I never thought I’d write a post about South Dakota, but our trip last month was truly so much fun! I’m writing this guide from the perspective of a Midwesterner taking a road trip, so just keep that in mind for some of the places we stopped. Let’s jump right in!
Traveling by car for 9 hours gets a little lengthy so we made a few stops along the journey. First up, a decent size town by the name of Mitchell, SD. Home of the infamous Corn Palace. It’s the most over-promoted and underwhelming place I’ve seen, but you have to stop just to say you’ve been there. Consider it a large auditorium made of corn.
Luckily, we had made a pit stop before at this darling little coffee shop nestled inside a boutique. I might’ve stayed there forever. A good quality latte always makes me happy. They don’t have a website, but it’s called “Fika by Cornerstone.”
Unique restaurants are scarce here, so we decided to continue our car ride through the prairie. Eventually we came to the point in the trip where we either take the fast route or the long route through The Badlands. Quick tip: take the long way. I’ll just show you some photos and you’ll understand why this natural phenomenon that truly just appears out of nowhere is a sight to see.
Also, stumbling upon wild buffalo is another good reason to visit this National Park.
Next up, the town of Wall, home of the infamous Wall Drug. With 5 cent coffee and free ice water, who can pass this place up?! You’ll likely see their billboard advertisements the entire drive, and I’ll give them credit, they are creative and funny. Another must stop, and to be honest it was a really fun experience strolling through this tiny town!
Next up was our ultimate destination, Rapid City. The 2nd largest city in the state, this is where we stayed to venture up to Mt Rushmore and see the sights. Our first evening we took to the historic Firehouse Brewery & Winery for dinner.
This place is SO cool and did not disappoint. Their Cabernet blend was one of the most delicious wines I’ve had in awhile. Friendly service and excellent food. I recommend a stop here if you’re in the neighborhood. Follow it up with ice cream from The Silver Lining Creamery down the road. Yum!
The next morning was our trip to Mt. Rushmore, so of course I had to find a cute coffee shop to start the day with. Revel Coffeehouse is right on the way and is absolutely darling with it’s all white and modern interior. I got a vanilla latte that was fantastic.
We took the 30 minute drive up the mountain to Mount Rushmore National Park. It was May, and they had just received several inches of SNOW a few days prior. Needless to say it was cold and felt like February. Other than that, it was pretty incredible to see such a historic symbol of our country in real life. Most of the hiking trails were closed for the day, but we enjoyed learning about the rich history of this park.
We also spent some time exploring this cute little town you hit on the way up to Mt. Rushmore. Swing in for a stop, you won’t be disappointed!
We traveled back down to Rapid City that evening, and what is a trip without swinging by a brewery? We visited Dakota Point Brewery for a few flights and I was impressed with all of the options! We enjoyed some time on their fantastic patio space with a game of cribbage.
A fun restaurant find we found in Rapid City was called Sickie’s Garage. Such a unique restaurant with the most giant menu I’ve ever seen. We enjoyed some pretzel bites and burgers and they were fantastic.
I’ve got one more coffee shop recommendation for you, and it’s as unique as they come. A drive-thru hut, you say? The wait was a little long, but Dixon Coffee made it worth it. It was one of the best vanilla lattes I have ever had. It was delicious! Another must stop while in Rapid City.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was going to Bear Country USA. This is a drive-thru wildlife park FILLED with, you guessed it, BEARS! It was so fun to see them walk up to cars and in front of them. It was a unique experience I haven’t had before. At the end of the drive-thru, there is a zoo and gift shop/restaurant for guests to explore.
I never would have anticipated this road trip being as fun as it was. I highly recommend it to anyone in the Midwest and beyond traveling to the state.
Until next time,