This past week our family went on a week-long roadtrip! You know--since we work at a summer camp, our summer vacations are usually the first week or two of school. No worries! Since we have feet in both worlds of homeschooling and a homeschool academy, we just take textbooks along, and do homework in the car. (I guess you could call that "carschool" or more specifically "minivanschool.")
This was no ordinary roadtrip. This was an all-out South Dakota or Bust roadtrip! Since we've been telling my parents for years how great South Dakota is, they joined us for this trip! Yes, there were 6 of us in our Dodge Caravan. And, yes, we still love each other. Amazing, huh?
We did do lots of research beforehand, to help make this trip the best possible. I thought I'd write a couple of posts outlining some of our favorite things. Who knows? Maybe one of these posts will inspire you to plan a South Dakota roadtrip. I promise you won't be disappointed!
Today, I thought I'd give you an overview of our trip, a map of our roadtrip, and an itinerary, listing some of the highlights.
First--here is the map of our roadtrip
View Larger Map
Here was our South Dakota itinerary:
Friday - Drive to South Dakota, sleep at grandparents' house (in SD)
Saturday - (A-B) Drive across South Dakota on Hwy. 44 - through the Rosebud Indian Reservation. This is not an especially pretty drive...In fact, it is downright depressing. But, we felt that part of understanding South Dakota's rich history, is understanding the plight of the Native American. We had some really great conversations as we were driving this route.
Arrive in Wall, SD (B), just in time for dinner at the ever-famous, ever a tourist trap, Wall Drug Store! Now, please understand that calling Wall Drug a tourist trap is like calling Disney World a tourist trap. As long as you understand Wall Drug is filled with tourist trap shopping, then you can appreciate its quaint side--the side that is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of old photos and newspaper clippings, as well as a kids' outdoor paradise to run around, after being cooped up in the car all day.
Sunday - (B-C) Drive through, hike, and tour around the Badlands. The Badlands are a national treasure. I can promise you, you haven't seen anything like them! Be sure to have plenty of water bottles and snacks in the car this day, so that everyone is hydrated and happy as you are hiking around. Your kids will love you for letting them run around, and climb up the impressive mountains of dirt!
Sunday-Monday - (C) After a day in the Badlands, make the short drive into Rapid City, SD. We stayed at the La Quinta, which was connected to the WaTiki Indoor Water Park. Our girls literally squealed when we drove up and they saw the glassed-in waterpark!
While in Rapid City, we saw some really great attractions. I'll go into much greater detail in a post dedicated specifically to Rapid City.
And, of course WaTiki Indoor Water Park
Tuesday - Wednesday - (C-D) Make the 30-minute drive to Keystone, SD (D)--home of Mount Rushmore! Here are some of the things we did in Keystone:
Mount Rushmore (spent the day here)
Walking tour of downtown Keystone
Wednesday - Thursday -- (D-E) Drove East across the state to DeSmet, SD (E)--Homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Oh my word! If you love the Little House on the Prairie books/t.v. show, then you HAVE to visit the town of DeSmet! I have never found better tours, friendlier tour guides, or more hands-on exhibits! This was a definite highlight for our entire family! This is also where our family spent the night in a covered wagon! What??? Oh, YES I did! I'll dedicate a whole post to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead experience! And, of course I'll post pictures of the adorable covered wagon where we camped out!
Friday - Drive to grandparents, and spend the afternoon resting, re-grouping, and repacking!
Saturday - Vacation's over! Drive home.
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