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Family Camping In South Dakota: The Black Hills

In case no one has ever told you, SD Black Hills is a vacation you must take once in your life. Especially if you have children. There is a great amount of fun to be had by all in the Hills.

We went as a family of five when Jadis had turned one years old. The only issue with camping while having a little one like her was the fire at night. She wasn’t going towards the flames as much as she just didn’t look where she was walking at the time. We were all hands on Jadis whenever we had the campfire going during the whole trip. We kept her very safe and at times we chose to start the fire after she was in bed for the night.

We didn’t own a trailer for this trip, but we did buy the best tent at Target and some great camping gear to go with the tent.


Our parents gave us some goody bags that included car games, snacks, cash and a Veggie Tales sing along CD. One of the most funniest part of the whole trip was Ryan memorizing one of the entire Veggie Tales song. Unfortunately, my mind has forgotten which one it was, but I am sure if I were to hear it today I would recall the fond memory of our family vacation to South Dakota the Black Hills.


I was the one in charge of all the planning for this trip. Ryan was busy with work and I was new to being a stay at home mom of 3. I really enjoyed researching the different pit stops along the way. I made sure we took many breaks to stretch and take in a local sight that had to be seen.

Our first overnight campground was in the town of Mitchell, SD. The campground was located on Lake Mitchell and the creative people who named this campground named it Lake Mitchell Campground! I was very pleased when we pulled into our site. We got an amazing view of the foggy lake and our tent was next door to another homeschooling family. Making friends when you are camping comes easy. They traveled from Canada and were just starting their 4 month tour all in a tent!


The next morning I had planned for us to take in the famous Corn Palace which is also located in Mitchell, SD. As great as it looked in the flyers we did a drive by “Hey Kids, look it’s the Corn Palace! Let’s keep going.” I did this for one reason – we just loaded the truck and started back on the road towards the Black Hills. I was willing to forego the stop to get further down to our main destination.


The marketing company for Wall Drug should get an award for the Best Suspense in Sign Usage! This free family attraction is quite the must see event. We made sure to pick up a souvenir for each of us while visiting Wall Drug. Also, they have free water for your whole family 🙂


Our final stop that night was at the KOA Campground in Rapid City, SD. It had been a long fun day, but I remember being happy to rest there for a couple of nights.


We were able to take in a Chuckwagon supper and show at the Flying T and we found our inner child at Storybook Island.


To mix things up I moved our last camping site to a place called Mystery Mountain Resort. Which was the best place on Earth to camp during our stay in the Black Hills, SD. I won’t give away the “mystery”, but I will tell you it thundered in the hills during our stay there. I have never in all my life heard such force behind a storm! So cool and scary at the same time.


The rest of our stay was spent searching for gold in the Big Thunder Gold Mine (check out their website for coupons), taking family photos at Mount Rushmore, making sure all doors and windows were locked during our visit to Bear Country and above everything else camping 🙂


Teaching the kids about history at Mount Rushmore.


Do NOT Feed The BEARS!!


Those were the highlights to our last visit to the Black Hills, SD. I think we are overdue for another adventure in the Hills – The Black Hills.

jason anderson

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

great story, sounds identical to our trip last summer!! mystery mountain is the best campground, quiet and tidy and close to anything.


Saturday 25th of May 2013

Sounds like you must have had a great trip too. The best part of Mystery Mountain was that it was so close to Bear Country it was almost scary!