This past summer during July and August we were able to take an incredible trip. We drove over 5,000 miles for 17 days to see South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Canada. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. We can’t wait to take you along on our adventure and share with you all of our fun stories. After leaving Lexington our first stop was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We visited Anna’s college roommate for a couple days. On the night we arrived they took us to the Milwaukee famous Kopp’s Frozen Custard for burgers, fries and of course custard. The next day she took us downtown to this cute little Milwaukee Public Market. At the market, we got to try deep fried cheese curds for the first time. They were absolutely delicious. Afterward, we went to the iconic Milwaukee Art Museum and walked around the waterfront area downtown. The building that houses the art museum is spectacular. A place you must visit if you are ever in Milwaukee.After visiting friends in Wisconsin our first stop was Badlands National Park in South Dakota. This dramatic landscape reminds me of a smaller inverted Grand Canyon. It is filled with steep canyons, layered rocks, and spires. As you drive through the canyons you begin to feel pretty tiny as the enormous canyons and cliffs rise around you. We entered the park through the northeast entrance. Our first stop was at the Ben Reifel Visitor’s Center just inside Badlands National Park. There we picked up maps and also a Christmas ornament. Anna loves to collect Christmas ornaments everywhere we go. We even have a Christmas tree just for our travel ornaments. It is always fun to remember and relive our adventures.
Badlands National Park is filled with wildlife. We saw all kinds of animals including bighorn sheep, deer, buffalo, and our favorite prairie dogs. We might have been tempted more than once to stick one in our car and take it home. They live in the cutest little packs and are quite talkative. You can spot them on the side of the road all over the park. Just look for several mounds of dirt close together. You definitely find them at Roberts Prairie Dog Town which is located near the Pinnacles entrance to the park. Also near the Pinnacles Entrance is the city of Wall, South Dakota. On our way from Milwaukee to the Badlands, we saw tons of signs all across the state for a place called Wall Drug. Our anticipation built for hours and hours and so we had to go and visit this place. Wall Drug did not disappoint, we bought all kinds of fun goodies and even took a picture on a giant Jackalope. The town of Wall is a great place to eat and even stay the night. It is conveniently located just outside of the Badlands National Park. On the day we arrived we watched the sunset at the Pinnacles Overlook at Badlands National Park. The park is especially beautiful at this time of day. After sunset, we drove to the Cedar Pass Campground which is located near the visitor’s center. We stayed at campsite 56 which only cost about $24 a night. It was a nice campground but unfortunately did not have any showers. The view of the stars from our tent was spectacular. Badland National Park is a fantastic place for stargazing. We woke up at 5 AM the next morning and drove to the Big Badlands Overlook for sunrise. It was a beautiful place for sunrise. In my opinion, the park is the most beautiful at sunrise and a few hours afterward.
A majority of Badlands National Park can be seen by driving through the park and stopping at the overlooks. We, unfortunately, did not do any of the hikes because our time was limited there. We drove the Badlands Loop Road through the park and continued on the Sage Creek Rim Road which is a dirt road through another part of the park. We met up with Highway 44 on our way to visit Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota. Mount Rushmore is located about 2-3 hours away from the Badlands depending on what part of the park you are in. We really enjoyed our time in the Badlands and wish we had spent more time. I felt like we really maximized our time there.
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Badlands National Park in South Dakota:
Cedar Pass Campground:
Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota
Milwaukee Art Museum:
Milwaukee Public Market
Kopp’s Frozen Custard in Milwaukee, WI: