Exploring the area around Mount Rushmore

July 29, 2011 12:00 AM

If you told someone you were going to go vacation in South Dakota, their likely response would be "why?" Sure, the famous Mount Rushmore is there, but beyond that the state isn't really known for much of anything. However, it's this unexplored and underrated quality that gives South Dakota its charm.

You should try to go see Mount Rushmore once in your life, and you might as well enjoy the views along one of the more famous roads in the country as you do it. I-90 cuts horizontally across the state, and offers some truly breathtaking views, according to Readers Digest. Keep an eye out for two massive National Parks. Badlands is a hiker's paradise, with more than 240,000 acres to explore, while Black Hills is the home of the Presidential monument.

It's easy to judge Mount Rushmore off of pictures, but actually being there is a different story. You'll be tempted to spend hours simply marveling at the scale of the monument and the craftsmanship that went into it. Don't dilly-dally too long, however, as there's lots to see. For example, Wind Cavern National Park is a massive cave system that was discovered in 1881 and remains 95 percent unexplored to this day.

Before hitting the road, make sure your tires and air conditioning system are in good condition. Nothing derails a summer vacation quicker than a flat tire or faulty A/C.

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