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Motor Home Vacations: The Black Hills and Badlands

Standing Indian Campground Map

Here’s a surprise for you, something that nobody ever forgets – driving along the endless plains of South Dakota, up ahead you see rising out of the featureless plain, a range of mountains covered in pine trees. These are the legendary Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming, and they are full of great scenery and things to do.

The Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota are some of the most popular motor home destinations in the country. It makes a great vacation spot, or stop along your way across the Great Plains to the Rockies and the Great American West beyond.

One of the sites that is a must-see in the Black Hills is Mount Rushmore. These masterfully carved faces in the mountain cliffs of our most esteemed former presidents are considered to be a monument to American democracy. We’ve all seen them in history textbooks and on TV, but there’s nothing like actually seeing them “face to face” to appreciate just how giant they are.

Another site of important historical significance is the Crazy Horse Memorial. This monument to another of history’s heroes includes a museum, shrine and memorial service to the great Sioux leader. It is important to the heritage of all North American Indians, as well as Americans of any ancestry.

If you want to get out and really see the majestic preponderance of pine forests up close, there’s no better way than the George S. Mickelson Trail. This trail was created in 1998, and winds itself 109 miles through the Black Hills. There are covered bridges, gentle slopes, and beautiful scenery. You can hike it or bike it, and there are lots of trailheads.

For those who want to get out and see the land in your motor home, the scenic drives of Custer State Park are ideal. There are a variety of roads that take you all over the Black Hills, where you can see its unique scenery and wildlife.

Finally, there is Badlands National Park, where you can see buttes and eroded rock formations that tell the ancient pre-history of this remarkable land. Some people have described the Badlands as otherworldly. Looking at some of these rock formations, you can’t believe that they were not formed by the hand of man. That is exactly the kind of unique beauty that makes the Badlands such a popular destination for motor home enthusiasts.

One of the best places to stay in the Black Hills/Badlands area is Lazy J RV Park and Campground, located just south of Rapid City. It is close enough to the city to be convenient, but outside of town enough that you’ll have mountains right at your doorstep. Best of all, it is family friendly and fully equipped for RVs. They also have a variety of activities for folks of any age.

Another great place is Beaver Lake Campground in Custer, South Dakota. They have sites for all different sized motor homes, and they are all big and shady. They also have a heated pool and waterslide for the kids to enjoy. Rates vary from $23 to $25.

If you want to have the Black Hills right at the door of your motor home, try Whispering Pines Campgrounds and Lodging in Rapid City. The campground is located right in between Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood, and the rates are very reasonable, ranging from $16 to $25. They accommodate RVs, campers and tents, and also have cabins for a more luxurious stay.

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