Great Family Adventures: Wild West Expeditions' 'Black Hills, Deadwood, Badlands, & Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Adventure'

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: CyArk/Wikimedia Commons

HIGHLIGHTS: Mount Rushmore is the grand finale of this five-day showcase of South Dakota’s Black Hills. You’ll stand in awe of the massive, granite presidential busts—but first, you’ll take a photo safari through buffalo-filled Custer State Park, watch as a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe dances following a pioneer-style wagon ride and fireside dinner, and explore fossil-filled Badlands National Park. At the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Lakota guides show and tell what happened at Wounded Knee, and kids learn Native American crafts, have their hair braided, and get painted like warriors. During a visit to circa-1890 Big Thunder Gold Mine, kids pan for gold. In the wild-west town of Deadwood, a tour bus takes you through (if you happen to be here in late July, you can catch the Wild Bill Days Rodeo). All in all, this trip, recommended for ages seven and older, provides a pretty hard-to-beat history lesson.

OUTFITTER: Mike Kuchera's Wild West Expeditions, founded in 1972, remains a family-run business that specializes in small-group adventures throughout South Dakota.

ITINERARY: Rapid City to Custer State Park, Wall, Badlands National Park, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Keystone, Deadwood, and back to Rapid City.

DATES: Summer departure dates booked upon request.

PRICE: $1,600 per adult and $1,300 per child, including lodging, guidance, ground transportation, entrance fees, and most meals.

INFO:, (605) 996-1120.

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