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Fast trip to SD for 60th Birthday

Orlando, Florida
2 posts
1 review
Fast trip to SD for 60th Birthday

My 58 yo husband and I are fulfilling one of my goals of hitting all 50 states. For my 60th on January 20, 2018, we are flying into Sioux Falls, SD, from Orlando, FL, to drive to Mount Rushmore.We arrive around 930 AM on Friday, will rent a car and head West. What should we see along the way since we have a 5.5 hour drive we would like to break up? Should we drive the Badlands Loop? How long does that take? Hubby is a veterinarian and I am a PT.We cannot hike, but a mile or so since I am a cancer-survivor and he had a hip replacement 3 years ago, but we love nature/animals! On my birthday we plan to see Mount Rushmore. Is there a dinner show you would recommend for Saturday night to celebrate? What should we do on Sunday before heading back to Sioux Falls that night?

4 replies to this topic
Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
532 posts
59 reviews
1. Re: Fast trip to SD for 60th Birthday

I guess my first question would be, are there any southern states you have not visited yet? January is still very much winter and you could find yourself in a blizzard, sub zero temps, and double digit below zero wind chills. Assuming the weather is ok I would definetely drive the Badlands Loop, figure on at least two hours with stops to view and take pictures.

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington
Level Contributor
14,957 posts
121 reviews
2. Re: Fast trip to SD for 60th Birthday

Good information from Dave regarding the weather in the Black Hills in January. I agree that if weather permits, you should drive the Badlands Loop. If the hiking trails are passable, there are several easy ones in the Badlands. The Door, Window and Fossil Exhibit Trails are all short (0.25 - 0.75 miles RT) and easy.

Another place to visit would be the Minuteman Missile Site near the Badlands. The Launch Facility is closed for renovations, but the museum is open as is the Delta-09 silo. For more info, see: www/nps.gov/mimi

As wildlife lovers, one thing you will want to do is drive the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. I imagine the bison will be out, but the prairie dogs will probably be hunkered down in their holes.

I assume you are staying in Rapid City since most of the hotels, restaurants, etc. in the towns in the Black Hills (Custer, Hill City, Keystone) are shuttered in winter. While there are plenty of chuckwagon dinners, etc. in the Black Hills in summer, none of those take place in winter. And I don't think you'll find any dinner shows in Rapid City either.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6,376 posts
61 reviews
3. Re: Fast trip to SD for 60th Birthday

The weather could be a bit problematic; just keep an eye on it. I would allocate 2-3 hours for the Badlands. There are many overlooks that require little to no hiking, and there are some boardwalks that easily navigated as well.

I agree with all the recommendations above. You asked about what to do on Sunday. Maybe you might consider stopping at Crazy Horse? If you enjoy gambling, there is Deadwood. There are some historical aspects here as well. I think Devil's Tower and Spearfish Canyon might be a bit far, since you will have the drive back to Sioux Falls. I would recommend a cave, but I am thinking that could be too many steps for you.

I hope you enjoy your birthday, and perhaps you can return for another visit when more will be open and weather will be more favorable.

Tinley Park...
Level Contributor
343 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: Fast trip to SD for 60th Birthday

Make it June. I'm flying into Rapid City from Chicago 06/07-06/14. Staying at the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Right in the middle of everything/all types of fast foods and every major highway runs through there. Don't cut yourself short on time....you'll regret it!

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