Come explore a place steeped in history filled with sky-piercing granite peaks and unparalleled scenic beauty.
Day 1 – Saturday August 31st – Home to Deadwood
Welcome to South Dakota and our home for 2 nights, the Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort. Perched on a hill overlooking Historic Deadwood it features grand views, a spa, and a casino. You’ll have some time to freshen up before dinner. Holiday Inn, Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort (D)
Day 2 – Sunday September 1st – Deadwood – Local touring
Enjoy a tour of Deadwood this morning. A local guide from Boothill Tours will help us discover the Gold Rush of 1874 that changed the area forever. Deadwood grew into one of the area’s largest towns full of miners looking to strike it rich. The legends that surround this small boomtown are known worldwide for being some of the roughest and toughest outlaws around. See first-hand where legendary names like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane walked the historic streets and were laid to rest on Mt Moriah.
Lunch is served at Kevin Costner’s restaurant Diamond Lil’s… Enjoy the scrumptious food as you sit amidst authentic costumes, props, and memorabilia from Costner’s movie career. Next, we’ll head to Tatanka: Story of the Bison. Inspired by the movie “Dances with Wolves”, learn the saga as compelling as any in American history. Your evening is free to enjoy this lively Old West town. Find Wild West history as you see re-enactments of the slaying of Wild Bill Hickok and the trial of his murderer, Jack McCall. Enjoy the casinos and resort. Holiday Inn, Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort (B, L)
Day 3 – Monday September 2nd – Deadwood to Custer State Park
Today, we’ll venture into the world of Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore. From the blasting of the stone to the grandeur of the “Seated Lincoln”, The Borglum story will enable you to understand the significance of Mount Rushmore. You will be amazed that Borglum excelled in so many fields. Next, it’s the masterpiece itself… Mount Rushmore! Enjoy some free time to wander and have lunch in the café. The sheer size of the carving on Mount Rushmore evokes a sense of awe in those who view it. The four presidents carved in stone represent all Americans. They represent our courage, dreams, freedom, and greatness. Next, it’s Crazy Horse Memorial… the world’s largest sculpture in progress. “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too.” These words were spoken by Chief Henry Standing Bear to sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski in 1939… 80 years later the work continues! After some free time in the visitor’s center we’ll have a driving tour to the base of Crazy Horse, before we depart for Custer State Park and Calvin Coolidge’s “Summer” White House.
Our home for the night is Custer State Game Lodge… a gracious native stone and wood lodge built in 1920 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll have time to relax on the front porch or take a leisurely stroll along Grace Coolidge Creek before dinner. The State Game Lodge & Resort (B, D)
Day 4 – Tuesday, September 3rd Custer State Park to Rapid City
This morning, we meet up for an exciting Buffalo Jeep Safari through Custer State Park. The park is the second largest state park in the nation boasting 71,000 acres of land, filled with wildlife and countless breathtaking views. See the roaming bison, prairie dog towns, the begging burros, and antelope. We’ll head for Rapid City this afternoon… it’s considered one of the gateways to the West, and it’s rich with cowboy and Native American heritage. You’ll have some free time downtown to grab a bite and to explore the sculptures of the presidents the town is famous for. Next, we’ll head to the Journey Museum. The museum serves as a forum to preserve and explore the heritage of the cultures of the Black Hills region so we may understand and value our past, enrich our present, and meet the challenges of the future.
Our home for the next two nights is on the National Register of Historic Places! Alex Johnson, Vice President of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, was founder of this grand hotel. An admirer of Native Americans, he spoke of a shrine and tribute to the Sioux Indian Nation. The structural design is a successful blend of two spirits: the heritage of the Plains Indians and the Germanic Tudor architecture representing German immigration. The Historic Alex Johnson (B, D)
Day 5 – Wednesday, September 4th – Bad Lands Wall Drug
First stop today is Bear Country USA… few people have had a full-grown black bear look in their window. Even fewer have seen a reindeer or elk up close! The park is home to 20 species of North American mammals which live in large natural exhibits. While captive born, every effort is made to imitate a wild environment for the animal residents. Larger species roam freely throughout 250 acres of the drive-thru park. Smaller animals, as well as those younger than one year, are exhibited in the Babyland area… you’ll love this place! Next, it’s the Wall Drug Store. Wall used to be known by locals as “the geographical center of nowhere”… that was before they went billboard-crazy! The painted wood signs proclaimed “Wall I’ll Be Drugged”, and “Wall Drug or Bust”, in every state of the union! At their peak in the 1960’s, Wall Drug had over 3,000 highway signs, today, it is a bustling tourist town full of shops and restaurants. Next, enjoy a driving tour through Badlands National Park. The park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. Tonight, we’ll indulge in a scrumptious farewell dinner at the hotel. The Historic Alex Johnson (B, D)
Day 6 – Thursday, September 5th –Bad Lands Wall Drug
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning before making our way to the airport and home with wonderful memories. (B)
$2,684 Double $3,218 Single
A $100 per person deposit will hold space; balance is due by May 28th, 2019