Mount Rushmore and the whole Keystone, SD area were our last big stop before getting home from our road trip. There are lots of interesting things to see and do near Mount Rushmore. We started off by turning of the main freeway and onto SD-79, which was scenic and less traveled. There were still plenty of cars around, but it felt less crowded. After traveling down that for a little while we turned to Wind Cave National Park. You can’t reserve a tour online before you go, so we had to just go and hope there was something available. There was, but by the time we got there the kids were not into going on it. So instead we checked out the visitor center, got our stamp, looked at all the displays, and kept on driving. Just north of the national park is Custer State Park. This park has some cool views, wildlife, and a fun windy road to go on, with some small tunnels my husband liked.
We drove through part of the park and got sticker to place in our windshield, the remnants of which stayed there for months because of the glue 😦 We happened to be there at the same time as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, so we shared the roadway with TONS of motorcycles. We took the Needle Highway, a national scenic byway, and it was so pretty. There are turnouts for viewpoints all along the way, as well as tight little tunnels that only 1 car at a time can go through (no RVs allowed for some).
After threading the Needle Eye, we headed to the Crazy Horse Monument. It was so cool to see such a large ‘statue’ being built. We watched a movie about it, looked through the displays, watched some Native American dancers, and had a lovely time there. I liked this monument better than Mt Rushmore.
Speaking of which, after Crazy Horse, we headed back through Custer State Park to take a different long windy road out toward Mount Rushmore, because why use the big highways when there are fun smaller roads to drive on.
At Mount Rushmore we saw the video, took photos, used the bathrooms, checked out the museum displays, and then were pretty much done in half and hour. Not really worth the cost of parking in my opinion, even if the faces are impressive. But it was nice to see, and I do love a museum. I read there are more museums in the US than McDonald’s’ and Starbucks’ combined, I hope it’s true.
We spent the night in a crowded hotel in Keystone, almost didn’t find parking because of all the motorcycles (seriously, so many!), but it worked just fine in the end. The main part of the city is small enough to walk around to find places to eat and buy souvenirs, so once we found a parking spot at the hotel we didn’t have to give it up to go get food. We didn’t have cell reception the whole time we were in the area, so that was a drawback, my parents got a little worried in the morning, but we were fine. And after that we made our way home, with a quick pit stop at Devils Tower and an overnight in Montana, then we were home before we knew it.