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Preparing for a Summer Road Trip to Black Hills & Badlands

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We love to take educational and fun family road trips. This summer, we’re planning a big trip out to Seattle and on the way, we plan to hit a place I have wanted to visit for years –  the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.What to see on a Summer Road Trip to Black Hills & Badlands

*This post is sponsored by the Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association and the South Dakota Department of Tourism, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.* Photo source

As we prepare for an epic summer road trip, I’m excited to share with you a few of the things we want to do in South Dakota! There are so many reasons to add the Black Hills and Badlands to your own family bucket list. Here are a few things we want to see this summer when we drive west.

Preparing for a Summer Road Trip to Black Hills & Badlands


What to see on a Summer Road Trip to Black Hills & Badlands

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Mt. Rushmore / Crazy Horse / Custer State Park

Although I’ve heard differing opinions about Mt. Rushmore, it’s one of those iconic sights you just have to see once, right?  I mean, who wouldn’t want to see stone carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln  and Theodore Roosevelt? I know people who have said it’s not all that impressive, but I want to see it anyway. 🙂

The Crazy Horse Memorial is also high on my list even though it’s not yet complete. I have always been fascinated by Native American history (I may have read too many romance novels in middle school) but I would really like to see The Indian Museum of North America, the Welcome Center and Native American Educational and Cultural Center at Crazy Horse too.

buffalo in south dakota

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Custer State Park is also nearby and is supposed to be a great place for animal viewing. South Dakota buffalo and crazy mountain goats are legendary and not to be missed. And, the park also claims to be home to pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, and a band of friendly burros.

A Summer Road Trip to the Black Hills & Badlands

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Badlands National Park / Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway

I’ve seen the most beautiful images of Badlands National Park and really look forward to visiting this historic park in July. Hiking, nature viewing, watching the sunrise and sunset are things I really look forward to doing with my family. Checking out monuments and museums is a lot of fun, but actually getting outside in nature is also very important. With over 10,000 square miles of prairie, grasslands, and mountains, I’m sure we’ll find beautiful sights to see.

Badlands National Park South Dakota rainbow

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Biking, horseback riding, ATV rides, backpacking, hiking, and camping are just a few of the fun activities offered in the Black Hills and Badlands.

South Dakota Highway 240, otherwise known as Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway, is a 31 mile stretch of two lane highway through the Badlands National Park. It’s consistently on Top Ten lists of must roads to drive! Make sure to drive through this road for views of amazing buttes, cliffs and multi-colored spires.

I’m excited to find “My Great Space” in the wilds of South Dakota with my family. Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to do the same! South Dakota looks like an amazing place for us all to put down the electronics, and get outside to explore.

Head over to the Black Hills and Badlands website for a lot more information. Be sure to request your free vacation guide, find ready made travel itineraries, maps and more!

Preparing for a summer road trip to the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota? Here are beautiful pictures of sights & useful hints to help you prepare.

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About Michelle

Michelle Marine is green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankKelli says

    Our vacation out there was one of our favorites! I definitely recommend the 31-mile loop, and doing it at different times of day to see all of the animals. Have a blast!!

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