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If you are looking for the place where heroes turn into legends and legends become monuments, where landscapes defy description and nature forges geologic wonders, then you’ve been looking for a place like South Dakota all along.
Rapid City is more than just the gateway to Mt. Rushmore. No, there are other top-notch attractions like the Journey Museum, Museum of Geology, and the Dahl Arts Center (a.k.a., “the Dahl”) The town of Sturgis is just a short drive up I-90, and every August they host the biker mega-mixer known as the Sturgis Rally. In other words, this is a great place to start your South Dakota odyssey.
Mt. Rushmore National Monument is only 25 miles south of Rapid City, so no trip to the area would be complete without going to check out the four presidents’ faces immortalized in granite. A mere 20 miles south on state Hwy 244 is one of the last wild places on earth. Custer State Park’s 71,000 acres has pronghorn, elk, mountain goats, and a herd of almost 2,000 bison. In September, the bison are herded by park staff and volunteers and moved to corrals. We’re sure you’ve never seen anything like a buffalo roundup before, so be sure to catch it if you’re in the area.
After you come back to the rig you should think about heading south on US-385 to Hot Springs. Soak away those wild bumps and bruises in the soothing natural spas of the Black Hills or tour the Mammoth Site Museum of South Dakota, which also just so happens to be the world’s largest mammoth research facility and active dig site.
Heading further east, RVers can explore what has to be the next-to-the-last wild place on earth, in Badlands National Park. This 381-square-mile geological wonder hearkens back to another time with its slowly eroding rock formations and fossils of early mammals, such as pigs, horses, and cats. This is a sparse and challenging environment for modern creatures, but full of beauty.