When I was a little girl, our western South Dakota family vacation every other summer in a hot crowded car, I didn’t realize all the fanfare around it. I had a great time, of course, and many of my summer memories revolve around Wall Drug and its free water and the vast expanse of the beautiful Badlands, but I didn’t realize how many people actually traveled there every summer. When I was back home last month I got a chance to have my kids experience the same vacation spots that I did as a kid. I crammed them into a full, hot car and drove the six hours to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We stopped at the prairie homestead sod house that was built over 100 years ago. We chased prairie dogs. I let the kids run the dusty trails through the Badlands. We sipped free water at Wall Drug and dropped nickels in the wooden box for coffee.
Your South Dakota family vacation
Everywhere we stopped we counted the number of different state license plates we saw. Last fall when we visited Mount Rushmore, we counted the number of different languages we heard. We talked to people that were taking weeks-long trips to tour all the attractions. It made me proud to be from such a popular place. My kids thought it was pretty cool too. Even though we didn’t scratch the surface of all the things we could have seen and done, we kept pretty busy.
I remember stopping at the prairie sod house when I was young, but it was so much more fun this time than I remembered. The kids could choose outfits to wear (they loved that!) and they could play in the house and pretend they were settlers from way back when.
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Making the same memories with my kids as I had as a kid is priceless to me. It was wonderful seeing this place through their eyes.