Today, I will wrap up our vacation to the Black Hills AND share with you some Fun Friday Favorites based on the category: Road Trip Essentials. Because everybody needs essentials when going on a road trip.
On Friday morning, we had our delightful (and free!) hot breakfast at our Holiday Inn Express in Custer, South Dakota and then, drove south about 20ish miles or so to Hot Springs, South Dakota.
First stop: The Mammoth Site
This was a great place to visit and we highly recommend it for all of those who love fossils, animals, dinosaurs, or desire to be a paleontologist. For clarification, I have no future plans of getting a degree in paleontology, but I find the whole process absolutely amazing.
We watched a brief video (about 14 minutes) of how they discovered the 50-70 mammoth skeletons at this site and THEN. Drum roll, Rusty. Or Clark’s wife. Whoever did that on “Christmas Vacation”. ANYWAY. Then, we went with our tour guide into a very large room, only to realize that we were IN the worksite. As in, there were paleontologists ACTUALLY digging (or preserving, for better words) mammoth skulls and other animal bones, AS WE TOURED. It was fascinating.
After immersing ourselves in science, we left The Mammoth Site and drove about 7-10 miles to look for our next adventure. The tourism magazine had a great picture of Cascade Springs and it showed people jumping into a springs, having the best time, and this sounded like something great to do on the beautiful, warm day that it was. Note to self: pictures can be deceiving.
We almost drove past the teeny tiny stop, had we not seen the tiny sign “Cascade Springs”. We got out of the car and headed down towards the springs and that’s all it was, folks. A creek with a small pool of water. Not wanting to disappoint the boys, we let them take off their shorts (no need to change into swim trunks for this small “tourist spot”) and take a dip for about ten minutes or so. For future travelers…no need to drive looking for this site. It’s just like many Iowa creeks. 🙂
Realizing we had done all of the things on our agenda, and since I had made the reservations online, we were able to call our hotel in Custer and get out of the last night’s stay. So, we grabbed our bags from the hotel room, checked out, and started working our way back towards home.
Third stop: Hill City for lunch. You guys. I loved this town every single time we drove through it. I’d recommend staying here if you are coming to the Black Hills. It’s a central location to so many things, they have a some nice hotels (a few have indoor water slides), lots of cool eating and drinking establishments, and cute shops right on the main street.
After a buffalo burger (at least that’s what Hubby and I ordered. Kids? Chicken strips and spaghetti noodles without the sauce. #typicalkids ), we were off towards home, with our next stop being…
Wow. This place is amazing and so unbelievable. We took the Badlands Scenic Loop and it was perfect. Once again, I was all Nervous Nelly because some of those drop offs were really far down!!! YIKES. I had to use my mom voice, even though the boys weren’t too close…it just made me nervous. I’ve realized that my fear of heights has taken on a new level…
After the loop, we headed on eastward towards Mitchell, South Dakota, where we stayed again at the Holiday Inn Express. This was perfect because it had a couple of indoor water slides for the boys. #perfect
With only about 6.5 hours until home, we felt this was a perfect place to stay. AND…we woke up Saturday and made a quick stop in at Cabela’s because everyone loves to go to Cabela’s, right???
With a few stuffed animals purchased, we hit the road and headed for home sweet home.
And that, my friends…was our trip to the Black Hills! A wonderful time and we all loved this vacation!
Now, because it’s a lengthy post already…I’ll leave you with just a few road trip essentials:
1. Corn Nuts –
Hubby and I…we LOVE us some Corn Nuts. A perfect salty treat that we enjoyed on our road trip to the Black Hills.
2. Dr. Pepper –
I’m making a HUGE effort to drink more water, but a few times, I splurged on the trip and got a delicious Dr. Pepper. Not diet. Straight up regular. And I loved every ounce of it.
3. Twizzler Nibs –
This was a necessity. A little sweet to balance out the salty Corn Nuts. Love the Nibs. I’m a big fan.
4. Essie Bachelorette Bash nail polish –
On a 10.5 hour road trip, you’ll have plenty of time to paint your nails (IF you aren’t the one driving). I love OPI nail polish, but this color caught my eye awhile back and I tried it on our trip. LOVED it. Essie is so easy to apply and stayed on great! (I did apply OPI base coat and OPI top coat to help it stay on longer.) When painting one’s nails, just be careful of bumps in the road. 🙂
5. Target’s brand of nail polish remover pads –
I heard about these and oh. my. word. Love them. No more nail polish remover bottles to tot on a trip, just take a few packets of these pads. Now, I will say. One pad is suppose to remove the nail polish from all ten of your nails, but I got about eight nails wiped clean and had to tear open one more packet. But that’s okay. I’m happy I didn’t have any bottles to mess with. These are a MUST if you like to paint your nails and you are going to travel. #easyandnomess
Thanks for sticking with me today! I realize I wrote 4 blog posts about the Black Hills, but I wanted to give you the low down. That way, you can pull this up when you plan your family vacation to the Black Hills and know the great places to see and stay!
Have a wonderful weekend! ~ Angela Banae