Imagine a palace clad entirely in corn, bleached buttes that resemble a moonscape, a gunfight on a city street and a Native American war hero carved into the face of a mountain — This is South Dakota. And this is just the beginning. While iconic American attractions—namely Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial—are reason enough to journey into South Dakota, it’s the little stops along the way that make this northern state a must-do summer travel destination.
Over the next 4 weeks, I will take you through our South Dakota journey! We will share with you what to do, where to stay and what to eat. This week we will focus on Where To Stay on your next visit to South Dakota.
Sylvan Lake Lodge is the incarnation of that image in your head of the quintessential Black Hills resort. Thanks for its charm goes to architect Frank Lloyd Wright. After the original lake-shore resort burned down in 1935, Wright suggested the current location, high on an overlook, nestled among pines and spruces. He couldn’t have picked a better spot. You may have trouble concentrating on your elk medallions in the dining room that features soaring views of Harney Peak overhead and the deep blue sparkle of Sylvan Lake below. Even though you think you should go for a baked potato, opt for the steak fries. They are not to be missed. On your after-dinner stroll, be sure to keep an eye out for resident wildlife—they won’t be hard to spot. The rooms in the lodge are old school, meaning they are small and cozy. The resort also has secluded cabins where the scent of pine will whisk you away into a deep sleep.
Rapid City Best Western Ramkota
Consider this hotel home base for your Black Hills adventures. It’s both close to the interstate and the downtown area, giving you the choice of where you want to be. The indoor waterpark will keep your travelers amused in case you hit a rainy day. Room rates include passes to the waterpark. The hotel also has a gigantic indoor pool, separate from the water park, for those craving a watery escape that’s a little quieter. There’s plenty of space in the rooms, making them perfect for families who need to spread out. There’s a restaurant on site and lots of free parking.
Historic Bullock Hotel
You just can’t help but imagine how many gunslingers have brushed their boots on the very step that leads into this historic hotel. Although it’s gone through many a renovation, Deadwood’s first hotel still maintains the charm of the old west. Photographs at the check-in counter chronicle its transformation. Luckily the rooms are a lot larger than the originals. These ones even have their own bathrooms! If you let your imagination run wild, you may get to meet Deadwood’s first sheriff, Seth Bullock, who is said to still drop by on occasion. Bully’s, the restaurant on site, does a fine job with breakfast. While you wait for your eggs, have a look at the black and white photos in the dining room that tell the shady story of Deadwood’s early days.
Stayed tuned for next week where we find out Where to Eat in South Dakota!
Shel writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she’s not playing outside, on the road or eating. Her recent adventures have included a trip to the tundra to serve as cook at a caribou hunting camp and making a long overdue journey to Ukraine with her dad Merv. She’s the founder of a group called the Manitoba Food Bloggers as well as an avid angler and hunter. She lives in Winnipeg with her husband Ivan and their son Clark. firstname.lastname@example.org