• Melissa Neeb

Chasing South Dakota Landscapes

Exploring the Black Hills for the first time!

Badlands, South Dakota at sunrise.

The sunrises in South Dakota, with it's wide expanses and palpable stillness, were breathtaking.

We recently took a vacation to the Black Hills. It was me and my kids' first time there, and my husband hadn't been there since childhood. It was a vacation to be remembered.


We got to the Badlands (completely unplanned) at sunrise. We had to get out of the car and explore this incredible landscape. This was an awesome way to kick off the trip!

Wall Drug

We were not expecting it to be so big. An iconic place to stop in South Dakota, we couldn't resist taking some time here to see the shops and pick up a souvenir.

Mount Rushmore

We couldn't go to the Black Hills and not see Mount Rushmore. I'm glad after all these years, I finally got to see this amazing work of art.

Custer State Park

This state park is massive. There is so much to do here. We spent 3 days visiting different parks of this park: Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Wildlife Loop, and Black Elk Peak.

Black Elk Peak was unforgettable. We hiked 7 miles total, there and back, to an elevation of 7,244 feet. It was exhausting, breath-taking (literally), and awe-inspiring. It is the highest natural point in the U.S. east of the Rockies.

Tip: Bring more water than you think you'll need. We brought 4 water bottles and could've easily drank double that. We were all quite dehydrated after the hike.


The energy in this town is heavy; full of history. Exploring Deadwood wouldn't have been complete without a ghost tour. We had some unusual, eerie experiences in the Historic Fairmont Inn after dark. If you are intrigued by the paranormal (Hello, fellow Ghost Adventure fans!), this tour is must.

South Dakota is a beautiful state. If you are looking for an affordable family vacation, a long weekend of hiking, or some magical sunrises, this is the place to go!

Happy summering!


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