Top Five Destinations of Rapid City, South Dakota
I lived in western Nebraska when I was five years old. During that time, my family took a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota and Rapid City. I don’t remember much of that time, but I do remember sitting in the front seat of a car without a seat belt.
Times have changed, but whenever I think of those family road trips, I remember certain things that I still look forward to on my own road trips to this day. Ham sandwiches for snacks on the long stretches of open road. Family restaurants located in the middle of the town square or at a highway crossroads. Breakfast only after I put in a few miles toward my destination. As soon as I saw the menu at the Colonial House in Rapid City, I knew that my father had to have stopped there for a caramel roll before we went to Mt. Rushmore or some other sight.
Now that I consider going back, part of those ways to travel have stuck in me, but I have augmented them with my own peculiarities and make my trips my own. Here’s how I would tackle Rapid City now.
There’s something about tourist areas and miniature golf. I don’t think you can drive a mile in the Wisconsin Dells, the Lake of the Ozarks or the whole state of Florida without finding mini golf combined with go-carts, batting cages or some form of arcade. Rapid City is no different, with Pirate’s Cove and a black light mini golf course. As an excellent putter, I always like to find a chance to test myself against alligators, rocket ships and waterfalls that you don’t find on normal golf courses.
I tend to get a bit claustrophobic when it comes to caves, but I like to push myself to see if I can handle it. From reading about the Scenic Tour of Jewel Cave, I doubt I would have to crawl. However, when I see the occasional banner picture of a tight place in the cave, I kind of wonder what tour that would be.
It may be more for kids (and for actual paleontology, a better place to visit would be The Journey Museum) but who doesn’t like to climb to the top of things? Cats climb trees and Vice-Presidents climb mountains, so why not strike your own cool path and climb on an Apatosaurus?
After crawling and climbing, beer and sustenance should be on your radar. Fortunately, the Firehouse Brewing Company has both in ample supply. I can already picture a Barely Blond ready to wash down the Cracked, Black & Jack steak.
You can’t really get that close to Mt. Rushmore and the view from the parking lot isn’t that much worse than from the observation area. However, you can hike right up to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Now, if only you could reenact the scene from “North by Northwest” there.
Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.
About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."