression'. Freeform graffiti meets pop art, meets cultural works, meets abstract art. The display is constantly changing, featuring new additions from both local and visiting artists.
Main Street Square
Rapid City's Main Street Square is the place to be for family fun while visiting the city, this public space in the heart of downtown holding regular special events, seasonal activities, and plenty of opportunity for more city exploration! If you are visiting during the winter, Main Street Square turns into a wonderland of fun winter-themed activities, boasting an ice skating rink and tons of holiday-themed shopping, eating, and events. In the summer you can enjoy playing in the dancing fountain, watching movies in the park, and regular festivals/live events! Outside of the square, you will find a downtown area filled with great places to shop, eat, and have fun!
Jewel Cave National Monument
Located just 13 miles west of Custer, this National Monument holds a total of 1,273 acres and provides curious guests with educational information about the cave, its 'jewels', and it's geological history in the area. You will learn these things by taking a stroll through the Visitors Center, then by taking a guided tour of the cave itself.
The most popular tour option is the Scenic Tour, which will take you 0.5 miles total into the cave and show you the 'maze of passages, the scientific mystery, and the fragile formations' throughout. Learn all about the calcite crystals, or 'the jewels', and the difference between the two main types, nailhead spar and dogtooth spar.
Still under construction, this Black Hills (Custer County) gem was created by Korczak Ziolkowski, after a formal invitation by local Lakota Chief, Henry Standing Bear. The monument began with construction in 1948, leaving it unfinished but still under diligent work for over 65 years now. Visit the Indian Museum of North America, as well as the Native American Education and Culture Center, both highly informative and insightful options for learning. Your group may also be interested in taking a special tour, such as the ‘Trip of a lifetime tour’, or rustic bus ride to the bottom of the mountain. If your group gets hungry head to the onsite Laughing Water Restaurant, famous for its Tatonka Stew and delicious Native American Tacos.
Mt. Rushmore is a true American classic site to see, a National Monument featuring a massive sculpture within the Black Hills region. The granite faces of some of our most recognizable and respected presidents will be an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience, the sheer height of each face quite frankly astounding. The famous presidents depicted high above ground level are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, the faces of these legends alone an excellent learning opportunity for your student group. There is an onsite museum with interactive exhibits to explain the ‘birth, growth, duty, and presentation of the president’s of the country’, the rich heritage here attracting over 3 million guests annually.