Black Hills Family Vacation Wonderful Start to Summer

Last week my family had a quick trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota. We watched a little of the state high school track meet, visited a college, and did some sightseeing.

One of my favorite vacation things to do is visit museums, visitor centers, and bookstores. We did all three, and I came home with several books.

A couple of my souvenirs. All photos by Deb Watley.

A couple of my souvenirs. All photos by Deb Watley.

I’ve been out to the Black Hills a couple of other times, but this was our first visit to Wall Drug. I knew it was a big tourist stop, but was thrilled to find Wall Drug also housed a bookstore!

Hole in the Wall Book Store at Wall Drug

Hole in the Wall Book Store at Wall Drug.

We visited the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in Hill City. The museum houses many fossils from the area. The paleontologists who run the museum were the ones who dug up Sue, the famous T-Rex. Then, in Lead, we learned about the former Homestake gold mine at the Black Hills Mining Museum.

We also admired lovely scenery, including Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon and the Badlands east of the Black Hills–such different topography, yet so close to each other.

Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon

Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon

Badlands, South Dakota

Badlands, South Dakota

Of course, we ate at some local landmark restaurants: The Firehouse Brewing Company and Tally’s Silver Spoon, both in Rapid City, and The HomestakeĀ Chop House in Lead.

In a previous trip to the Black Hills, we attended a chuckwagon supper, and we visited Mt. Rushmore, Bear Country, the Cosmos, and Hot Springs’ mammoth dig. I’ve yet to visit the Crazy Horse sculpture, the Petrified Forest, or any of the caves. Guess we’ll have to go back!

Have you visited the Black Hills? What are your favorite spots?

Even though I’m not traveling now, I’m still in vacation-mode. I’ll return to my blog on Tuesday, June 30. Happy summer!


  1. jheitman22

    So glad you got to experience all of this, Deb! I love the Black Hills and have spent some time there almost every year of my life (which is quite a few now)! It has something for everyone!

  2. Deb Watley

    Sightseeing in the Hills has been fun, but now I’d love to go back and spend some time there. Drinking coffee on a balcony or porch while drinking in the scenery sounds heavenly to me. I thought about sending you a photo of the Hearst Library in Lead to see if you knew where we were!

  3. Cathy

    It has been a long time since I have been to the Black Hills. We went there when I was a little girl. I loved seeing the waterfall. It is a beautiful place.

    • Deb Watley

      Hi, Cathy! I think it’s like other tourist spots–developed a lot. But there also lots of hiking and camping places. I’d like to do some EASY hiking near the waterfall sometime.

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