Plan Your Trip
Rapid is the second largest city in South Dakota, the largest city and airport near Mount Rushmore, and considered the “Gateway to the Black Hills”. We are surrounded by well known locations and national parks, but many recognize Rapid for these surprising things you can explore right within town.
Whether you’re planning a family vacation for multiple generations or it’s all about the kids, staying in Rapid City offers easy access to all the beloved Black Hills experiences. We encourage you to use these travel ideas to mix, match, and make your own plans for traveling with family.
Rapid City is known for many iconic things such as the City of Presidents, a series of life-sized president statues found throughout its downtown district, or being the gateway to Mount Rushmore. But not everything about Rapid is well known. In fact, the city is full of hidden gems and unique finds if you just dig a little deeper. One of the most unexpected places in Rapid City is the Chapel in the Hills. And even more surprising - it’s free.
While much of South Dakota is flat, grassy plains, the western side of the state differs in its vast range of low, ponderosa pine covered mountains that make up the Black Hills (remember, Rapid is at the base). These mountains create (1) A natural barrier to shelter the Rapid City region from the harshest of winter weather, (2) and a downward slope that captures warm Chinook winds known for quick and temperature changes that can warm up cold winter days.
Located 70 miles east of Rapid City stands a fascinating, and terrifying, piece of history. Preserved by the national park system, The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site allows visitors to fully grasp the history and climate of fear that existed during the Cold War.
To be honest, we didn’t know the first thing about South Dakota. So when we got an email inviting us to come and take Instagram photos of its top attractions we were intrigued | 8 Amazing South Dakota Attractions | The Planet D Adventure Travel Blog