I loved seeing the presidents of Mount Rushmore at the Den on Sunset at Travel Massive Los Angeles. I never expected to selfie with them on a Thursday night. Thanks to Kelley, Jim, Mara, Katlyn, Gina and a special thanks to Wanda for all her help on my first trip to visit part of the GREAT EIGHT!
What is the GREAT EIGHT? These are top sights to visit in South Dakota! I saw some of them and cannot wait to go back to finish the list!
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park
- Badlands National Park
- Historic Deadwood
- Custer State Park
- Crazy Horse Memorial
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- Jewel Cave National Monument
Video: On the Road to Rushmore
Lisa, Jason and Scott continued on to South Dakota and made a stop in legendary Sturgis, including the Knuckle Salon and Trading Post where the annual Harley Davidson festival is held! The Wild West really comes to life here, especially in the "Badlands" and its cemetery, which holds the remains of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane.
Here Lisa and the team toured the sights by moonlight for a look at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The touching ceremony at the end of each night honors US troops with the lowering of the flag. There's so much to learn from the past and this monument will forever be an important part of the American history and present.
Video: Sunrise at Mount Rushmore
After getting a taste for the Wild West, it was time to set off to Mount Rushmore. Here Lisa and the team toured the sights by sunrise for a look at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. There's so much to learn from the past and this monument will forever be an important part of the American history and present.
Though Mount Rushmore holds much historical significance, it's also a place to come and unwind! The Adoba hotel in Rapid City is the winner of several Trip Advisor awards for excellence and offers comfortable, spacious rooms. The local restaurant, Enigma, serves the freshest organic food from land and sea including pomegranate-braised lambshank and broiled walleye; all complemented by live music!
Custer State Park in South Dakota is amazing. I loved it. There are 71,000 acres here. We drove the 18 mile Wildlife loop road. There are 1300 bison or buffalo in the park. They can weigh up to 2000 pounds. I had no idea we would be able to see them so close. I highly recommend this adventure! I loved our day in the park. We also saw Praire Dog Town and the burros that live in the park.
Lisa and the team made a stop at the Crazy Horse memorial in Western South Dakota. The memorial to this important Lakota leader was carved by Korczak Ziolowski into the granite Black Hills mountain range as part of a 100-year project. The impressive head sits 219 feet high and watches out over the valley with its multitude of stories from past times.
Badlands Helicopter Adventure, South Dakota: The Badlands of South Dakota are a designated national park and close to 65,000 acres act as a wilderness area for the re-introduction of endangered species. After hopping onto a tour with Black Hills Aerial Adventures, Lisa was on her way to a bird's eye view of 243,000 acres of buttes, pinnacles and spires, not to mention the world's richest Oligocene fossil bed!
If a helicopter ride doesn't appeal, there is plenty of hiking to take advantage of in the Badlands; see more than 7,500 stars in the clear night-sky. Becoming a volunteer in the Night Sky Program is a great way to experience this on a deeper level!
Lisa Niver is a travel expert, writer, artist, entrepreneur, and on-camera host who has explored over 95 countries. Find more at We Said Go Travel and view her videos with over one million views! She recently interviewed Fabien Cousteau, scuba dive’d with bull sharks and skied with the blind.
*** March 2017 update: The Rapid City's Adoba Hotel where I stayed is now The Rushmore Hotel. *****
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