I will be honest, I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of going here when we decided to add it to our itinerary. I am a mountain girl thru and thru, but I could not be this close to another National Park and not be able to mark it off my list. Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. It looks like another planet. You can look for miles and see no sign of civilization. The Badlands have been so ruthlessly ravaged by wind and water that it has become picturesque. We were able to see up close the Big Horn Sheep that call this place home. We were not brave enough to tackle the hiking trails but from what I could see this would be an adventure for any hiker. Several trails begin near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Be sure to take plenty of water. The temperatures here can be scorching in the summer. We drove the Loop Road Scenic drive through the park and it did not disappoint.
One of the world’s most well-known tourist stops, it’s hard to believe Wall Drug Store got its start with something we wouldn’t even turn our heads at today … the promise of Free Ice Water. But in fact, the Husteads turned free ice water into a million dollar idea with a little determination and quick thinking. You will start seeing signs and billboards for “Free Ice Water” hundreds of miles away and you’ll know you are heading in the right direction. A drug store, gift shop & eateries are some of the amenities inside this 76,000-sq.-ft. attraction. A must see and just a few short minutes from the Badlands National Park.
Wind Cave National Park has bison, elk, and other wildlife roaming the prairie grasslands and hillsides of one of America’s oldest national parks. Below the prairie sits Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. The cave is currently the 6th longest in the world. Tours of the cave are open 362 days of the year. The park is located only a short drive from Mt. Rushmore and can easily be added to see the same day as Mt. Rushmore. You can drive the park easily and there are many pull offs for viewing wildlife.
Hi my name is Michelle. My daughter and I travel as often as we can and on an extremely tight budget. We have adopted the motto Live Simple. Spend Less. Travel Often. It has truly changed our lives. I hope that you will follow along with us and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about any of the places we have been. Thank you!