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solo318

Mt Rushmore area

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So we are thinking of taking a 2 week trip to S.D. next June.  I have been looking at campgrounds and prices. I have been reading lots of reviews. This leads me to some questions.

1. Lot's of complaints about water quality and rust color. I have 100 gallons of fresh water, But that doesn't last 2 weeks for a family of 3. Is there an inline filter good enough to handle this? I don't want to contaminate my entire coach with brown stuff.

2. Price. I see campsites from pretty reasonable to "have you lost your mind?"  Where have you folks stayed?  Is there room enough for my 40 ft coach and my toad? Would you stay there again? was there good value in the amenities?

3. What other things have you done besides MT Rushmore? Is there enough things to do and explore to keep my history loving family entertained for week or 2? What kinds of things are you guys doing? is there an "off the beaten path" way to see the area?

Thanks for any suggestions you have, Steve

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From a historical perspective, I enjoyed the Crazy Horse Monument complex more than Mount Rushmore.  Deadwood has plenty of history.  Day trips to Devil's Tower and Little Bighorn Battleground.  I don't know about two weeks, but one week for sure.  Lot's of history in the area.

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If you get reservations early I think that I would recommend staying in Custer State Park, which has many things to do and see. As to the water, I do not recall any big issue with using the water in the places that we have stayed there, but we do always use a good quality, charcoal block filter for all water. I would agree that a visit to Deadwood is worth your time as is a visit to the town of Custer and also Hill City. There is a steam train between Keystone and Hill city that is fun. The town of Keystone is the closest town to both Custer SP and also to Mt. Rushmore so check it out as it offers many tourist attractions. Also not far away will be Wind Cave NP and Jewell Cave NM so at least one of those should be on your visit list. If you go out of the south entrance to Custer SP you will come to Hot Springs which has a nice city pool supplied by a hot spring and is the home of The Mamoth Site which we found to be very intersting. Bear Country USA is an interesting drive through park with much wildlife. The Crazy Horse Monument is probably worth a visit, but for us it was dissappointing as the progress over the past 20 years is very hard to detect. 

As to day trips, Bighorn Battlefield is 300+ miles one way and Devil's Tower is 130 miles one way. 

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There is also a world class reptile garden in the area (whose name escapes me right now).  It is a very interesting site and I definitely recommend it if your going to be in the area for a while.

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As Kirk says, Custer State Park is a must. I volunteered there for three summers in a row a few years ago. They have 8 campgrounds 7 with electric hookup and each has water available to fill your tank. There is a dump station also in the park. It used to be $25 a night plus the Park Entrance Liscence which is about $15/20 for a week or $30/35 for a statewide annual pass to all SD State Parks. I believe they have a 14 day stay limit. You can reserve up to one year in advance which I highly recommend because June will be sold out if you don’t have a reservation. A must is a drive on the Wildlife Loop Road inside the park. Lots of free range buffalo to see raking around. I also recommend the Hill City/Keystone Train Ride. The Little Big Horn, Custers Last Stand, is a days ride one way to MT and would be a separate camping event, not an excursion from Custer State Park. The city of Deadwood is in the northern black hills and is about 45 minutes from the town of Custer SD.  Very historic town, where Buffalo Bill was shot. It’s looks like a mini Reno NV, with casinos lining the main street. Sturgis is just the other side of Deadwood. It is very crowded the end of July and beginning of Aug for theStrugis Motorcycle Rally. If you like motorcycles it’s great, if you don’t like them I wouldn’t go at that time. 

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2 hours ago, Twotoes said:

As Kirk says, Custer State Park is a must. I volunteered there for three summers in a row a few years ago. They have 8 campgrounds 7 with electric hookup and each has water available to fill your tank. There is a dump station also in the park. It used to be $25 a night plus the Park Entrance Liscence which is about $15/20 for a week or $30/35 for a statewide annual pass to all SD State Parks. I believe they have a 14 day stay limit. You can reserve up to one year in advance which I highly recommend because June will be sold out if you don’t have a reservation. A must is a drive on the Wildlife Loop Road inside the park. Lots of free range buffalo to see raking around. I also recommend the Hill City/Keystone Train Ride. The Little Big Horn, Custers Last Stand, is a days ride one way to MT and would be a separate camping event, not an excursion from Custer State Park. The city of Deadwood is in the northern black hills and is about 45 minutes from the town of Custer SD.  Very historic town, where Buffalo Bill was shot. It’s looks like a mini Reno NV, with casinos lining the main street. Sturgis is just the other side of Deadwood. It is very crowded the end of July and beginning of Aug for theStrugis Motorcycle Rally. If you like motorcycles it’s great, if you don’t like them I wouldn’t go at that time. 

should read "if you like noisy harleys",,

even with the aftermarket muffler"s on my yamaha, and kawasaki both are ten if not one hundred times as quiet as most harleys are. they as a group love loud open pipes and love to rap the throttles a lot.

but i would love to get up that way (bike or no bike) to just see the place. thinking sd as my home state when i retire.

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20 hours ago, Twotoes said:

Load pipes save lives.  

Bull Shit. Intentional riders save lives.  Loud pipes are only loud BEHIND you.  There is nothing more advantageous than staying out of blind spots and assuming that the rest of the world isn't looking. If you think  loud pipes can be heard inside a modern middle class car, you're mistaken.

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Near Custer (town) are several nice parks.  I chose Broken Arrow a few miles out of town but all good road.  Lots of choices, something should fit your needs/wants:  http://www.campgroundreviews.com/regions/south-dakota/custer

When you buy a vehicle pass for Custer State Park, it costs $20. but is good for 7 days!  Lots of gravel roads off the main paved 'loop' road with beautiful scenery, more wildlife and less crowds.  From Broken Arrow you can take a back road into the State Park - or visit Wind Cave, on down to Hot Springs for the Mammoth Site and other attractions.  My 10 days did not give me enough time to visit everything, so will head back next year.  Staying a month is not out of the question for my travel style/interests.

Enjoy your trip!

 

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I will second Rater Bar J RV park it’s beautiful and central to everything. We stayed 10 days at wished it was 3 weeks. Mammoth Hot springs, Crazy Horse, Custer Park, Lead, Sturgis, Devils Tower, Badlands, Rushmore, on and on and on. Check out the caves and small lake hikes. I was blown away with the history in this area.

If you can not stay entertained here, you are behind help! Enjoy

 

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If you want the real "camping" experience then staying in Custer State Park would be great.  However, if you need some additional things at the campground to keep your family happy, like a pool, etc., then I would suggest Elkhorn Ridge RV Park and Campground, Spearfish SD.  We just spent 10 days there (our second time) and it is a great park.  It is centrally located to all the attractions you will want to see, Custer State Park, Needles Highway, Mt. Rushmore, etc.

You can easily spend 2 days in Custer.  We always enjoy the Black Hills.

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We always stay at Keystone or Custer S.D. at Custer/Crazy Horse CG.  At Keystone (within sight of Mt. Rushmore) there are 2 CG's, one is Holy Smoke resort, the other is Miner's rv park and motel, I recommend the RV park. There are more RV parks nearby, but those are the only 2 we have patronized. The town of Keystone is a quaint little place, you can walk the entire town in one afternoon. No parties, loud vehicles, just a quiet small town setting, looks like the 1950's_or was back when we were there.

An interesting story about Custer/Crazy Horse CG, which is about a mile out of town; one stay it was hot in the city of Custer, drove up the mountain to Custer/Crazy Horse CG  and the air was cool, a few minutes later it hailed for about 10 minutes then rained.

Edited by Ray,IN

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Thanks for all the suggestions, Keep em coming! We are going to start calling Campgrounds this week. I'm surprise that so many don't have online registration.

 

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10 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

An interesting story about Custer/Crazy Horse CG, which is about a mile out of town; one stay it was hot in the city of Custer, drove up the mountain to Custer/Crazy Horse CG  and the air was cool, a few minutes later it hailed for about 10 minutes then rained.

We spent all summer near Hot Springs, SD in 2014 and those sudden, quick but violent storms are pretty common in mid summer. A friend who once lived in that area described the weather there as explosive. None of the storms we experienced lasted very long but they can destroy an awning if left down so be cautious. 

34 minutes ago, solo318 said:

Keep em coming!

Is that picture of your RV? That sure looks like it was taken at the Tucson Escapade last March. 

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Yep that's my RV. The picture was taken in the cracker barrel parking lot in Pooler Ga.  "apparently" the rest of the people in the RV aren't interested in "making good time" lol. seriously  though, we always stop there on almost every trip up I95. we have friends nearby.

 

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11 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

 

An interesting story about Custer/Crazy Horse CG, which is about a mile out of town; one stay it was hot in the city of Custer, drove up the mountain to Custer/Crazy Horse CG  and the air was cool, a few minutes later it hailed for about 10 minutes then rained.

During our last visit we experienced hail on three occasions.  The worse was coming back from Wall's on I-90 about 10 miles from Spearfish.  I now have over 300 dents on my 2018 Mini Cooper!  Not a fun thing to sit through.  

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Solo, those 2 CG's I mentioned are not fancy or have much to do there, just simple cheap sites to park the RV while sightseeing. We never spent much time at the RV, we were gone all day every day we stayed there. If you want an RV park with things for kids to do, those are low on the list IMO.

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Minor correction to Twotoes cite.  It wasn't Buffalo Bill that was shot there it was Wild Bill Hickcock in the NO 10 Saloon while play cards and holding what has been called the dead man's hand, full house of aces over eights

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I keep seeing reports of hail in the summertime. Is this like a daily occurrence? While I don't have any skylights or a/c units on the roof, I don't want my roof full of dents either.

 

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1 hour ago, solo318 said:

I keep seeing reports of hail in the summertime. Is this like a daily occurrence? While I don't have any skylights or a/c units on the roof, I don't want my roof full of dents either.

It isn't even close to a daily occurance but it does happen and in most cases it is pretty common. We spent 3 months in the area back in 2014 and had hail several times but never large enough to cause any damage. What you don't want to do is to leave the RV with your awning deployed. There is no guarantee that you will never have weather damage, but that risk is there anywhere you go. If the weather in the Black Hills was dangerous it wouldn't be the popular tourist attraction that it is, but you do need to be aware that it is possible.

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