Every year you have to decide where to take your family for their annual vacation. You have a variety of different choices, most popular of which include theme parks such as Disney World or Disneyland, beach resorts in Florida, Mexico, or the Caribbean, ordinary European vacations, or trips to one of the many national parks throughout the country such as Niagara Falls or Mount Rushmore.
Why go to the same stupid places that everybody else goes and places you’ve probably gone to yourself half a dozen times in your life? Why not try something a little different?
Well I’ll tell you why… you’ve got a family and it’s not so easy packing your family up for an off the beaten path trip. But at the same time you really don’t want to do the same boring thing that everybody else does. So what’s the solution?
Why not take a look at Custer State Park.
What exactly is it? Well basically it’s a National Park that has a variety of incredible landscapes and historical monuments of many shapes and sizes. It’s located roughly between Mount Rushmore and Wind Cave national Park in South Dakota.
This location makes it great because it gives it an out-of-the-way feel without really being all that out of the way.
You get there by taking a flight into Rapid City and then either taking a bus or renting a car to head down Interstate 90 towards the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. The very best time of year to go is between May and October. Don’t be taken by surprise, even though these are generally thought of as summer months, the weather can drop drastically at night so bring appropriate clothing.
The park covers an area of over 70,000 acres consisting of beautiful meadows, pine forests, rolling foothills, and several large lakes. It also contains the incredible finger-like granite spires that are called the Needles. You’re really going to want to check them out especially. Take a drive down South Dakota Hwy. 87, called the Needles Highway, and you can see many of them from your car.
Watch out for bison, both while you drive and also if you wander around on foot. Be careful not to feed the bison because they are wild and can be incredibly dangerous. There are over 1500 bison located within the park, making it one of the largest herds left in the world!
While there you can also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing, horseback riding, and even tourist jeep rides.
While you’re there check out the Indian Museum of North America at Crazy Horse. It is home to one of the most extensive collections of American Indian artifacts anywhere in the country and is a particular favorite of young children as well as older children and adult children!
Custer State Park has a little something for everybody and if you enjoy the outdoors then you should fit right in at this national treasure.