Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills are iconic attractions. When visiting South Dakota, there are many impressive national parks and landmarks to see. If you are visiting the Badlands or the most advertised roadside attraction known as Wall Drug, stopping off at Mount Rushmore is a must.
VISITING MOUNT RUSHMORE
Technically, there are a couple of different ways that you can see Mount Rushmore. I read a few months before going myself that you could actually just drive on the road that passes the entrance and get some good (and free) views. That is exactly what we did. While we didn’t get up super close and personal with the monument, we definitely were close enough to get some good photos and views.
You also have the option of seeing Mount Rushmore in the more traditional way, by paying the fee. The fee is not actually for entering the park itself, but rather for parking. You can expect to pay $11 per vehicle to use the parking lot. If you choose to go inside of the monument area, you will find things such as the Avenue of Flags. If you are visiting between May and September, each evening there is a sculpture lighting ceremony.
COSMOS MYSTERY AREA
After taking in plenty of Mount Rushmore views, I saw a sign for something that I remember seeing on the Travel Channel when I was a child. It is called the “Cosmos Mystery Area.” Basically, it is a cabin that was built in 1952 and is full of optical illusions. For example, you can switch spots with someone who is standing directly beside you on level ground and go from being shorter to taller than them. It is $11 per person for a 30-minute tour. Whether you are into optical illusions or not, it is still a unique area with an interesting history behind it. Definitely something to check out if you are already in the area!
DEVILS TOWER NATIONAL MONUMENT
Also located within the Black Hills, you will find Devils Tower National Monument. This geological formation is the basis for many Native American legends and is well worth a drive by. The park that surrounds it was actually the nation’s first national monument as claimed by president Roosevelt back in 1906.
Along with the above mentioned and the Badlands, this is an area you could easily explore for a week or more. These locations are great for any outdoor lover and also for those who just want to see some of the most stunning areas that the United States has to offer.
Have you visited any of these areas? Which was your favorite?