How to Have a Presidential Getaway in the Rapid City Area
Rapid City is full of the unexpected including ties to America's leaders. Discover their unique connections to this region by exploring these presidential places.
*Denotes a seasonal attraction.
Life-Sized Replicas: The City of Presidents
As you stroll the streets of Downtown Rapid City, you’ll be greeted by the bronze life-sized statues of America's leaders lining the sidewalks. Take the self-guided walking tour, and disocver how each scuplture captures the essence of these presidential icons. Download the digital walking guide for an effortless exploration, and don't miss the exciting scavenger hunt on the back – a fun challenge for all ages!
Wax and Wonders: The National Presidential Wax Museum*
Step into the spirit of America's heritage at The National Presidential Wax Museum. Marvel at life-like, life-size wax figures of all U.S. Presidents, each clad in authentic period costumes. Experience historical moments with President Roosevelt at Yalta or Nixon welcoming astronauts home. It's a journey through time, bringing our beloved heroes to life in vivid detail.
Shrine of Democracy: Mount Rushmore National Memorial
The Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore, stands as a symbol of America's founding, expansion, preservation, and unification. Wander the Presidential Trail for an up-close encounter with the Black Hills' beauty and the memorial's grandeur. This trail does feature 422 stairs, so save the Thomas Jefferson ice cream from Carvers Café for after. A stop in the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, found below the Grand View Terrace, shares the deeper story of the sculpture's history. Don't miss the number one attended national parks program - the Evening Lighting Ceremony*. This program takes place every night in the summer season honoring the presidents, the memorials history, and veterans in attendance.
The White House of the Black Hills: Custer State Park
Uncover the vast wonders of Custer State Park, an expansive playground of wildlife, mountain lakes, sky-piercing spires, and captivating trails. Indulge in a presidential dinner at the State Game Lodge & Resort, which served as the "Summer White House" for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. Wander along Grace Coolidge Creek, named after the first lady, for a serene post-dinner stroll.
Historic Friends: Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower
Journey to the Mount Roosevelt Picnic Area, just outside Deadwood, to explore the Friendship Tower. Built in 1919 by the legendary Sheriff Seth Bullock in honor of his close friend, President Theodore Roosevelt, this tower offers a breathtaking view of the Black Hills. A testament to their camaraderie, the tower stands tall, inviting visitors to revel in the open spaces both men cherished.
Presidential Protection: Wind Cave National Park
Presidential history echoes at Wind Cave National Park, established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, 13 years before the National Park Service was established. Venture into the seventh longest cave in the world, witnessing formations rarely seen elsewhere. Above ground, encounter roaming bison and elk amidst the rolling hills and protected mixed-grass prairie habitat.
So many unexpected stories unfold in the Rapid City region. Learn more about the area and what to see here by signing up for our monthly Travel Tips newsletter.