Springtime in the Black Hills: What to Do, Where to Go | Black Hills Travel Blog

Springtime in the Black Hills: What to Do, Where to Go

  • Springtime in the Black Hills: What to Do, Where to Go
    Springtime in the Black Hills: What to Do, Where to Go
Monday, March 20, 2023
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Springtime is always beautiful in the Black Hills, even if it comes a little later than traditional springtime. Sometimes snow and weather can be an issue, but don't let that stop you from visiting! Many parks, businesses, and attractions stay open year-round, and there's plenty to do in the months leading up to the busy summer season. Here are some of the top things to do in the Black Hills during springtime.

Explore the Parks and Monuments

Mount Rushmore National Memorial (Keystone): Despite potential snow at 5,725 feet in elevation, the iconic "Faces" of Mount Rushmore welcome visitors year-round. Explore the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, watch a film about the sculpture, and take the award-winning Living Memorial Self-guided Tour to add another dimension to your visit.

Crazy Horse Memorial® (near Custer): Witness the world's largest mountain carving in progress and explore American Indian museums, art galleries, and the sculptor's studio-home filled with antiques and gifts. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the Laughing Water Restaurant on the viewing deck.

Custer State Park: Take the Wildlife Loop to see the park's herd and watch for newborn "cinnamons" (baby buffalo). Chat with Park Rangers, explore exhibits, and watch a phenomenal film narrated by Kevin Costner at the Visitor Center. Stop for lunch at the nearby State Game Lodge.

Badlands National Park (east of Rapid City): Discover otherworldly views and wildlife opportunities throughout its 244,000 acres. Cruise the Badlands Loop Road (Hwy 240), explore a trail, and stop at Ben Reifel Visitor Center for displays and overlooks.

Minuteman Missile Historical Site & Visitor Center: Learn more about the Cold War through accurate displays and exhibits at the Visitor Center. Take a ranger-guided tour of Delta-01, one of 15 launch control facilities in the area, to witness a crucial, yet scary, part of American history.

Enjoy Fun and Adventure in the Rapid City Region

Discover the Black Hills history at The Journey Museum & Learning Center, an engaging and family-friendly museum. From Lakota culture to early settlers, fossils, and Custer's discovery of gold, there are many interactive exhibits and a nice gift shop.

The Museum of Geology is another interesting stop that offers free admission. View complete skeletal fossils of mammals, marine reptiles, fish, and dinosaurs that once roamed South Dakota. Study the world around them going back more than 500 million years!  A new Kid Zone with tons of hands-on activities is engaging for all ages.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Rushmore Candy Company, South Dakota's largest candy store, with hundreds of different types of candy. Take all kinds of sweet treats along with you as you explore. You can also enjoy a hand-crafted beverage or ice cream on the pet-friendly patio on sunny days or relax on comfortable inside seating.

Reptile Gardens, the World's Largest Collection of Reptiles, is a little farther down the road. Walk through boulders of rose quartz and other minerals that guide the way to the Sky Dome where stunning botanical gardens are home to snakes, lizards, and yes, alligators and crocodiles too. Learn about birds of prey, peek in the underground prairie dog town, view and maybe pet giant tortoises. The gift shop alone is amazing.

Keystone, the home of Mount Rushmore, and visit National Presidential Wax Museum, where over 100 lifelike wax figures of all 46 U.S. presidents depicted in recreations of iconic moments in U.S. presidential history await you. Explore the stories behind the faces with a self-guided audio tour narrating the context and history of each scene.

For all kinds of fun, visit Sprockets Fun Foundry, where state-of-the-art arcade games, virtual reality games, duck-pin bowling come together in a unique atmosphere that guarantees exciting amusement. Pair the activities with an adult beverage such as local craft-brews and wines, and you'll have a grand time.

For a trip back in time, visit Big Thunder Gold Mine. Recapture the adventure of a bygone era as you tour this authentic 1890's gold mine. The tour will take you inside the mountain with an entertaining guide telling stories about how the mine got its name and much more.

Discover subterranean passageways that lead to spectacular stalactite rooms and amazing formations carved by nature at Rushmore Cave and Rush Mountain Adventure Park. On top of the mountain are more thrilling adventures. Take a seat on the zipline, shoot the bad guys in a 7-D theater, ride the gravity-driven roller coaster, and climb through the high-ropes maze.

The Wild Northern Hills

The Wild West is found in the Northern Hills of the Black Hills. In the historic town of Deadwood, try your luck at the casinos.  Learn about famous figures like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Potato Creek Johnny at the Adams Museum. Additional area history is found at the Days of 76 Museum, and The Brothel Deadwood.  Visit nearby attractions, including High Plains Western Heritage Center, and DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, in Spearfish. Don't miss the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center in Lead for an interesting science lesson. The Tri-State Museum & Visitor Center in Belle Fourche is home to the Center of the Nation marker.  Biking history and a Hall of Fame are at the iconic Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. There's plenty of fun and history of the Northern Hills!

Soak in the Southern Hills

A treasure trove of fossils and fun are located in the Southern Hills of Hot Springs, The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs boasts the world's largest concentration of mammoth remains and other Ice Age animals like the giant short-faced bear and wolf. Explore imprint fossils of bird feathers, fish skeletons, and mollusk shells, and watch a fascinating film about how they all ended up in a dry sinkhole that's 26,000 years old.

Keep your adventure going at the World Fossil Finder Museum, where you'll find a vast collection of Ice Age fossils. Check out the complete skeleton of the biggest and best swimming reptile, the Tylosaurus named "Debby Sue," found only in South Dakota. Don't forget to browse the museum's gift shop for unique items.

Take a dip in the warm mineral waters of Fall River at Evans Plunge Mineral Springs. With an indoor/outdoor pool filled with 5000 gallons of 87-degree spring-fed water, plus slides, children's pools, Tarzan rings, tubes, and a health club, it's a bunch of wet play for the whole family. And if you forgot your swimsuit, no worries – they've got you covered at the gift shop with a variety of water-related items.

From appreciating the amazing parks and monuments to enjoying exciting playgrounds and adventure - there is something for everyone in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.