31 days in South Dakota, Nebraska & Iowa Itinerary

31 days in South Dakota, Nebraska & Iowa Itinerary

Created using Inspirock United States route planner

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Route & dates

31 days in South Dakota, Nebraska & Iowa Itinerary

Start: New York City
bus + Fly:  7​h
1
Rapid City
— 3 nights
Drive:  30​min
2
Keystone
— 3 nights
Drive:  30​min
3
Hill City
— 1 night
Drive:  30​min
4
Custer
— 5 nights
Drive:  45​min
5
Hot Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
6
Badlands National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
7
Sioux Falls
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
8
Lincoln
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h
9
Omaha
— 4 nights
Drive:  15​min
10
Council Bluffs
— 2 nights
Fly:  6​h 15​min
End: New York City

3
nights
Rapid City

Rapid City ©
South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
Family-friendly places like Bear Country USA and Reptile Gardens will thrill your kids. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Rapid City: Spearfish (Bridal Veil Falls & Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway). There's lots more to do: get in on the family fun at Storybook Island, have some family-friendly fun at Cosmos Mystery Area, don't miss a visit to Dinosaur Park, and take a stroll through Downtown Rapid City.

To see where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Rapid City day trip planner.

New York City to Rapid City is an approximately 7-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of train and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from New York City to Rapid City is minus 2 hours. Expect slightly colder evenings in Rapid City when traveling from New York City in August, with lows around 60°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Keystone.

Things to do in Rapid City

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Spearfish
Highlights from your plan
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway ©
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
Bear Country USA ©
Bear Country USA
Reptile Gardens ©
Reptile Gardens

3
nights
Keystone

Keystone ©
Fewer than 400 people call Keystone home year-round, but the population explodes in summer when crowds flock to nearby Mount Rushmore.
Kids will enjoy Rushmore Tramway Adventures and Big Thunder Gold Mine. There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, look for gifts at Goodtyme Photo, see the interesting displays at National Presidential Wax Museum, and take some stellar pictures from Breezy Point Picnic Area.

To see where to stay, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Keystone online trip itinerary maker .

Keystone is just a stone's throw from Rapid City. In August, Keystone is little chillier than Rapid City - with highs of 77°F and lows of 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Hill City.

Things to do in Keystone

Theme Parks Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Mount Rushmore National Memorial ©
Rushmore Tramway Adventures ©
Rushmore Tramway Adventures
Presidential Trail ©
Presidential Trail

1
night
Hill City

Hill City ©
Hill City is the oldest existing city in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. Start off your visit on the 8th (Sat): don't miss a visit to Brule, then take a peaceful walk through Black Hills, then learn about winemaking at Prairie Berry Winery, and finally get a new perspective on nature at The Museum @ Black Hills Institute.

For traveler tips, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Hill City online sightseeing planner .

Hill City is very close to Keystone. In August, plan for daily highs up to 77°F, and evening lows to 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Custer.

Things to do in Hill City

Nature Museums Parks

Side Trip

Black Hills
Highlights from your plan
Black Hills ©
Black Hills
The Museum @ Black Hills Institute ©
Prairie Berry Winery ©
Prairie Berry Winery

5
nights
Custer

Custer ©
Generally considered to be the oldest town established by European Americans in the Black Hills, Custer began as a mining town.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Jewel Cave National Monument and Horseback Riding Tours. The adventure continues: explore the activities along Sylvan Lake, take a memorable drive along Iron Mountain Road, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Black Hills National Forest, and explore the striking landscape at Needles Eye Tunnel.

To see more things to do, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Custer online journey planner .

Custer is just a stone's throw from Hill City. Expect a daytime high around 77°F in August, and nighttime lows around 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Hot Springs.

Things to do in Custer

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

South Dakota, Crazy Horse Memorial, Bicycle Sculpture
Highlights from your plan
Sylvan Lake ©
Sylvan Lake
Needles Eye Tunnel ©
Needles Eye Tunnel
Iron Mountain Road ©
Iron Mountain Road

2
nights
Hot Springs

Hot Springs ©
Hot Springs is a city in Fall River County, South Dakota, United States. Start off your visit on the 14th (Fri): get curious at Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, hike along Elk Mountain Nature Trail, explore the fascinating underground world of Wind Cave National Park, then trek along Rankin Ridge Nature Trail, and finally identify plant and animal life at Windcross Conservancy. Keep things going the next day: take in the natural beauty of Evans Plunge Mineral Springs, get a taste of life in the country at The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Angostura Recreation Area.

To see other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Hot Springs planning tool .

Traveling by car from Custer to Hot Springs takes an hour. In August in Hot Springs, expect temperatures between 77°F during the day and 51°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Badlands National Park.

Things to do in Hot Springs

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Wind Cave National Park, Windcross Conservancy
Highlights from your plan
Wind Cave National Park ©
Wind Cave National Park
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs ©
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs
Windcross Conservancy ©
Windcross Conservancy

3
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.
Badlands National Park is known for scenic drive, nature, trails, wildlife, and historic sites. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: admire all the interesting features of Loop Road, hike along Door Trail, browse the exhibits of Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, and explore the striking landscape at Panorama Point Overlook.

To find photos, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, read Badlands National Park trip itinerary maker app .

Getting from Hot Springs to Badlands National Park by car takes about 2 hours. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Hot Springs in August; daily highs in Badlands National Park reach 87°F and lows reach 58°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Tue) early enough to drive to Sioux Falls.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Wall, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Badlands National Park
Highlights from your plan
Loop Road ©
Loop Road
Badlands National Park ©
Badlands National Park
Badlands Wall ©
Badlands Wall

4
nights
Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls ©
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. Kids will enjoy Ingalls Homestead - Laura's Living Prairie and Bramble Park Zoo. Explore Sioux Falls' surroundings by going to Corn Palace (in Mitchell), Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial (in De Smet) and Watertown (Redlin Art Center & Mellette House). Next up on the itinerary: stroll around Falls Park, hike along SculptureWalk & The Arc of Dreams Sioux Falls, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Butterfly House & Aquarium, and have fun and explore at Stockyards Ag Experience.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Sioux Falls trip itinerary planner .

Drive from Badlands National Park to Sioux Falls in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and flight; or take a bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Badlands National Park to Sioux Falls. Expect little chillier weather when traveling from Badlands National Park in August: highs in Sioux Falls hover around 80°F, while lows dip to 60°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) so you can go by car to Lincoln.

Things to do in Sioux Falls

Parks Historic Sites Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Watertown, De Smet, Corn Palace
Highlights from your plan
Escapades Escape Rooms ©
Escapades Escape Rooms

3
nights
Lincoln

Lincoln ©
Lincoln is the capital of the U.S. Family-friendly places like Lincoln Children's Museum and Lincoln Children's Zoo will thrill your kids. Explore Lincoln's surroundings by going to Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari (in Ashland) and Rock Creek Station State Historical Park (in Fairbury). Next up on the itinerary: examine the collection at Museum of American Speed, have some family-friendly fun at Craft Axe Throwing- Lincoln, pause for some photo ops at Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial, and look for gifts at Licorice International.

To find photos, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Lincoln road trip website .

Traveling by car from Sioux Falls to Lincoln takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 85°F in August, and nighttime lows around 64°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) early enough to drive to Omaha.

Things to do in Lincoln

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Museums

Side Trips

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park, Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari
Highlights from your plan
Lincoln Children's Museum ©
Lincoln Children's Museum
Lincoln Children's Zoo ©
Lincoln Children's Zoo

4
nights
Omaha

Omaha ©
A major transportation hub, Omaha was once considered little more than a stopping point on a pioneer's journey west.
Attractions like Henry Doorly Zoo and Omaha Children's Museum make great kid-friendly stops. There's lots more to do: shop like a local with Old Market, enjoy some diversion at TD Ameritrade Park, learn more about the world around you at Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery, and admire the natural beauty at Lauritzen Gardens Omaha's Botanical Center.

For reviews, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, read our Omaha tour itinerary builder site .

Drive from Lincoln to Omaha in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 85°F in August, and nighttime lows around 65°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Council Bluffs.

Things to do in Omaha

Museums Fun & Games Parks

Side Trips

Papillion, Take Aim Indoor Shooting Sports & Training Facility
Highlights from your plan
Henry Doorly Zoo ©
Henry Doorly Zoo
Omaha Children's Museum ©
Omaha Children's Museum
Room Escape Games

2
nights
Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs ©
Council Bluffs is a city in and the county seat of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States. On the 30th (Sun), explore the landscape on two wheels at Wabash Trace Nature Trail, then try to win big at Horseshoe Council Bluffs, and then walk around Hitchcock Nature Center. Here are some ideas for day two: pause for some serene contemplation at Kanesville Tabernacle, pause for some photo ops at Golden Spike Monument, and then identify plant and animal life at Desoto National Wildlife Refuge.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Council Bluffs trip tool .

Council Bluffs is just a stone's throw from Omaha. In August, plan for daily highs up to 85°F, and evening lows to 65°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Council Bluffs

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Wabash Trace Nature Trail, Desoto National Wildlife Refuge, Hitchcock Nature Center
Highlights from your plan
Desoto National Wildlife Refuge ©
Desoto National Wildlife Refuge
Hitchcock Nature Center ©
Hitchcock Nature Center
Horseshoe Council Bluffs ©
Horseshoe Council Bluffs

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