10 days in South Dakota Itinerary

10 days in South Dakota Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Dakota holiday planner

©
Make it your trip
Fly to Rapid City Regional Airport, Drive to Wind Cave National Park
1
Wind Cave National Park
— 1 night
Drive
2
Rapid City
— 5 nights
Drive
3
Badlands National Park
— 3 nights
Fly

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Wind Cave National Park

— 1 night
Wind Cave National Park presents one of the United States' few remaining intact prairies.
On the 30th (Thu), cruise along Needles Highway. On your second day here, hike along Rankin Ridge Nature Trail, then explore the fascinating underground world of Wind Cave National Park, then identify plant and animal life at Windcross Conservancy, and finally trek along Elk Mountain Nature Trail.

For more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Wind Cave National Park online road trip planner.

Charlotte to Wind Cave National Park is an approximately 6.5-hour combination of flight and car. You can also drive. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Charlotte to Wind Cave National Park due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Charlotte in April, things will get cooler in Wind Cave National Park: highs are around 50°F and lows about 27°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Fri) early enough to drive to Rapid City.

Things to do in Wind Cave National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Scenic Drive

Side Trips

Rapid City

— 5 nights

Gateway to the Black Hills

South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries and Ellsworth Air Force Base will appeal to museum buffs. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Main Street Square. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Rapid City: Hill City (South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Twisted Pine Winery, &more), Cement Ridge Lookout (in Sundance) and Lead (Black Hills Mining Museum & Roughlock Falls State Nature Area). Next up on the itinerary: learn about winemaking at Firehouse Wine Cellars, tee off at The Golf Club at Red Rock, get your game on at Cosmos Mystery Area, and view the masterpieces at Suzie Cappa Art Center.

For reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Rapid City vacation maker site.

You can drive from Wind Cave National Park to Rapid City in 1.5 hours. Traveling from Wind Cave National Park in May, things will get a bit warmer in Rapid City: highs are around 65°F and lows about 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Wed) to allow time for the car ride to Badlands National Park.

Things to do in Rapid City

Museums · Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trips

Badlands National Park

— 3 nights
Although Badlands National Park's name might not be the most inviting, its landscape of pinnacles, eroded buttes, spires, and an expansive, pristine mixed-grass prairie remain enticing.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Sage Creek Wilderness Area and Armed Forces Display & Gifts. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Castle Trail and Bigfoot Pass Overlook. There's much more to do: stroll through Saddle Pass Trail, explore the striking landscape at Burns Basin Overlook, explore the wealth of natural beauty at White River Valley Overlook, and get great views at Pinnacles Overlook.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, read our Badlands National Park online journey planner.

Drive from Rapid City to Badlands National Park in an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. May in Badlands National Park sees daily highs of 70°F and lows of 42°F at night. On the 9th (Sat), you're off to home.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trip

South Dakota travel guide

4.2
National Parks · Scenic Drive · Monuments
The State of Great Faces and Great Places
Famous for the cliffside monuments of Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial, South Dakota is a land of Old West history, American Indian culture, and impressive natural wonders. Get to know the state's diverse and breathtaking landscape with a trip through Custer National Park, with a herd of 1,300 free-roaming bison, or by traversing the dramatic peaks of Badlands National Park near the Black Hills. Allow time in your itinerary to visit the state's largest city, Sioux Falls, for shopping, dining, and entertainment options, as well as a number of museums and historical attractions.