Black Hills Area- Custer, South Dakota

Spending time with family is important, not only around the holidays but throughout the year. Our road trip to South Dakota in June of 2017 was family focused. We threw in a few horses, to keep “everyone” in the family satisfied (that would be my three Schwieter guys) and headed west/northwest. We traveled out of Missouri, through Iowa, and across South Dakota. We added Nebraska to our return route.

With our truck and trailer, 4 horses and our immediate family, we reached our destination of Dakota Dream. Located just outside Custer, SD, this B&B, Horse Hotel & Cabin was perfect for our family accommodations. We stayed in a cozy cabin surrounded by woods and grasslands. The deer would walk right by our windows. The cabin gave us the extra room we needed. Equipped with a kitchen and separate bedroom, we had space to spread out a bit and the ability to cook for ourselves. We were able to eat a delicious hot breakfast served by our hosts at Dakota Dream. The rest our our extended party (my parents, sister and her boyfriend) arrived a day after us and stayed in the main house.

The horses were happy there also. The barn had stalls with paddocks. We were able to pen a couple of our horses together. Four horses fit comfortably. There was also a tack area for storing our saddles.

We rode our horses at nearby Wind Cave National Park. There were beautiful, vast open areas of prairie, along with pine forests, rocky areas and lots of wildlife. Clear streams, prairie dog towns and bison herds were highlights along the trails.

The town of Custer featured the amenities of most tourist areas. Restaurants, shops, and ice cream parlors lined the main street. Painted bison statues also adorned the sidewalks, adding even more beauty to the Black Hills town.

Sylvan Lake is on the outskirts of town. The whole family enjoyed a picnic lunch with rock climbing and swimming. We also did some hiking, reaching the highest point in the state of South Dakota, Harney Peak.

Our group did some area sightseeing. We visited Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and rode a steam engine train from Keystone to Hill City. We also toured Wind Cave. These are all very popular places in the Black Hills. You can plan to spend as much or as little time at each attraction as you choose.

Our main goal of the trip was to ride our horses…And we did… Every single day. A nice, convenient thing about the area is that everything is in fairly close proximity. This allowed us to sight see for part of the day and ride the other. We were able to split up during the day for hiking or shopping while others rode and were still able to meet for supper without any trouble.

We rounded out the trip with a day spent in Ainsworth, Nebraska for my cousin’s wedding. With our truck and trailer parked in the lot, we were able to attend the ceremony and reception before driving the remaining 8 hours home. The ability to incorporate the wedding destination as a pitstop on our family vacation provided us with a unique opportunity. It was wonderful seeing extended family and take part in the wedding festivities.

Coordinating a vacation like this can be cumbersome but is worth the time and effort. When more than one immediate family is involved it can become complicated. Set priorities for your vacation and work around them. We knew the area we wanted to visit and that we were taking our horses. Beyond that, the other activities fell into place. We met our goal of enjoying the landscape from the saddle. We not only got our horses better trained in the process, but we created family memories that will last a lifetime.

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25 thoughts on “Black Hills Area- Custer, South Dakota”

  1. What a great memories to remember by especially now that most of our travels are limited. I love the fact that everyone enjoyed it including your horses.

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