11 days in South Dakota Itinerary

11 days in South Dakota Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Dakota vacation planner

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Route & dates

11 days in South Dakota Itinerary

Start: Minneapolis
Fly + Taxi:  4​h 15​min
1
Badlands National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
2
Rapid City
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h
3
Custer
— 3 nights
Taxi + Fly:  4​h 15​min
End: Minneapolis

2
nights
Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park ©
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.
On the 20th (Mon), get engrossed in the history at Oglala Lakota College Historical Center, explore the striking landscape at Panorama Point Overlook, and then hike along Castle Trail. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Roberts Prairie Dog Town, then take in the dramatic natural features at White River Valley Overlook, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Cliff Shelf Nature Trailhead, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Bigfoot Pass Overlook.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Badlands National Park travel route planner .

Minneapolis to Badlands National Park is an approximately 4.5-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Traveling from Minneapolis to Badlands National Park, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Minneapolis in May since evenings lows in Badlands National Park dip to 42°F. You will have some time to spend on the 22nd (Wed) before leaving for Rapid City.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Oglala Lakota College Historical Center
Highlights from your plan
Roberts Prairie Dog Town ©
Roberts Prairie Dog Town
Cliff Shelf Nature Trailhead ©
Cliff Shelf Nature Trailhead

5
nights
Rapid City

Rapid City ©
South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Black Hills Parrot Welfare & Education Center. You'll explore and learn at Museum of Geology and Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Rapid City: Spearfish (High Plains Heritage Center Museum & Termesphere Gallery), Lead (Roughlock Falls State Nature Area, Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, & more) and Deadwood (Tatanka: Story of the Bison & Days of '76 Museum). Next up on the itinerary: see the interesting displays at The Journey Museum & Learning Center, learn about winemaking at Firehouse Wine Cellars, take in the exciting artwork at Suzie Cappa Art Center, and take a stroll through Downtown Rapid City.

For traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Rapid City trip itinerary site .

Getting from Badlands National Park to Rapid City by car takes about an hour. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus. When traveling from Badlands National Park in May, plan for slightly colder days in Rapid City, with highs around 65°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 45°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Custer.

Things to do in Rapid City

Museums Wildlife Parks

Side Trips

Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood, Black Hills Parrot Welfare & Education Center, Vore Buffalo Jump
Highlights from your plan
Museum of Geology ©
Museum of Geology
Roughlock Falls State Nature Area ©
Roughlock Falls State Nature Area

3
nights
Custer

Custer ©
Generally considered to be the oldest town established by European Americans in the Black Hills, Custer began as a mining town.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Jewel Cave National Monument as well as Needles Eye Tunnel. On the 27th (Mon), explore the striking landscape at Needles Eye Tunnel, then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Jewel Cave National Monument, and then steep yourself in history at Peter Norbeck Visitors Center. Keep things going the next day: take in the awesome beauty at Harney Peak, then view the masterpieces at Warrior's Work & Ben West Gallery, and then delve into the lush surroundings at Black Hills National Forest.

To plan Custer vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

Getting from Rapid City to Custer by car takes about an hour. In May, Custer is little chillier than Rapid City - with highs of 59°F and lows of 37°F. On the 30th (Thu), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Custer

Nature Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Hill City, South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park
Highlights from your plan
Wind Cave National Park ©
Wind Cave National Park
Black Hills ©
Black Hills
The Museum @ Black Hills Institute ©

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