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My family loves road trips! We try to take a road trip every so often to drive out to the outlets in Baton Rouge or Gulfport so when we decided we were going to make a major road trip to visit some sites as part of the National Park service!
We first arrived at the Rapid City Airport close to 11 pm. Shocked how dark the city is, we decided to stop by the grocery store to ensure we had snacks for the following morning when we visited Badlands National Park. As soon as we pulled up to the main road, a herd of deer greeted and welcomed us to Rapid City. The entire family instantly realized that we were no longer in New Orleans.
Our National Parks Trip was a trip of many firsts; we rented a cabin from Yak Ridge off of VRBO. The cabin was perfect and quaint! We had three beds, one bathroom, a kitchen, and a living area. It was the perfect cabin for our three-night stay.
The first day in the Black Hills, we opted for a road trip out to visit Wall Drug Store, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, and Badlands National Park.
Wall Drug Store
The first stop, Wall Drug Store, is one of America’s favorite roadside attractions! Back in 1931, the drug store used to advertise free ice water to lure tired travelers into their drug store. Now, Wall Drug’s recreated those famous billboards and people, like us, make sure to go out of their way to visit. After planning our trip Wall Drugs’s, I told my family that we just HAD to have some of their Five Cent Coffee, a delicious doughnut and see what there was to do in Wall.
Badlands National Park
Our first glimpse of Badlands National Park was incredibly breathtaking. It is amazing how this area in the middle of South Dakota is just standing there undisturbed showing all of the different layers of earth. As soon as we entered the Northeast Entrance, we bolted to the first overlook – Big Badlands Overlook – to soak it all in.
After the overlook, we took the Door and Window Trail (most of these trails are hand capable). While we were on these trails, we realized that the Badlands looks like what Mars would be if we were ever to visit.
After we got our fill of “hiking,” we then visited the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and found out that the Fossil Exhibit Trail was also suitable for our needs. We were able to take a little stroll on the boardwalk while learning about fossils; unfortunately, there aren’t any actual fossils to see (of course, a tourist would probably try to steal one if that were the case.
After driving around on the Badlands Loop, we were able to see some wildlife! There was a whole area where we could just see Prairie dogs. We had pulled over to enjoy the view and all of a sudden we heard this weird squeaking sound. I saw that a couple of people had pulled their cars over to the other side of the street, whipped out my binoculars and saw the precious prairie dogs. After watching for a while, we decided to continue our way throughout the park and stumbled across our first sighting of Buffalo.
After we had finished up at the park, we ended up going to Firehouse Brewing Company per suggestions from Locals and online reviews. Now, I knew that food in this area of the United States wouldn’t be that great (minus the beef!) so any recommendations were needed. Thank goodness this place was a brewery because the beers on tap were great. I ordered a jalapeno beer while my sister ordered a coffee stout. The food- wasn’t that great, I ordered the bison burger ($3 up charge from beef), and my mother ordered a salad that was disappointing
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