Vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a one of a kind experience. The forests of the Hills provide visitors with all of the outdoor leisure activities that they could hope for in a picturesque landscape. The charming towns offer a unique assortment of shops, restaurants, and attractions that cannot be found anywhere else. Add in some small town hospitality, and you have a vacation that you won’t soon forget.
The Black Hills
The Black Hills were named for their dark appearance at a distance. Despite their menacing facade, the Hills are a pleasant place to visit. Several small towns are scattered throughout the Black Hills. Each of which offers visitors great places to eat, sleep, and play while on their vacation.
Northern Hills – Deadwood, Sturgis, & Spearfish
In the northern Hills, you’ll find Deadwood, Sturgis, and Spearfish. Deadwood is the only community in America in which the entire town is listed on the National Historic Society. The main attraction in Deadwood is gambling. Hotels and casinos flank downtown Main Street making it the perfect place for adults to unwind. Deadwood offers family-friendly fun too. Watch an authentic gun fight, take an old time photo, or learn about the history of the buffalo. Deadwood truly is fun for all ages.
Sturgis has become well-known for its legendary motorcycle rally. Every August, thousands of motorcycles descend on the small town for 10 days of roaring good times. The festivities include memorial ride, races, concerts, and food competitions. Labor day weekend, Sturgis also hosts the Mustang Rally. Fans of the Ford favorite gather to compete in races and the Show and Shine, or join the parade. So ride into Sturgis and experience the legend for yourself.
Spearfish offers year round fun for outdoor enthusiasts. In the summer months, camping, hiking, fishing, and boating are popular activities. In the autumn, a drive through Spearfish Canyon provides the perfect opportunity for stunning scenery photos. Winter sports include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice climbing. Or you can test your endurance in the 28 Below Fatbike Race or cross-country skiing. Spearfish is truly an outdoor paradise.
Central Hills – Custer, Hill City, & Keystone
The town of Custer, as with many towns in the Black Hills, was settled by gold seekers. This is the history that Custer preserves and cherishes. Every year in July, the Gold Discovery Days festival commemorates the founding of the town and the mineral that made it happen. Just outside of town is the beautiful Custer State Park. 71,000 acres of filled with roaming buffalo, friendly burros, and ever-changing landscape. Hike, bike, or drive through, but this is one stop you won’t want to miss.
Hill City is referred to as the “Heart of the Hills” and it lives up to that name. With friendly locals, great community events, and a plethora of inviting accommodations, you’ll feel right at home. If you are a wine or craft beer connoisseur, Hill City is the place for you. The small town boasts 4 wineries and 2 breweries, all serving locally crafted beverages. Hill City is close to all of the the most popular attractions in the Hills and even has a few of its own. Catch a show, tour a museum, or hop a train to Keystone. You’ll be glad you came to the Heart of the Hills.
Keystone is home to Mount Rushmore. But there is so much more to do than see the great faces. Local attractions allow you to experience the Black Hills from above and below. Helicopters, zip lines, tramways, and mount coasters let you view the Hills from within and above the trees. Cave and mine tours allow you to explore what lies beneath. With over 35 stores, shoppers will love Keystone as well. Grand hotels and delightful restaurants finish off he experience and leave guests feeling satisfied.
Southern Hills – Hot Springs
Long before the first settlers founded Hot Springs, the warm mineral waters were used for spiritual and physical healing. Before that, the area was home to mega meandering mammals. Today, visitors can encounter both. Swim in the healing mineral waters of Hot Springs. Or travel back in time to when mammoth, giant short-faced bears, and sabor-toothed cats walked the earth. Take a stroll through historic downtown Hot Springs. You’ll discover quaint shops selling everything from antiques to souvenirs.
No matter where your Black Hills vacation takes you, you will be greeted with friendly faces and beautiful views.
If you are interested in free attractions in the Black Hills, check out the video below.