For ‘Great Faces, Great Places’…it has to be South Dakota! We’ll visit all the must-see attractions such as Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Deadwood, Wall Drug, and even cross the Wyoming and Montana borders to gaze in awe at Devils Tower. All the while we discover the ‘backroads’ stops that make our tours so memorable. From a working cattle ranch to a honey harvester deep in the Black Hills, to an alpaca farm and more, the “Mount Rushmore State” awaits.
- Visit working cattle and alpaca ranchers, beekeepers, and vegetable farmer
- Attend a patriotic night lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- See four units of the National Park Service: Minuteman Missile, Badlands, Devils Tower, and Mount Rushmore
- Savor delicious farm-to-table meal experiences
- Visit the geographic center of the United States
- Experience both a chuckwagon supper and morning Jeep Safari in legendary Custer State Park
- ‘Unpack and stay’ for two nights at each hotel on this tour
- Free airport shuttle or hotel parking
- Bag handling (1 per person) at hotels
- Fees/tips for included attractions and meals
- Welcome reception, 24-hour emergency call service, free bottled water on coach
DAY 1: WELCOME TO SOUTH DAKOTA
Enjoy meeting your fellow travelers and Discoveries Director at a welcome reception in Rapid City, the gateway to South Dakota’s Black Hills and Badlands region.
DAY 2: WALL DRUG/MINUTEMAN MISSILE/BADLANDS
The morning begins with a stop at Wall Drug, voted one of America’s most popular roadside attractions. Sarah Hustead, whose great-grandfather started the business in 1931 as a humble pharmacy, will greet us. Over some homemade donuts and coffee, Sarah will explain how the location transformed into a shopping mall full of any kind of souvenir imaginable. Next, we’re off to Minuteman Missile National Historic Site to learn how the Cold War impacted the Great Plains. Peer deep down into Delta-09 Missile Silo, which once contained a 1.2 megaton nuclear warhead. Get your camera ready as we spend the rest of the day in South Dakota’s iconic Badlands National Park. The striking geological deposits seem to change color almost every minute in the shifting afternoon sun. Here we’ll enjoy lunch in the park and stop at multiple scenic overlooks for photo opportunities before returning for a second night in Rapid City. B, L
DAY 3: BEAR BUTTE GARDENS/HONEY FARM/FISH HATCHERY
Today, we are hosted by Rick and Michelle Grosek, owners of Bear Butte Gardens --- a 120-acre homestead near Sturgis. Learn what it takes to grow many different kinds of vegetables as well as the ins-and-outs of raising lamb and chicken in the dry Black Hills climate. Our tastebuds will savor their farm-to-table lunch featuring their latest harvest and fresh meats. Then, we are off to learn about the business that has kept Mitch & Lisa Irion ‘buzzing’ since 2001. Sold in shops across South Dakota, Black Hills Honey Farm focuses on the health of honey bees and how they can be sustainably harvested. We won’t leave without tasting some of their sweet honey! Next, the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the country. Established in 1896, we’ll learn from one of the biologists who will explain how their hatchery manages the trout population in South Dakota and surrounding states. You’ll be mesmerized with their underwater fish viewing area, too. B, L
DAY 4: CENTER OF THE NATION/CATTLE RANCH/DEVILS TOWER
We start our day at the literal heart of nation, Belle Fourche, the Center of the Nation monument which marks the geographical center of the United States. From there, we cross into Wyoming to meet up with Jim and Roxie Dacar. The Dacar’s operate a 22,000-acre fifth generation family-run cattle ranch along the Belle Fourche River. Their cow/calf and yearling operation has withstood blizzards, floods, and droughts. Next, we’ll briefly cut the corner of Montana for those perhaps looking to visit all fifty states before arriving at Devils Tower, America’s first National Monument. This astounding geographic feature towers over 1,000 feet above the Belle Fourche River, creating one of the most striking naturally formed landscapes in the country. Here we will enjoy the views from the park visitor center and even take a short hike on one of the trails after a picnic lunch. B, L
DAY 5: DEADWOOD/BLACK HILLS/CHUCK WAGON SUPPER
This morning we begin our day where the Wild West still lives. Local historians Mike, Lisa, and Luke Kitzmiller bring the legends of infamous Deadwood to life. We will also head up to Mt. Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and more notorious figures are buried. After a scenic drive through the spectacular Black Hills National Forest and around the Pactola Reservoir, we arrive for a tour, wine tasting, and lunch at Prairie Berry Winery. As a fifth-generation winemaker, Sandi Vojta will discuss how they make tasty wines from the “prairie berries” of South Dakota. The day wraps up at Custer State Park with an old-fashioned hayride. Relax and take in the scenery on a 45-minute wildlife tour to a mountain meadow canyon for our chuckwagon feast. On the way, sing along to classic country and folk music! Each guest receives a souvenir cowboy hat and bandanna to get into the western spirit. B, L, D
DAY 6: JEEP SAFARI/CRAZY HORSE/MOUNT RUSHMORE NIGHT LIGHTING
This morning you may spot buffalo, prong-horn antelope, donkeys, prairie dogs and more on our wildlife Jeep Safari through Custer State Park. Along the way, guides will share historical and educational facts about the park and wildlife. In the afternoon, we visit the Crazy Horse Memorial. Once complete, this tribute to the Lakota leader will be the largest mountain carving in the world. The on-site Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center also provide interesting regional insights for our group. And, of course, your visit to South Dakota wouldn’t be complete without time at one the nation’s most famous landmarks, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This evening we’ll also attend the ‘must experience’ patriotic evening night lightning ceremony conducted by the National Park Service. B, L
DAY 7: ALPACA RANCH/AIR FORCE BASE/FAREWELL
Today begins with a breakfast you’ll never forget at Caputa Alpaca. Here we’ll dine on a hearty meal while Glenn and Deb Lepp discuss the ins-and-outs of raising dozens of these cuddly creatures. Finally, we venture onto Ellsworth Air Force Base (* see helpful information) for a special VIP tour. We’ll have the rare opportunity to actually go inside a Minuteman II missile silo. Afterwards, we return back to Rapid City and look back fondly at our travels through the “Land of Infinite Variety”, South Dakota. B
Nights 1-2: Best Western Ramkota Hotel, Rapid City
Nights 3-4: Holiday Inn Spearfish Convention Center, Spearfish
Nights 5-6: Holiday Inn Express, Custer
Jul 11-17, 2021
Sep 12-18, 2021
Price Per Person:
Pre-/Post-Tour Hotel: $178/night
Depart/Return: Rapid City, SD
Highs in the mid 80's /lows in the mid 60's (July)
Highs in the mid 70's /lows in the mid 50's (September)
Schedule your flight to arrive by 4:00 p.m. on Day 1.
Schedule your flight to depart after 2:45 p.m. on Day 7.
Starting hotel offers complimentary shuttle service between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Complimentary for duration of tour.
Moderate walking is required to fully enjoy this tour. Some walking can be on uneven surfaces.
Refrigerators, microwaves, hair dryers, irons, ironing boards, Coffee makers, swimming pools and exercise rooms are available at most hotels on this tour.
*A Real ID or enhanced driver's license, or a valid US Passport is required to enter Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Further information is mailed upon receipt of your reservation. A total of three mailings are sent to assist you in preparing for your tour…Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Our “Get Ready” packet is sent confirming your reservation. Our “Get Set” packet provides further details approximately 90 days prior to departure with important details regarding making your travel arrangements. Finally, our “Go” packet arrives 2-3 weeks before departure containing all your final documents.
Updates: Updates to this document are available from our Discovery Reservations Team, and will be posted online at CountryTravelDiscoveries.com/SDA
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