Top 10 Area Attractions
One of the greatest things about Rapid City is its close proximity to some extraordinary attractions, big or small. To help you plan, we’ve gathered the top must-see places based off of ratings and reviews on Tripadvisor. From bear cubs to buffalo safaris, you’re in for the ride of your life at these top ten area attractions.
1 - Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Each year, over two million visitors from across the world come to view the granite faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills National Forest, visitors can walk through nature on the Presidential Trail leading to the base of the memorial, tour the museum and listen to ranger talks about the carving process and cool off on the Grand View Terrace with some refreshing Thomas Jefferson ice cream.
2 - Custer State Park
The first state park in South Dakota, and one of the largest state parks in the nation, Custer State Park is known for its wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and abundance of outdoor activities. Take it all in with a scenic drive on Needles Highway, Wildlife Loop or a unique experience of becoming one with the buffalo herd during a Buffalo Jeep Safari ride.
3 - Crazy Horse Memorial®
The world’s largest mountain carving in progress is a site to behold, and the campus at Crazy Horse offers a cultural experience you won’t find anywhere else. Witness Native American performers, speak with Native American Artisans, tour the museums showcasing the diverse histories and cultures of over 300 Native Nations and so much more.
4 - Bear Country USA
This unique drive-through park allows North American wildlife to freely roam around your vehicle giving you front row seats to view black bears, elk, buffalo, reindeer and more. Don’t forget to stretch your legs after the drive at Wildlife Walk. It’s here you’ll fall in love with the youngsters of the park and a few smaller wildlife species.
5 - Reptile Gardens
Adventure is around every corner at Reptile Gardens. Home to more species and subspecies of reptiles than any other zoo in the world, its a fun stop for the whole family. Tour the park and discover the beautiful botanical gardens on display, stop and enjoy one of the three shows (Gator, Bird and Snake), and meet the famous faces of the park like Maniac or Tank.
6 - Black Hills National Forest
Outdoor adventure is easy to find in the 1.2 million acres of the Black Hills National Forest. The forest includes 11 reservoirs, 26 picnic areas, two scenic byways, 1,300 miles of streams, 470 miles of hiking trails 700 miles of motorized vehicle trails, and much more to be explored.
7 - Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park boasts a landscape that can’t be compared to anything else on earth. Hiking, biking, scenic drives, wildlife viewing and educational visitor centers are just a few of the activities offered in this national park. Top off an already unforgettable experience by catching the out of this world sunrises, sunsets and stargazing opportunities.
8 - Jewel Cave National Monument
Beauty in the Black Hills is also found below ground. Tour the third longest cave in the world, Jewel Cave, and find dazzling cave formations and an array of colors. For those feeling really adventurous – book the Wild Caving Tour that takes you spelunking deep into this cave's underground utopia.
9 - 1880 Train - Black Hills Central Railroad
Step back in time when you board the 1880 Train. Originally built during the Black Hills Gold Rush to help service the mines and mills between Hill City and Keystone, today, passengers enjoy it as an hour-long narrated tour through the Black Hills. On this tour, you’ll find stunning views, remnants of old mines and more!
10 - Rushmore Tramway Adventures
Soar above the trees on a five-part zipline tour, race down the mountain on wheeled sleds, and tackle an obstacle course suspended in the trees all at one location – Rushmore Tramway Adventures. This adventure park offers a day full of exciting and thrilling experiences that the whole family will love.