Fasten your britches for camping near Rapid City, where the Wild West lives on.
For a taste of the Old West, look no further than Rapid City—the gateway to the Black Hills. The city is nestled at the crux of world-famous South Dakota attractions, including Mount Rushmore and Deadwood. A weekend here means having six national parks and monuments within a one-hour drive of your campsite.
The Black Hills National Forest is a haven for outdoor fun. Here, granite spires and Ponderosa pines create the perfect backdrop for hiking, climbing, and horseback riding. Whether you're RV camping or tenting it, there are tons of campgrounds to choose from. Some even have horse corrals. (Be sure to BYOH—bring your own horse.)
You can't visit South Dakota without seeing Mt. Rushmore. After viewing the busts carved into the hill, you can even hike around the base of the rocks. Keep an eye out for mountain goats hanging out by the presidents. When you're done, be sure to check out nearby Crazy Horse Memorial. The in-the-works Native American mountain carving is even bigger than old Rushmore.
Bring your binoculars along when you visit Custer State Park—the southern Black Hills area is excellent for wildlife spotting. Keep an eye out for free-roaming herds of buffalo on the open prairies. You might even run into the famous begging burros. (Keep a close eye on your sandwich!)
You have plenty of camping options around Rapid City, including private RV parks and state park campgrounds. For a one-of-a-kind experience, consider staying at a horse ranch, log cabin, tipi or cottage.
Many parks and attractions around Rapid City are open year round. That said, the best time to camp is spring through fall. Avoid camping at the peak of summer when the monuments draw the biggest crowds.