This website uses Cookies to offer you an enhanced browsing experience. Find out more about how we use Cookies.

USA Radio
Black Hills and Badlands, South Dakota

Deadwood and Rapid City: Family Fun in South Dakota

By Victoria Shepherd

As I exited the airplane in Rapid City, I was greeted with the summer heat (but a refreshing lack of humidity) of western South Dakota. I’d been looking forward to this trip and couldn’t wait to witness first hand this incredible destination. The iconic Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park and Custer State Park are all set within the stunning Black Hills and Badlands region of the state, and the towns of Deadwood and Rapid City would be great base camps for my stay.

Historic Deadwood, Yesterday and Today

Set in a canyon, surrounded by evergreens, Deadwood is known for many things, most notably the gunslingers and gamblers who were drawn here by the gold rush of 1876.

I woke up early the next morning to explore Mt. Moriah Cemetery above Deadwood, where there’s a scenic view over the town. This is where gambler Wild Bill Hickok and frontierswoman Calamity Jane are buried. Jane’s dying wish was to be buried next to Bill, but funnily enough, the two were only acquaintances.

The afternoon was spent on Historic Main Street, enjoying the shops and live entertainment. At the Stockade Bar, Ying Yang Yancey provided songs and jokes, and I found prime curb-side seating while watching one of the daily “shootouts.”

After having a little flutter at Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort, I stopped by the Deadwood Social Club for a Buffalo Ravioli with brown-butter-sage sauce that was to die for, and then headed downstairs to Saloon #10. Reportedly the place where Wild Bill was assassinated by Jack McCall (it was actually down the road a ways at the original Saloon #10), this is a museum of sorts, where besides drinking and gambling at the slot machines and table games, there’s the chair that Hickok is supposed to have died in.

Year-Round Entertainment in Rapid City

En route south to Rapid City the next morning, I stopped by beautiful Pactola Lake and went for a stroll. People were jumping off the rocks and swimming in its crystal-clear waters. It was a great way to relax before enjoying vibrant Rapid City, home to a variety of lodging options and a hip downtown full of beautiful shops, street art and cool restaurants.

Upon arrival in town, I headed to Main Street Square, the heart and soul of downtown. From here, I visited The Journey Museum & Learning Center a few blocks north, to take a tour through the history of the Black Hills and to learn about the Native American cultures of the region.

I grabbed a tasty lunchtime chicken salad at Tally’s Silver Spoon, a block away from the square, and then walked another block over to Art Alley, an ever-changing alleyway that’s full of street art and graffiti. Over time, it’s evolved into a revolving gallery of sorts and is a great place to visit in the daytime.

The City of Presidents – Rapid City’s nickname – is the place to rub shoulders with all of the past U.S. commanders in chief. From Abe Lincoln to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, seeking out these life-size bronze statues dotting the downtown area is a great way to pass the time.

I ended the day at Prairie Edge Trading Company & Galleries. Here I found a huge selection of authentic Native American art, jewellery and clothing, as well as amazing headdresses, porcupine quillwork and intricate paper artwork.

Visiting the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota was a brilliant experience. One thing I’d have done differently? Allow a few more days to truly take it all in.

For more information, please contact us:

Black Hills and Badlands Official Travel Information

When you go

Iconic Black Hills and Badlands Attractions

Badlands National Park
Crazy Horse Memorial
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Custer State Park

Things to do in Deadwood

Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood
Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort, Deadwood
Historic Re-enactments & Shootouts
Old Style Saloon #10, Deadwood
Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau

Things to do in Rapid City

Main Street Square, Rapid City
Tally’s Silver Spoon, Rapid City
Journey Museum & Learning Center
Prairie Edge Trading Company & Galleries
Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau

For more information

Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association

Welcome to Visit The USA!

Now that you have registered, you can save trip ideas to your suitcase.

Start exploring

Enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Please check your email.

Start exploring

The password on your account has successfully been changed. Please use your new password to login.

Start exploring

This website is set to 'allow all cookies' for the best user experience. By continuing without changing this setting, you are consenting to this. You may change your settings at any time at the bottom of this page.

More information about cookies

Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website.

If you choose to disable non-essential cookies, the website will:

  • Allow you to log in and remember you are logged in, while in session
  • Determine your country of origin in order to serve you the most relevant version of the site

This website will not:

  • Restrict welcome messaging to the first time you visit the site
  • Track any activity on the site for analytics purposes

More information about cookies