21 days in South Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park & Williston Itinerary

21 days in South Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park & Williston Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in South Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park & Williston Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly:  8​h
1
Sioux Falls
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
2
Brookings
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
3
Badlands National Park
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Custer
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
5
Spearfish
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
6
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
7
Williston
— 2 nights
Drive:  26​h 30​min
End: Washington DC

2
nights
Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls ©
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. Step out of the city life by going to SculptureWalk Sioux Falls and Arrowhead Park. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at St. Joseph Cathedral and The Blood Run Nature Area. Get out of town with these interesting Sioux Falls side-trips: Lake Vermillion Recreation Area (in Canistota), Spirit Mound (in Vermillion) and Meridian Highway Bridge (in Yankton). And it doesn't end there: take in the dramatic scenery at Devil's Gulch, make a trip to Michelangelo's David replica, and look for all kinds of wild species at Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum.

For traveler tips, maps, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Sioux Falls tour itinerary planner .

Washington DC to Sioux Falls is an approximately 8-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and car; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Washington DC to Sioux Falls. Traveling from Washington DC in September, things will get slightly colder in Sioux Falls: highs are around 76°F and lows about 55°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Wed) so you can go by car to Brookings.

Things to do in Sioux Falls

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Spirit Mound, Lake Vermillion Recreation Area, Meridian Highway Bridge, Devil's Gulch
Highlights from your plan
St. Joseph Cathedral ©
St. Joseph Cathedral
Devil's Gulch ©
Devil's Gulch

3
nights
Brookings

Brookings ©
Brookings is a city in Brookings County, South Dakota, United States. Get outdoors at Hole in the Mountain Preserve and Circle Trail. Step off the beaten path and head to Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial and De Smet Cemetery. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Brookings: Pipestone (Pipestone National Monument & Pipestone Historic District) and Ingalls Homestead - Laura's Living Prairie (in De Smet). There's more to do: stop by SDSU Dairy Sales Bar.

For other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Brookings trip itinerary tool .

Drive from Sioux Falls to Brookings in an hour. When traveling from Sioux Falls in September, plan for a bit cooler days in Brookings, with highs around 69°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 54°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Badlands National Park.

Things to do in Brookings

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Pipestone, De Smet, Hole in the Mountain Preserve
Highlights from your plan
Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial ©
Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial
Pipestone National Monument ©
Pipestone National Monument

4
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Saddle Pass Trail and Castle Trail. Take a break from the city and head to Yellow Mounds Overlook and Big Badlands Overlook. Spend the 15th (Sun) exploring nature at Badlands National Park. Next up on the itinerary: cruise along Loop Road, take in the dramatic natural features at Bigfoot Pass Overlook, explore the striking landscape of Conata Basin Overlook, and trek along Cliff Shelf Nature Trailhead.

To see traveler tips, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Badlands National Park trip itinerary planning website .

Drive from Brookings to Badlands National Park in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight. Traveling from Brookings to Badlands National Park, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. While traveling from Brookings, expect a bit warmer days and a bit cooler nights in Badlands National Park, ranging from highs of 81°F to lows of 49°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Custer.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Badlands National Park
Highlights from your plan
Yellow Mounds Overlook ©
Yellow Mounds Overlook
Big Badlands Overlook ©
Big Badlands Overlook
Badlands National Park ©
Badlands National Park

4
nights
Custer

Custer ©
Generally considered to be the oldest town established by European Americans in the Black Hills, Custer began as a mining town.
Visiting Angostura Recreation Area and Little Devil's Tower Trail will get you outdoors. Discover out-of-the-way places like Sunday Gulch Trail and Harney Peak. Change things up with these side-trips from Custer: Fort Robinson State Park (in Crawford) and Windcross Conservancy (in Buffalo Gap). There's still lots to do: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Black Hills, stroll through Cathedral Spires Hiking Trail, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and take in the dramatic natural features at Needles Eye Tunnel.

To see traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Custer trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Badlands National Park to Custer takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. While traveling from Badlands National Park, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Custer, ranging from highs of 71°F to lows of 45°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) so you can drive to Spearfish.

Things to do in Custer

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trips

South Dakota, Fort Robinson State Park, Windcross Conservancy, Angostura Recreation Area, Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Highlights from your plan
Black Elk Peak ©
Black Elk Peak
Black Hills ©
Black Hills
Fort Robinson State Park ©
Fort Robinson State Park

2
nights
Spearfish

Spearfish ©
Spearfish is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. Start off your visit on the 23rd (Mon): look for all kinds of wild species at Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, then take a memorable drive along Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, and then get engrossed in the history at D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Tue): admire the sheer force of Bridal Veil Falls, admire the sheer force of Spearfish Falls, and then immerse yourself in nature at Roughlock Falls Nature Area.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Spearfish fast, fun, and easy.

Drive from Custer to Spearfish in 1.5 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Custer to Spearfish. In September, daytime highs in Spearfish are 73°F, while nighttime lows are 49°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to travel to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Things to do in Spearfish

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Savoy
Highlights from your plan
Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Bridal Veil Falls ©
Bridal Veil Falls
Spearfish Falls ©
Spearfish Falls

2
nights
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park ©
Theodore Roosevelt National Park displays Great Plains wildlife such as bison, wild horses, elk, big horn sheep, and prairie dogs in a mixed landscape of expansive prairie and craggy badlands.
On the 25th (Wed), hike along Caprock-Coulee Trail and then trek along Buckhorn Trail. On the next day, get to know the fascinating history of Painted Canyon Overlook, hike along Oxbow Overlook, and then admire all the interesting features of South Unit.

To find other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read Theodore Roosevelt National Park road trip app .

Traveling by car from Spearfish to Theodore Roosevelt National Park takes 4 hours. Traveling from Spearfish to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Plan for a bit cooler nights when traveling from Spearfish in September since evenings lows in Theodore Roosevelt National Park dip to 44°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) so you can travel to Williston.

Things to do in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Painted Canyon Overlook ©
Painted Canyon Overlook
South Unit ©
South Unit
Oxbow Overlook ©
Oxbow Overlook

2
nights
Williston

Williston ©
Williston is a city in and the county seat of Williams County, North Dakota, United States. Start off your visit on the 27th (Fri): contemplate the long history of Fort Buford State Historic Site, then contemplate the long history of Fort Union Trading Post, and then tee off at Links of North Dakota.

For maps, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Williston trip maker tool .

You can drive from Theodore Roosevelt National Park to Williston in 2.5 hours. Traveling from Theodore Roosevelt National Park to Williston, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Expect a daytime high around 73°F in September, and nighttime lows around 46°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Williston

Golf Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trip

Cannonball Concretions Pullout
Highlights from your plan
Fort Union Trading Post ©
Fort Union Trading Post
Cannonball Concretions Pullout ©
Cannonball Concretions Pullout
Fort Buford State Historic Site ©
Fort Buford State Historic Site

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