8 days in South Dakota Itinerary

8 days in South Dakota Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Dakota trip itinerary builder

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Route & dates

8 days in South Dakota Itinerary

Start: New York City
bus + Fly:  7​h
1
Rapid City
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Hot Springs
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
Badlands National Park
— 2 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + bus:  7​h 45​min
End: New York City

4
nights
Rapid City

Rapid City ©
South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
Kids will enjoy Reptile Gardens and Rushmore Tramway Adventures. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Rapid City: Custer (Iron Mountain Road, Wildlife Loop Road, & more) and Mount Rushmore National Memorial (in Keystone). There's lots more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Bear Country USA, do a tasting at Firehouse Wine Cellars, take in the exciting artwork at Suzie Cappa Art Center, and wander the streets of Downtown Rapid City.

To see maps, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Rapid City day trip planning tool .

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 changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Mountain Standard Time (MST), which is usually a -2 hour difference. Traveling from New York City in August, expect little chillier with lows of 60°F in Rapid City. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Wed) early enough to drive to Hot Springs.

Things to do in Rapid City

Parks Theme Parks Nature

Side Trips

Custer, Keystone
Highlights from your plan
Bear Country USA ©
Bear Country USA
Reptile Gardens ©
Reptile Gardens
Rushmore Tramway Adventures ©
Rushmore Tramway Adventures

1
night
Hot Springs

Hot Springs ©
Hot Springs is a city in Fall River County, South Dakota, United States. Kick off your visit on the 15th (Thu): let the kids burn off some steam at Evans Plunge Mineral Springs, take in the dramatic scenery at Cascade Falls and Swimming Hole, and then get a new perspective on nature at Mammoth Site of Hot Springs.

To see reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Hot Springs journey site .

Drive from Rapid City to Hot Springs in 1.5 hours. Plan for a bit cooler temperatures traveling from Rapid City in August, with highs in Hot Springs at 77°F and lows at 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Badlands National Park.

Things to do in Hot Springs

Parks Nature Fun & Games
Highlights from your plan
Evans Plunge Mineral Springs ©
Evans Plunge Mineral Springs
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs ©
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs

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.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Fri): explore the striking landscape at Yellow Mounds Overlook, explore the striking landscape at White River Valley Overlook, then explore the striking landscape at Big Badlands Overlook, then take in the dramatic natural features at Badlands Wall, and finally cruise along Loop Road.

To see photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Badlands National Park vacation builder tool .

Traveling by car from Hot Springs to Badlands National Park takes 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 by early afternoon on the 17th (Sat) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks Nature Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Badlands Wall ©
Badlands Wall
Loop Road ©
Loop Road
Big Badlands Overlook ©
Big Badlands Overlook

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