A Presidential Getaway
It’s easy to feel patriotic while visiting Rapid City and the Black Hills. With stops like these you can learn about our nation’s leaders, their unique connections with our area and the historical places found here.
*Denotes a seasonal attraction.
City of Presidents
Greet America’s past presidents as you stroll around Downtown Rapid City. Standing proud (or sitting) on the sidewalks downtown are the bronze life-sized statues that make up the City of Presidents. Take the self-guided tour, pose with them, snap some photos and enjoy getting to know the faces of the past. Download the digital walking guide to reference the location of each president and tackle the scavenger hunt on the back!
The National Presidential Wax Museum*
Recapture the spirit of America's heritage in wax with a visit to The National Presidential Wax Museum! Meet face-to-face our most beloved heroes and share in their historic glories. See life-like, life-size wax figures of all US Presidents in authentic period costumes and accurately detailed surroundings. Experience President Roosevelt at Yalta, Dolly Madison at a White House reception or President Richard Nixon aboard the USS Hornet as he welcomes the returning astronaut’s home from their moon flight.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Make your way to Our Shrine of Democracy - Mount Rushmore, which communicates the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of our founding fathers. It is a symbol of America, of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds. Visit the Lincoln Borglum Museum to learn more about this amazing sculpture. Walk the Presidential Trail to not only experience the beauty of the Black Hills up close but also the closest view of the carving that the memorial offers. Finally, visit the Sculptor's Studio*, where Gutzon Borglum spent much of his time refining his scale model of Mount Rushmore. Guests who want to learn even more or who may be visually impaired can take advantage of the audio wands available. The Mount Rushmore Audio Tour is a recorded guide incorporating narration, music, interviews, sound effects and historic recordings.
Consider returning to Mount Rushmore for the Evening Lighting Ceremony* running nightly late May through September. Join a park ranger in the Memorial’s outdoor amphitheater for an inspirational program focusing on the Presidents, our nation’s history, and honoring veterans and their families.
Custer State Park
Explore one of America’s largest state parks - Custer State Park. Packed with wildlife encounters, including a herd of American Bison, mountain lakes and stunning hiking trails this 71,000 acre park has a lot in store for its visitors. Explore on your own or take a guided tour with Black Hills Adventure Tours. After a day of exploring, refuel and experience a presidential dinner in the dining room 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. The Game Lodge was built in 1920 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Following dinner, relax with a stroll along Grace Coolidge Creek named after the first lady.
Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower
Located 13 minutes outside of Deadwood, South Dakota, visitors can explore and enjoy Black Hills views at the Mount Roosevelt Picnic Area and Friendship tower. Built in 1919 by famous Deadwood Sheriff, Seth Bullock, the tower was a dedication to President Theodore Roosevelt, who was his close friend for many years. Bullock wanted to create a memorial of his friend’s life and give others a place to enjoy the wide open spaces of the Black Hills that he and Roosevelt were so found of. In 1966, the tower was donated to the United States Forest Service and in 2005 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt and was the first ever to protect a cave. The National Park Service wouldn’t be established for another 13 years. Today Wind Cave is the 6th longest cave in the world and features cave formations rarely seen anywhere else. Above ground visitors can enjoy roaming wildlife like bison and elk as they explore the rolling hills and protected mixed-grass prairie habitat.