Black Hills is a Vacation Destination


Misty Bunnell

Devil’s Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon

The Black Hills of South Dakota is a vacation destination for people all over the world. Millions of people visit every year to take in the beauty and attractions. But how many of the people who live here have actually taken in the sights?

The Department of Agriculture states that the Black Hills are only 125 miles long and 65 miles wide. It is a small area, but there is a lot to do, from camping, skiing, historical sightseeing, cave exploration, scenic drives, and much more.

According to, Mount Rushmore, one of South Dakota’s most well-known monuments, had 2.1 million visitors in 2014. That is only a fraction of the visitors who come to the Black Hills. We have national forests, historic locations, tourist attractions, and annual rallies. During the summer months it gets very busy in the Black Hills. Those who live here can get frustrated with the increase of activity.

“It gets so crazy, I just want to leave,” said Jully Davis, a resident of Rapid City.

A lot of Black Hills residents enjoy the great outdoor activities but do not think about sightseeing unless they have family or company come in from out of the area. Mike Spaulds of Belle Fourche said he just does not think about it. “I have lived here all my life and I take my vacations other places.” He did say he enjoys the fishing and camping in the Belle Fourche area but normally does not travel anywhere else in the hills.

Vacationing in ones backyard is not something many consider, but there can be benefits to doing so. After a day at Reptile Gardens or Spearfish Canyon a “stay-cationer” can return home to sleep in his or her own bed instead of spending money on a hotel room. Day trips are easy to do in the Black Hills. There is no need to stuff all the sightseeing into a one-week trip. Living here means you can plan a day whenever time allows.

“My husband and I did our honeymoon in the hills,” said Donna Burnd, a long time Spearfish resident. Burnd and her husband spent their honeymoon in a camper and toured the Black Hills. She said that is was fun and they saved money because fees for camping are lower than motel prices. Now that she has children she makes sure to take them to the many attraction so they can appreciate all the Black Hills have to offer.

Detroit Free Press writer Ellen Creager, in her article “Mt. Rushmore, Black Hills provide South Dakota’s view for the ages” She said, “I spent five days in this southwest corner of South Dakota, and I have to say I will add it to my unexpected favorite travel spots.”

With the rich history and breath-taking sights it is no wonder that the Hills attract so many people. The next time you plan a vacation take the time to look in your own backyard. You can join the millions of tourists who make the Black Hills of South Dakota their vacation destination, and still enjoy the comforts of home.