A Day in Downtown Rapid City

A Day in Downtown Rapid City

Traveling to South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and all the natural beauty in the Black Hills and Badlands, you’ll most likely fly into or drive through Rapid City. The walkable downtown area of Rapid City itself is worth a visit, whether you spend a day at the beginning of your trip or take a break from Mother Nature mid-trip. Read more

Here ‘n There in the Midwest: A Look Ahead to 2015

Happy New Year! As you make your resolutions and set your goals for 2015, don’t forget to add in time for recreation and travel. If you can’t afford the time or expense of a long trip, consider day trips or short weekend getaways in the Midwest. No matter the season, there are always plenty of events, attractions and new dining experiences to enjoy. Read on for big things happening in the Midwest in 2015.

2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of Custer State Park’s Buffalo Roundup. It isn’t too early to start planning a trip to western South Dakota for the September 25 event. Park rangers and cowboys round up the park’s 1,300 bison for their annual checkups, including vaccinations and pregnancy tests. More than 14,000 spectators attend each year, and I was one of them in 2014. I’ll be writing more about that exciting adventure in a future blog post.

Buffalo RoundupIf you’re a biker, mark your calender for the August 3-9 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, celebrating their 75th anniversary. Join the expected one million bikers at this legendary event in Sturgis, South Dakota, as you enjoy music, food, bike demos and more.

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Speaking of South Dakota, the western half of the state made the Number 2 spot on Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2015 list because of the above events and its “vast natural beauty, quirky small-town charm, Native American cultural sites, and some famously larger-than-life presidential noggins carved into a mountain.” I spent a week in South Dakota in September. I’ve already shared a few of my experiences with you, including Native American Heritage and Rapid City’s Journey Museum and Chapel in the Hills, but I have many more exciting South Dakota experiences that I’ll tell you about over the next few months.

Dinosaur photo opIndianapolis and Duluth also made Lonely Plant’s Best in the US 2015 top-ten list. Indianapolis is definitely on my list to visit in 2015. Some of the things to check out are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Indy Racing Experience and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, the world’s largest museum for kids. We visited the museum a couple of times when the kids were young, and we enjoyed it as much as the kids did.

Duluth, Minnesota, made Lonely Planet’s list as the “Midwest’s premier outdoors hot spot,” which includes the 290-mile Superior Hiking Trail. I’ve never been to Duluth, but it’s going on the list to do.

St Charles, Illinois, has proclaimed 2015 as the Year of the Scarecrow, as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of Scarecrow Fest, scheduled October 9-11. I’ll let you know about year-long special promotions at participating area hotels and businesses as I get more details.

Have you already made travel plans for 2015? Share them in the comments below, whether in the Midwest or beyond.

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The Journey Museum, Rapid City: Black Hills History and Culture

The Journey Museum, Rapid City: Black Hills History and Culture

'Tic-tac-toeYou won’t find a combination of mountains, dinosaur remains, Native American culture and the Wild West in most Midwest states. The Black Hills in South Dakota is an exception. At the Journey Museum in Rapid City, you’ll find collections of all those things under one roof. Centrally located in western South Dakota, the museum is within a half day of five national parks plus Custer State Park. Visit the museum before you do anything else in South Dakota, and you’ll have a good orientation to the area history and culture. Read more