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The Black Hills of South Dakota in a Weekend

Last month my daughter and I had three wonderful days in South Dakota, but I left feeling like we easily could have spent a week (or even two) to see it all. We will be back, South Dakota! Here is what we did over three days in Rapid City and the Black Hills as the guests of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. If you are planning a trip to these parts, you can’t go wrong with this itinerary, crafted by the experts….

  • South Dakota 1 of 10
    1

    We flew directly from Dallas to Rapid City and were on our way to Badlands National Park

  • Badlands National Park 2 of 10
    2

    Clare enjoyed making her mother screech by balancing on the edges of cliffs and giving sullen glances better than any 13 year old.

  • Frontier Cabins Motel 3 of 10
    3

    From there we headed to the Frontier Cabins Motel where Clare fell in love will staying in our own cozy and perfectly modernized log cabin. 

  • Exploring and Shopping 4 of 10
    4

    We watched the sun set, played on their awesome playground and explored the teepees. We also hit the gift shop, naturally.

    Head to Pretty Prudent to hear more about our donut feast at Wall Drug and how we got to ride a Jack-a-lope.

  • Outdoor Campus West 5 of 10
    10

    From there it was off to some fishing at the Outdoor Campus West, which is in Rapid City but felt like the wilderness. You will notice there is a lot of wide open space in South Dakota. Clare had been begging to go fishing so we were both absolutely thrilled to hear that we would be getting lessons.

  • Taking in the Taxidermy 6 of 10
    5

    The Campus has a gorgeous facility with tons of activities and events to book throughout the Summer. They also have beautifully created displays of taxidermy which the kids were totally petting and loving on which was slightly creepy and funny.

  • Custer State Park 7 of 10
    6

    From there we set out to see some real live animals on a Jeep Safari in Custer State Park. Our guide shared the fascinating history of Custer State Park and it's bison. I think it was my favorite part of the entire trip. I literally saw the deer and the antelope play. Not together, but still. Don't even get me started on the adorableness of seeing 100 Prairie Dogs popping in and out of holes.

    Head to Pretty Prudent to hear more.

  • Big Thunder Gold Mine 8 of 10
    7

    The Big Thunder Gold Mine gave a wonderful, fact-filled and humorous tour of a real gold mine from the 1890′s.

  • Mount Rushmore 9 of 10
    8

    And now what you've all been waiting for! Mount Rushmore! It was as impressive as you can imagine. The fact that men carved this in the side of a mountain based on drawings and models is just mind-blowing to me. It's a masterpiece  of art, engineering, geology, craftsmanship and determination. It's also a great lesson… Something can still be spectacular even if it doesn't turn out exactly as planned.

    See more photos of our trip at Pretty Prudent.

  • Book a Trip to South Dakota 10 of 10
    9

    If you haven't made plans for your Summer vacation, let me say that South Dakota will blow you away whether you have 2 days or 2 weeks. It will be a family experience you will not forget. I would head back today if given the chance, well except that I'm in Seattle, alone with my husband, for the first time in a year, so maybe not precisely today, but soon.

Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Prudent Baby, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.

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