I love Wyoming, but South Dakota has some cool stuff, too

My wife and I took our kids to Rapid City, South Dakota, for spring break, and it turned out to be the best family vacation we’ve ever taken. If you’re looking for something to do this summer, think about a trip to the Black Hills.

Our family vacations are often outdoor trips. We try to go camping several times each summer, and we do our best to get to the lakes or rivers for fishing trips as much as we can.

But every once in a while, we do like to visit more civilized places. Especially early in the season, when a night in a tent might be a little chillier than any of us are completely comfortable with.

That’s what led us to Rapid City, South Dakota, in early April. My kids’ spring break was too early for a pleasant camping trip, so we loaded up the 4Runner and headed northeast. Admittedly, the way we got the kids excited about the trip was to tell them we were going to a water park. But that was only a small bit of what attracted Amy and me to the Black Hills.

On the way up, we stopped at Devil’s Tower. We’ve been there before, but it never fails to amaze me.

When we got to Rapid, we stayed at a hotel connected to the WaTiki water park, and we let the boys splash around and slip down the slides for a couple hours each day. But the rest of the day, we struck out to the surrounding area to explore.

There’s more to do around Rapid City than we could hope to do in three days, but we hit the highlights. We introduced the kids to a bunch of snakes at the Reptile Gardens, we took a driving tour of Custer State Park, and we checked out as much of the Black Hills National Forest as we could.

We tried to see the Wind Cave and the Jewel Cave, but the Jewel Cave isn’t open on the weekends until the summer. That’s probably what caused so many visitors to the Wind Cave, and the tours were sold out for it before we got there.

Visit as much of Wyoming as you can this summer. But if you want a little variety, take a trip to the Black Hills. It’s worth the drive.