Stay in the loop!

Want to know when we share big things? Subscribe today & keep up-to-date with our posts.

Summer In Rapid City

We were so excited when the South Dakota Department of Tourism invited us back to visit this summer. This time, we stayed in Rapid City and it did not disappoint! We had such a blast, I wish we had stayed another day just to squeeze in a few more activities. Some of you messaged me on Instagram and asked exactly what we did because you were planning trips this summer/fall too, so below is a breakdown of our trip.

We took an early flight out, and it always amazes me how dads can sleep anywhere during anything. Pearl has been a little crazy on planes lately, so we were thankful it was only a 50-minute flight.. First stop off the plane after landing in Rapid City was this amazing park called Storybook Island. By far the coolest free park I’ve ever been too, it’s full of playsets from storybook characters that kids can play and climb on. Our favorite was the pirate ship!

We went to lunch at Kol and grabbed a coffee at Essence of Coffee.  – which was SO good. We ended up going back to Essence of Coffee three more times! I’m still dreaming about my latte.

Next up was Dinosaur Park! I think we need one of these in every city. This was an easy drive and overall easy park to hike up with little kids. They have the long neck positioned just right that you can see it standing up on the hill when you’re driving around Rapid City. Olive still looks out the window and asks where are the dinosaurs!?
My favorite thing about South Dakota is how family-friendly it is. There are so many outdoor activities accessible right in town. We visited Canyon Lake Park which is located right in Rapid City where you can rent paddle boats and fish. The girls had fun chasing the ducks and we had so much fun on the paddle boat. Olive kept asking to get in the water so Austin dipped her in a few times so, of course, Pearl wanted to do it too. It was a lot of work with two littles who wanted to sit in our laps and kind of hard to get photos but definitely a super fun memory. We also wanted to hike M Hill, which is an easy hike right in the middle of the city, but each time we tried someone fell asleep.
That night we spent the evening at the Downtown Summer Night Concert Series after we grabbed dinner at Que Pasa Cantina (which was so yummy!). When eating out with the girls, we always try to find outdoor seating and this place was perfect! The concert was a blast too. We just walked over to the downtown square and they had so much going on – a live band that the girls loved to dance too., a jump house, face painting, and ice cream! It goes on every Thursday evening in the summer, how fun!

*I know that picture of Pearly is blurry but I couldn’t help but share because she is living her #bestlife dancing away to the music.

One of the days we were visiting, the girls really needed a long nap. When we travel, naps kind of get pushed so we can go and see #allthethings but this day, they were melting. So we grabbed a yummy breakfast at Harriet & Oak and headed up to Spearfish Canyon. One of you recommended Roughlock Falls on Instagram when I said we were looking for a long drive. So we headed up and the girls got some great sleep! I am not the best with using maps… and I made the mistake of thinking that after the girls slept we would be driving back through Custer State Park, to see the bison and do all the fun activities, and I was wrong. So we didn’t end up getting to go to Custer State Park and we were all bummed. So make sure you go and visit Sylvan Lake and take a jeep tour for us and I’ll live through your photos!

Getting to see Mount Rushmore National Memorial was for sure the highlight of the trip. On the drive up, you turn a corner and there it is, in all its glory! I was so surprised how once you park, you just walk right up to it! Everything was really accessible and there was a lot of information everywhere. We spent a good amount of time here going down different trails and taking it all in. South Dakota really lives up to their slogan of #greatfacesgreatplaces and I hope the girls treasure these photos forever!

After seeing the monument we headed to Bear Country USA. It’s a drive-thru wildlife park full of all sorts of animals! The highlight was for sure the bears. We let the girls sit on our laps and heard so many “whoas” and “oooooo’s”. There were SO many bears! They would stop in front of your car and hold up traffic. It was a blast to get to see them that close. For sure make a stop if you are visiting, and check out Reptile Gardens as well! After that, we went back to town for lunch and to play in the splash pad Main Street Square fountains. Then we headed back to our hotel to swim one more time and to change for dinner! We stayed at the Best Western Ramkota and loved the pool.

Meet the Author

Stephanie Pollock

My names Stephanie! Im a mama to two little girls (Olive + Pearl) and a baby on the way! My husband Austin and I live in Colorado near the base of the mountains and love every minute of it. We try and get outside everyday to adventure no matter the weather but also love a good nap and dinner around the table. Our lives are a little bit on the go with 3 babes under 3 but we love it!

latest blog posts

Stephanie Pollock
Guest Blogger

My names Stephanie! Im a mama to two little girls (Olive + Pearl) and a baby on the way! My husband Austin and I live in Colorado near the base of the mountains and love every minute of it. We try and get outside everyday to adventure no matter the weather but also love a good nap and dinner around the table. Our lives are a little bit on the go with 3 babes under 3 but we love it!

View More

Latest Blog Post

  • The Most Unique Souvenir From The Black Hills
    January 21, 2020 - Cody
  • The Best Of Both Worlds
    November 5, 2019 - Cody
  • Construction at Mount Rushmore? More Like Enhancements
    September 3, 2019 - Cody
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Winter Fun In Custer State Park
    January 16, 2020 - Kelsy
  • Top Visitor Questions from 2019
    January 8, 2020 - Kelsy
  • Five Ways To Have A Merry Holiday
    December 23, 2019 - Kelsy
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Hibernation Is Overrated For The Critters Of The Black Hills
    December 5, 2019 - Anne
  • 5 Reasons I Love Downtown Rapid City
    May 31, 2019 - Anne
  • Get Your Hike On
    March 25, 2019 - Anne
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City's "Little Secret"
    November 20, 2019 - Chris
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Planning A Meeting In Rapid City Is Easy - And Adventurous
    November 13, 2019 - Tyson
  • 5 Reasons Meeting Planners Love Rapid City
    February 6, 2019 - Tyson
  • Amazing Rush Season 2: Day Two Adventures
    October 27, 2017 - Tyson
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The 7 Wonders In and Around Rapid City, SD
    October 10, 2019 - Allie Bast
  • Latest Blog Post

  • IN HISTORY: 1st Custer State Park Buffalo Auction, Feb. 12, 1966
    August 23, 2019 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • In History: First Blast On Crazy Horse Memorial, June 3, 1948
    April 5, 2019 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • IN HISTORY: Rapid City Founded, Feb. 24, 1876
    February 22, 2018 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Summer In Rapid City
    August 1, 2019 - Stephanie
  • Latest Blog Post

  • An Oz Experience: Flying With The Oldest Balloon Company In The USA
    July 26, 2019 - Danielle
  • My Daughter's First Time At Storybook Island
    June 7, 2019 - Danielle
  • Big, Bold Flavors Where The Buffalo Roam
    December 8, 2017 - Danielle
  • Latest Blog Post

  • 10 Must-Do Adventures In And Around Rapid City
    July 3, 2019 - Chris Brinlee Jr.
  • How To Get The Most Out Of A Black Hills Adventure
    August 17, 2017 - Chris Brinlee Jr.
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Most Exciting Social Event Of The Summer
    May 10, 2019 - Jennifer
  • Get Lost, Play Tag…Be Brave
    May 8, 2019 - Jennifer
  • Make Unbearably Perfect Memories at Bear Country USA
    March 2, 2018 - Jennifer
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Outdoor Campus West: Free Family Fun!
    April 24, 2019 - Shiloh
  • Experience the Magic at Storybook Island
    December 5, 2018 - Shiloh
  • Add Some Color to Your Life
    April 25, 2018 - Shiloh
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Mount Rushmore Questions You’ve Been Dying to Ask
    February 8, 2019 - Michaela
  • Top 5 Trails Within 30 Minutes of Rapid City
    March 8, 2018 - Michaela
  • Rapid City from Michaela’s point of view.
    October 17, 2016 - Michaela
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City Myth Busting
    January 25, 2019 - Sarah
  • Downtown Shopping
    January 3, 2019 - Sarah
  • My Favorite Parks and Monuments
    January 29, 2016 - Sarah
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Custer State Park Trail Challenge
    October 26, 2018 - Amy
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Our Family Vacation To South Dakota
    September 21, 2018 - Liz Beatty
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Black Hills Powwow: A Kaleidoscope of Color
    September 5, 2018 - Kris Monroe
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Wild Adventures Out West
    July 12, 2018 - Kevin Stinehart
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City Blog: Spearfish Canyon
    June 25, 2018 - Aiden Lynn-Klimenko & Madison Perrins
  • Rapid City Blog: Trail System
    November 14, 2016 - Aiden Lynn-Klimenko & Madison Perrins
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Top Picks For Outdoor Adventure At 9 Parks & Monuments
    April 11, 2018 - Lisa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Mount Rushmore of Summer Vacations
    April 9, 2018 - Ginny
  • 8 Great Reasons to Love Spring in the Black Hills
    January 29, 2018 - Ginny
  • Four Ways Rapid City Lives Up To The Hype
    June 23, 2016 - Ginny
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Refresh Your Adventure At Rapid City Microbreweries
    January 16, 2018 - Stephen Sebestyen
  • Latest Blog Post

  • In The Spirit Of The Season: The Story Of Devils Tower National Monument
    October 10, 2017 - Amanda Hitchcock
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City's Wildside
    October 5, 2017 - Adrian Munoz
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City - Reptile Gardens, Bear Country USA, Watiki Water Park, Outdoor Campus West
    July 7, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Rapid City South Dakota - We Made It!
    July 6, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Custer State Park Jeep Tour, Chuckwagon, Buffalo, Antelope!
    July 6, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Beginners Guide: Being A Tourist In Your Backyard
    June 2, 2017 - Tessa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The adventure of a lifetime in Rapid City
    March 20, 2017 - Ellen and Mike
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Basil, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Wine…Just A Few Of My Favs
    January 27, 2017 - Stacie
  • 1,200 Degrees of Taste Bud Paradise
    January 15, 2017 - Stacie
  • Latest Blog Post

  • A Black Hills Winter
    December 23, 2016 - Jesse
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Travelin with Tiff: Rush Mountain Adventure Park
    December 13, 2016 - Tiffany
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Downtown Trails and Recreation
    July 5, 2016 - Lisa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • 3 Mountain Bike Rides to Jump Start Your Black Hills Adventures
    May 20, 2016 - Craig
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Shredding in the Black Hills
    March 10, 2016 - Bill