American heritage and nature collide in Rapid City, South Dakota—home of historic American monuments like Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Families, explorers, history buffs, nature lovers, and honeymooners love this city—if city is what you would call a few close-knit communities surrounded by miles of beautiful nature. Rapid City does have an inner city, but locals are well-known and close, so there is sparse nightlife, but you could find a few bars to drink and mingle.
Downtown Rapid City offers an abundance of shops and restaurants, offering the traditional traveler experience after an afternoon in the Black Hills National Forest.
For a memorable outing, explore breathtaking Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park is a favorite for hikers, adventurers, nature lovers, and sight-seers. The landscape, often described as dreamy and wow-worthy, is made up of nature-made rock formations, cliffs, canyons, spires, valleys, and prairies. There are well over 244, 000 acres, with nature paths, boardwalks, and climb rocks galore. Guests are greeted with a visitor center to brush up on safety measures, and there are checkpoint stations around the park.
Bighorn sheep and bison are a must-see in the park, and guests have commented that the wide-open formations are good for your soul. It is back to the basics of nature here.
If you love to camp out, arrange a camping visit with guides in the park. Pitch a tent under the stars, away from the light pollution of the inner city, and have a calm night of campfires, cool breezes, and stargazing. Remember to pack a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots, plenty of water, and a few non-perishable, protein-rich snacks.
Reptile Gardens is a family-friendly favorite in Rapid City. The long-time serpentarium boasts must-see exhibits of amazing reptiles, some of which are native, others that are exotic and venomous. There is loads of information to learn, and you would do well to book an educational tour with a knowledgeable, experienced herpetologist.
There are bird shows, reptile feedings, giant tortoise exhibits, and a beautiful botanical greenhouse. Past guests to Reptile Gardens recommend sitting for a live show 15 minutes before the scheduled show time, since the shows are popular and you want to get a great seat.
For lunch, check out the on-site concession stands. And don’t forget to peruse the gift shop for reptile-themed souvenirs on your way out.
Constructed in 1936, the Dinosaur Park is a must-visit for anyone that appreciates kitschy artworks and prairie views. There are 7 concrete dinos here, each modeled after a real-life dinosaur, like a triceratops and a brontosaurus. The park is described as beautiful and green, with great views of both the valleys below and the city nearby.
Grab a hot dog and hamburger from the on-site snack bar, sit at a shaded picnic area, and have lunch while admiring the sceneries. Toddlers love climbing on the dinosaurs, but be aware that there are quite a few steps to the peak—so bring your best comfortable walking shoes.
There are tons of fun things to do in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Give yourself a chance to see attractions in Rapid City and book a stay at a top-ranked hotel
On North Lacrosse Street sits the Foothills Inn, a boutique hotel with 65 queen-sized suites and excellent customer services. Their accommodations are basic and homey—just enough to make you feel safe, comfortable, and secure. A few highlighted amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, free high-speed internet, free basic cable, free parking for guests, self-serve laundry rooms, and custom AC systems in each suite.
Past travelers to the hotel agree that the free daily breakfasts are the best parts, as the hotel serves up hot breakfast sandwiches, waffles, eggs, and fresh-brewed coffee. Are your kiddos in tow? Take them to The Journey Museum and Learning Center for interactive exhibits that span prehistoric, to historic, to modern eras.
Cambria Hotel & Suites Rapid City
The Cambria Hotel & Suites Rapid City on Outfitter Road provides basic, simple accommodations with a few indulgences tossed in for good measure. Top-ranked second best hotel in Rapid City, the Cambria has received excellent online reviews from past guests . These guests have highlighted dozens of great features, such as comfortable queen-sized beds, superb customer service, and a clean swimming pool and hot tub.
Other amenities for this hotel include a fitness center, free parking for guests, room service, an on-site restaurant, bar, and lounge, airport transportation and shuttle bus services, and a business center with meeting rooms, conference facilities, and free internet access. Downtown Rapid City is a must-see, located 4 miles from the Cambria. Take a shuttle service into downtown, then stroll the sidewalks for side-to-side shops, restaurants, and a wow-worthy arts scene.
La Qunita Inn & Suites
La Quinta Inn & Suites on North Elk Vale Road is a classy hotel chain and a big favorite for visitors to Rapid City. There are lots of great accommodations, like comfortable, plush beds, clean rooms overall, and knowledgeable, reliable customer services. Families love this hotel because of the summertime family-friendly activities, such as the opening of the on-site waterpark. Get to the park early, as the staff closes the park a couple hours before dusk. Price-wise, this hotel is a great find in Rapid City.
Grand Gateway Hotel
Another North Lacrosse Street favorite, the Grand Gateway Hotel is the epitome of a luxurious stay for Rapid City visitors. Their accommodations are basic for some and indulgent for others, while their prices are affordable, convenient, and budget-friendly.
Their most notable amenities include an indoor swimming pool and hot tub, free high-speed internet, a fitness center with updated workout equipment, and an on-site restaurant and bar that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
If you have the time, take a nature walk to the Berlin Wall Exhibit on North 8th Street—which is 2 miles from the Grand Gateway Hotel.
Ready to take in all the beautiful scenery and fun attractions Rapid City, SD has to offer? Simply book now, save now, and TravNow.