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Five Things To Add To Your Bucket List

I’ve lived in Rapid City for most of my life. Because of this, I checked several bucket list items off my list before I turned 8 years old. Even though I was fortunate enough to grow up around these amazing attractions they will always be a part of my Black Hills Bucket List. Here are the top 5 Black Hills attractions you should add to your Bucket List!

National Parks and Monuments 

I decided to make this one section because otherwise, this list would be a lot longer! The Black Hills are home to six National Parks and Monuments. These include the awe-inspiring landscapes of Badlands National Park and two of the longest caves in the world, Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park. Who could forget about Mount Rushmore National Memorial, or pass up the opportunity to go back in time and experience what might have been at Minute Man Missile National Historical Site. If you’re up for it, cross over the South Dakota-Wyoming Border to see the oldest national memorial, Devils Tower National Monument.




To compile the ultimate Black Hills bucket list, you can’t leave any of these amazing parks and monuments out. I could explore the trails around Jewel Cave and gaze across the vast landscapes of the Badlands every day! 


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Custer State Park 

By far my favorite state park ever! There is so much about Custer State Park that makes it bucket list worthy. Like the annual Buffalo Round Up, where 1,300 buffalo stampede across the prairie while cowboys whoop and holler to keep them together in order to corral them. It’s one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life, but there are so many other things you can do every day in the  Park. Sylvan Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world (to me). The unique rock formations around the lake make it one that you will not easily forget. Among my favorite things to do in Custer State Park is cruising down Wildlife Loop Road. This is the first place I ever saw the mighty bison and it took me 24 years to check it off my list. It was awesome.


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The City of Presidents 

 One of the coolest things about Rapid City is  ties to history and patriotism can be found on almost every corner. One of the biggest tributes to our nation is the City of Presidents. This attraction is located in Downtown Rapid City and features every past commander in chief as a tribute to the legacy the American presidency holds. I vaguely remember when this project started in 2000 and I am overjoyed to see how much it has grown throughout the years. If you go downtown and don’t take a selfie with your favorite president, you are not doing Downtown Rapid City right!


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Rushmore Cave 

The cave is located at Rush Mountain Adventure Park and is one of the coolest caves to see. Plus, it's over 90 years old! When I visited the cave for the first time and was so impressed by the history it held, walking into the Big Room and seeing all the magnificent formations is one that should be on your list of sights to see for sure! If you are traveling with children, they will be thrilled to ride the Mountain Coaster or fighting zombies in the 7-D Gun Slinger ride after walking through the cave.


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Crazy Horse Memorial

Mount Rushmore is obviously a huge draw for visitors coming to Rapid City, but did you know the largest mountain carving in progress is also in the Black Hills? Crazy Horse Memorial is in one word, magnificent. I have driven past the monument many times in my life but it wasn’t until recently I actually visited the memorial. I went during one of their night blasts. It was a beautiful experience. I was also able to see a performance by local Native American dancers and watch their laser light show. I highly recommend planning your trip around a blast or staying for the laser show, it is unforgettable.

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Meet the Author

Anne Orban

Anne was born and raised in the Rushmore State and is so glad to call a place with so much beauty home. After spending a few short years away in college, she is happy to be back in the place she loves most, Rapid City.  

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Anne Orban
Social Media and Content Developer

Anne was born and raised in the Rushmore State and is so glad to call a place with so much beauty home. After spending a few short years away in college, she is happy to be back in the place she loves most, Rapid City.  

Anne tries to live her life authentically documenting everything with her trusty Nikon D5200. She can often be found writing in coffee shops, on a new hiking trail with friends, or walking her beagle in any of the parks around town. As a perpetual wanderlust, Anne has taken a few road trips and plans on taking many more. Her favorite past time is playing tourist in her own back yard and finding hidden treasures in the Black Hills.

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