A Four Day Award Winning Family Vacation in Rapid City


If you’re seeking an iconic destination to make lasting memories with your family, visit Rapid City. It’s here you’ll find affordable family fun, thrilling attractions filled with educational moments, and views that your family will be talking about for years to come. But don’t just take our word for it. Rapid City was selected as one of the 2024 Family Travel Award Winners by Good Housekeeping

Here’s the four day itinerary we shared with them:

family playing ski ball at press start in downtown rapid city, sd

Day One:


Breakfast at Tally's Silver Spoon

Tally's Silver Spoon is one of Rapid City's landmark diners and the perfect way to kick off your first day in Rapid City. Try the Crepes, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, or Vegetable Breakfast, just to name a few local favorites on the menu.  

Visit the Museum of Geology

Found on the campus of the School of Mines and Technology, this free museum is overflowing with history. Stand before the skeletons of dinosaurs, mammoths, marine reptiles or browse the most impressive collection of minerals in Rapid City. The Museum of Geology also offers a Kids' Zone for younger visitors seeking hands-on fun. 

Lunch at Firehouse Brewing Company

Dine inside Rapid City's original firehouse turned restaurant and brewery! A theme that they fully embrace, Firehouse Brewing Company is decorated with firefighting memorabilia like hoses, ladders, and uniforms. Kids can even dine in plastic fireman hats. 

Visit The Journey Museum

Travel through time at the Journey Museum. Covering over 2.5 billion years of Black Hills history, it's the most comprehensive display you'll find in the area. The exhibits in the museum cover astronomy, geology, paleontology, archeology, the Sioux Indian Museum, and pioneer history. Mixed throughout the museum are hands-on activities kids love like an archeology dig site, touch and feel fossil displays and more. 

Visit Reptile Gardens

Meet the world's deadliest snakes and friendliest tortoises with a visit to Reptile Gardens. Your visit will consist of peaceful strolls through the many botanical gardens and hair-raising entertainment at the snake and gator shows. 

Dinner at Press Start

Located in Downtown Rapid City, Press Start is a restaurant, bar, and arcade making up two stories of non-stop family fun. Come for the pizza, stay for a friendly game of guitar hero or ski ball. 

bear sitting on log at bear country usa with car driving through park in background

Day Two:


Breakfast at Black Hills Bagels

Black Hills Bagels, legendary for its handcrafted, tasty bagels, is a true Rapid City icon. Start your day with a bite of the best bagel in the Black Hills. 

Visit Bear Country USA

Bear Country USA is a wildlife park near Rapid City, inviting visitors for an authentic drive-through experience. Here, you'll witness wildlife, from black bears to bison, within the comfort of your car, there is also a walking portion where you can see smaller creatures and the baby animals. 

Visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Listen to Ranger Talks, tour fascinating visitor centers, walk down the memorable avenue of flags, and climb along the exciting Presidential Trail. There’s a lot to explore at Mount Rushmore, but the favorite part for most kids is the Thomas Jefferson ice cream – created from his original recipe. 

Lunch at Prairie Berry Winery

Located in Hill City, Prairie Berry Winery is known for their passion to infuse local ingredients into their wine. Tasty beverages aren't all that's in store on this stop, their kitchen also creates some truly delectable lunch options. 

Visit Crazy Horse Memorial®

Discover the largest mountain carving in progress, Crazy Horse Memorial®. Created solely from private donations, the Crazy Horse campus houses the memorial, the Indian Museum of North America®, The Native American Educational and Cultural Center®, and so much more. 

Drive Needles Highway in Custer State Park

Coast the curves, tunnels, and surround yourself with spires that pierce the sky. Needles Highway is a 14-mile stretch of road that you and your family will never forget driving. Needles Highway is just one portion of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

Dinner at Thirsty's Burger & Beer

Retreat to the patio of Thirsty’s for a relaxing dinner of delicious burgers. They also offer sandwiches, wraps, salads and more. 

Dessert at Armadillo's Ice Cream Shoppe

If you skipped the ice cream at Mount Rushmore, or want to double up on dessert because it's vacation, head to Armadillos. Known for their "Flavor of the Day" soft serve, they also create Sundays, Milkshakes, and Malts. Don't be shocked to discover a long line - it's a local favorite. 


mother and child dining at colonial house for breakfast in rapid city, sd

Day Three:


Breakfast at the Colonial House

Comfortable and family-friendly, the Colonial House perfectly captures the spirit of home-style cooking and hospitality. They have a large and delicious breakfast menu, but the insider tip is to always order at least one caramel roll for the table. 

Visit Dinosaur Park

The newly renovated Dinosaur Park will partially reopen to the public in May of 2024. Now featuring accessible paths and other visitor enhancements. The park was built in 1936 and has created vacation memories for families spanning back multiple generations. 

Take a Tour on the Trolley

Take the best tour available in Rapid City - the City View Trolley. This 90-minute narrated tour takes passengers around town and highlights the history of the area along with some of our top attractions. The tour includes a 30-minute stop at Chapel in the Hills, a peaceful Norwegian Stave Church, where passengers can tour the chapel, walk the grounds, and visit the gift shop. 

Lunch at Jambonz Deux

This affordable hidden gem brings the taste of Louisiana to Rapid City. Find them tucked away on the west side of town. 

Visit Watiki® Waterpark

Take hotel pool time to a whole new level with a visit to Watiki® Waterpark. With over 30,000 square feet of swimming pools and water slides, it offers hours of indoor entertainment for the whole family. 

Eat a Chuckwagon Supper at Fort Hays

Catch dinner with a show at Fort Hays. Their Chuckwagon Supper and Music Variety Show by the Rockin Wranglers will have the whole family laughing through your meal. Get to Fort Hays before the doors open to the show so you can also tour the Old West Town Square and catch a ride on the Buffalo Hunt Coaster. 

Paddle Boat dock at Canyon Lake Park in Rapid City, SD

Day Four:


Breakfast at Jerry’s Cakes & Donuts

If you love donuts, and lets be honest who doesn’t, then your last day in Rapid City should be treating your family to the delicious creations of Jerry’s Cakes and Donuts

Tour the City of Presidents

Lining the streets of Downtown Rapid City, it’s hard to miss the life-sized statues of past American Presidents. Called the City of Presidents, this free walking tour, now with a free audio tour, will teach your family some fascinating facts about our country’s leaders.

Lunch at Que Pasa

This two-story Mexican Cantina located in Downtown Rapid City has a large menu of mouthwatering Classic Mexican options. It’s the perfect spot to fill up for an afternoon of more adventuring. 

Visit Storybook Island 

Storybook Island is paradise for young kids. This eight and half acre park is free and filled with different playsets themed from their favorite stories. Climb Winnie the Pooh’s tree house, visit the homes of the Three Little Pigs and so much more. 

Visit Canyon Lake Park

One of the oldest city parks in Rapid City is a peaceful way to relaxing on a summer afternoon in Rapid City. Paddle Boats are available for rent for those families that want to tootle around on the water. 

Dinner at Piesano's Pacchia

Pizza, pasta, and subs all served in cozy atmosphere, that’s what you’ll find at Piesano’s. Their large portion sizes and friendly service are what make this spot a favorite for many. 

Keep an eye on our Events Calendar as you plan your vacation. From the free Summer Nights Concert Series to Family Food Truck Nights and Moonlit Movies at Main Street Square, our area is continuously offering family-friendly events you’ll want to attend during your vacation. You can also stay informed on more things to do and events happening in the area with our monthly Travel Tips Newsletter.