Things to do in Rapid City

This beautiful property is located on the road to Mount Rushmore. The cabin is on a slight hill so you can see the rolling hills, farmers market, and a pumpkin patch right next to the road. You will be just minutes to Rapid City.


Sylvan Lake
​​Located in the middle of all those beautiful pine trees and granite spires is a picturesque lake that was created after the Sylvan Lake Water Dam was built across Sunday Gulch Creek. The area offers prime picnic spots, rock climbing, small rental boats, swimming, and hiking trails. If you’ve got a love for hiking, consider venturing the Sunday Gulch Trail. The trail is a strenuous 3-mile loop that descends through the gulch alongside a flowing creek with handrails to help you keep your balance. This trail is difficult and can take 2-3 hours to complete, so be sure to pack shoes that can get wet, a lot of water, and any other supplies that you’ll need to keep energized and safe.

Wildlife Loop
Start your Black Hills adventure by exploring Custer State Park, a 110 sq. ft wildlife preserve that is home to a herd of 1,500 free-roaming bison, the famous “Begging Burros,” elk, coyotes, deer, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, cougars, and more. Starting from the east park entrance, wind through the 18-mile Wild Life Loop and enjoy a slow, relaxing ride of scenic wildlife.

Devil's Tower
Devil's Tower Trail is a 1.3 mile well-known loop trail located near Devils Tower, Wyoming that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Bear Butte
Enjoy this 2.8-mile out-and-back trail near Sturgis, South Dakota. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 53 min to complete. This is a popular trail for hiking and walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day. Dogs will have to stay home.

Black Elk Peak Loop
Black Elk Peak Loop: South Dakota Highpoint is a 7.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest

Spearfish Canyon
Bicyclists love Spearfish Canyon for its wide-shouldered roads and slow-paced traffic. Bicycling Magazine named Spearfish Canyon as one of the top 50 scenic bike paths in the country!

Sites to see

Mount Rushmore Monument
The most iconic symbol of the Black Hills and an absolute must-see if you’re visiting for the first time. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is free admission with a parking fee of $10 for cars. The pass is valid for 7 days, so you stop a few times throughout your trip. In the memorial, you can check out the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center to watch a film about the amazing process of carving Mount Rushmore. Take a walk on the Presidential Trail to get up close views of the stone faces, then take a stop at the Carver’s Studio to see the original scale model of Mount Rushmore and learn even more about Gutzon Borglum and his team.

Crazy Horse Monument
This incredible monument is to memorialize the great Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse and his fight against encroachments on the way of life of the Lakota people. The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is far from completion.

Badlands National Park
Located an hour west of Rapid City on I-90, the Badlands National Park features dramatic landscapes of layered rock formations, steep canyons and towering spires. The distinguishable sedimentary layers boast a gorgeous mixture of purple, yellow, red, orange, tan and gray colors. The Badlands National Park preserves the world’s greatest fossil bed of ancient animals such as three-toed horse, saber-toothed cats and giant rhinoceros-like creatures. The Badlands Loop Road winds past many scenic lookouts and areas to hike along trails. The land couldn’t be more opposite of the neighboring Black Hills, so make sure you add this stop to you itinerary!

Needles Highway
After you’ve spent the morning petting the friendly burros, loop around to the Needles Highway entrance and prepare yourself for the most beautiful cruise of your life. This National Scenic Byway is a 14-mile stretch that features sharp turns, narrow tunnels, and granite spires known as “needles.” There are many areas to stop along the way to snap pictures of the beautiful views.

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
Start your day off by stopping at the D.C Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. Located a mile north of the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway entrance, you can explore a museum, fisheries railcar, underwater viewing windows, and feed the fish in the large fish ponds — all for free! Then, buckle up for a 22-mile journey of beautiful canyon waterfalls, picture-perfect pull-offs, thousand-foot-high limestone palisades, and breathtaking landscapes. Spearfish Canyon is beautiful any time of the year, but the fall season offers the most colorful drive as the leaves change. Hikers enjoy going off the beaten path with popular trails such as Devil’s Bathtub or 11th Hour Gulch — be sure to pack the water shoes for these hikes. Bicyclists also love Spearfish Canyon for its wide-shouldered roads and slow-paced traffic. Bicycling Magazine named Spearfish Canyon as one of the top 50 scenic bike paths in the country!

Wind Cave National Park
Head to the southern hills again for a fun-filled day of South Dakota’s most popular attractions. Known as the world’s largest concentration of rare boxwork formations, Wind Cave National Park is a centuries-old maze that whistles to the curious passersby. Tour tickets for the cave are limited and typically sell out so be sure to get here early in the morning to purchase your tickets.

Hot Springs Mammoth Site
Consider visiting Hot Springs, SD to visit the Mammoth Site, home to the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world. The active dig site offers guided tours to watch paleontologist at work and you can even learn excavation techniques yourself.

Custer State Park & Wildlife Reserve
South Dakota’s largest, and first state park. A 71,000-acre wilderness that draws comparisons to Yellowstone National Park when it comes to spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife. Custer State Park is home to abundant wildlife and adventure; camping, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, or relaxing.

Downtown Rapid City
Experience numerous art galleries, fashionable boutiques, a variety of fine cuisine, the City of President statues and great entertainment from music to theatre and various events. Explore the fountains at Main Street Square, a place to make fun-filled memories for the whole family. Take a walk down Art Alley, or visit any of the over 70 shops and 33 restaurants open year-round!

Fun Activities

Reptile Gardens
Reptile Gardens is the home of the ‘World’s Largest Reptile Zoo’ and some of the world’s deadliest snakes. Experience the unforgettable thrill of nature’s most beautiful, but often most misunderstood creatures.

Bear Country
Bear Country offers a drive through wildlife exhibits to observe black bears, elk, mountain lions, buffalo, reindeer and wolves in their natural habitat. After your drive, take a walk through the park to view the offspring exhibits (baby bears!).

Rush Mountain Adventure Park
Explore Rushmore Cave, the closest cave to Mount Rushmore, cruise down the mountain on the Rushmore Mountain Coaster, experience the Soaring Eagle Zipride, shoot’em up at the Gunslinger 7-D Ride, and find your inner daredevil at the Wingwalker Challenge Course.

Rushmore Tramway Adventures
Catch the excitement at Rushmore Tramway Adventures, the ultimate family-fun adventure park offering exhilarating experiences and unforgettable memories. De-stress with a relaxing ride on the scenic chairlift, feel the rush as you race down the alpine slide at top speed, harness up and glide along the ziplines, try some downhill tubing or visit the new Aerial Park for a crash course in rope climbing available for all skill levels.

South Dakota Air & Space Museum
As you head back east, consider stopping at the Air & Space Museum near Ellsworth Air Force Base to experience aircraft technology's fascinating past and present history. The legendary exhibit showcases astonishing artifacts of the American journey into space and the military personnel who have sacrificed so much for our country throughout history.

The Journey Museum & Learning Center
Along with Black Hills history and Native American culture, The Journey Museum & Learning Center is also home to the vast collection that shows humanity’s journey through time, from creation all the way through current life. The Journey is one of the unique museums that focus on subjects such as dinosaurs, early settlement, and past living conditions. Journey through and learn about not only Black Hills history, but the history of our species.

Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries

Evans Plunge
Priaire Edge is a well-known Native American gallery and authentic trading post located in the heart of Downtown, Rapid City. Visit the most extensive collection of Plains Indian Art, crafts & jewelry in the area. An arts & crafts gallery, fine art gallery, bookstore, and unique crafts supply center are all housed in a historically restored building. Some of the most incredible art you’ll find in our state is created by local artists, and in this awesome shop you’ll find all kinds of hand-crafted treasures.A must visit for your trip!


Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The small town is flooded with over 500,000 riders, concert-goers, and entertainment enthusiast every year during the first two weeks of August. You can explore Main Street and check out the many t-shirt shops, bars and motorcycle attractions.

Black Hills Pow Wow
Known as one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States, The Black Hills Powwow attracts hundreds of dancers, singers, artisans and thousands of spectators. In addition to the powwow, spectators have the opportunity to enjoy a fine arts show, He Sapa Win pageant, wellness symposium for youth, and tournaments for hand games, softball, golf and archery.

Central States Fair & Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo
The Central States Fair held annually mid-August allows Rapid City residents and surrounding communities to partake in fair activities including; the carnival, free stage entertainment, along with exhibiting crafts and culinary in the open class competitions, cattle shows, and multiple horse events. The Central States Fair also offers nine nights of grandstand entertainment from concerts to the Range Days Rodeo.

Black Hills Round Up
The Roundup is one of the oldest continuously held outdoor rodeos in America. For five exciting days surrounding the July 4th holiday weekend, thousands of regional residents, and people from across the country and abroad, come to Belle Fourche to celebrate. Top ranked cowboys and cowgirls perform in the many events including barrel racing, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, bull riding, team roping and more.


Rapid City
A popular destination for Black Hills travelers, there are many things to do in Rapid City, SD. Check out Storybook Island for a free stroll through the park with the most iconic story book characters, or take a walk through downtown with the City of Presidents tour featuring life-sized bronze statues of our nation’s past presidents. The downtown area has a wide variety of shops from Native American art galleries to giant toy stores. Towering 11-stores high, be sure to explore the iconic Hotel Alex Johnson to view its 1920s charm, unique rooftop bar, and Native American décor. End your evening at one of the many downtown breweries, wineries or restaurants for live entertainment and an exciting night on the town.

Strugis is a small city located in western South Dakota, and is named after Samuel D. Sturgis, a Union general during the Civil War. The city is notable as the location of one of the largest annual motorcycle events in the world: the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which lasts for 10 days beginning on the first Friday of August.

Once you’ve made your way through the scenic byway, turn west at Cheyenne Crossing and make your way toward the rough and rowdy town of Deadwood. Wild West outlaws, old mining camps, museums and exciting casinos, you won’t find another place like it. Explore Main Street and the one-of-a-kind gift shops or watch a real-life reenactment of Deadwood’s famous gunslingers. Get in on the action of blackjack, poker and slot machines, or learn more about the Black Hills Gold Rush, the iconic figures of Deadwood, and the many hardships the town has faced with one of the many museums. There’s so much to do in this little historic town!

Hill City
End the fun-filled day by making your way through Hill City to check out the awesome shops, restaurants. and the 1880 Train. If you’re craving a glass of wine or cold brew, be sure to check out the many breweries and wineries in town —most offer free taste testing!

After a day of adventure in the Black Hills, hit up the many shops in the city of Keystone. From handmade saltwater taffy to one-of-a-kind gift shops, there’s so much to do and see in this little tourist town. If you’re looking for more thrills, check out Rushmore Tramway Adventures for a scenic chairlift ride, alpine slide, zipline tour, jump tower and an exciting climbing course.

Hot Springs
Hot Springs is a small city located at the southern entrance of the Black Hills. Some of the attractions in the Hot Springs area are The Mammoth Site and Evans Plunge, built in 1890, with its naturally warm 87 °F (31 °C) spring water.


Colonial House - Family run restaurant and bar good for dine-in, carry-out and curbside.

Tally's Silver Spoon - Flavorful fresh, breakfast, lunch, and dinner cuisines.

Black Hills Bagels - Recommended for delicious bagels, sandwiches, and coffee.

Sumo Japanese Kitchen - The go-to place for tasty sushi, ramen, and rolls.

Fire House Brewery - Rapid City’s oldest brewery and restaurant serving delicious American food.

Paisano’s Pacchia - A homey, local pizza shop serving fresh and mouthwatering Italian food.

Pacific Rim Cafe - Recommended for authentic Vietamise food and delicious Pho.

Sabatino's Italian - Incredible authentic italian great for sit-down and carry-out.

Thai Thai - Recommended as the best place for Thai food in Rapid City.

Bokujo Ramen - Owned by well-known chef Justin Warner, this is the place to go for delicious Asian cuisine.

Dakota Point Brewery - Great at their craft- great place to grab quality craft beers.

Prairie Berry Winery - Holding over 1,000 awards- experience their handcrafted beers and wines.