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Old 11-08-2023, 06:07 PM   #1
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Travel advice St Louis to Mount Rushmore

Looking to travel from St Louis to Mount Rushmore, late April early May 2024. Want to see sites along the way, no hurry to get to destination. Most of our travel days don't exceed 300 miles per day. Know there can still be cold weather early spring, but not bothered by cold. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-08-2023, 06:57 PM   #2
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Depending on how you travel and what you like, it may be worthwhile to do some checking on the seasons for campgrounds in the Northern areas. We were surprised at how many were still shut down on a couple trips.

Also depending on interests? There is a river boat museum in the Kansas City metro that we found super interesting!

If interested in wildlife and not used to seeing the big migrations, the timing might be right to check for some of the bird moving through both Nebraska and Kansas. I'm not at all sure of the times but they can be impressive if you get lucky to be at the right place at the right time.
Platte river in Nebraska is one area to check?

If you like Railroad history, the Union Pacific line and history made along the way can be worth the trip!
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Old 11-08-2023, 07:56 PM   #3
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You might want to stop by the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph.
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Old 11-09-2023, 07:24 AM   #4
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If you are planning on traveling through Nebraska, I would highly recommend staying at Fort Robinson State Park in Crawford NE. This is well worth a 2 to 3 nighter for all they have at this park.


I would also recommend Fort WeLikit campground in Custer.

Its a great trip
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Old 11-09-2023, 08:04 AM   #5
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The sandhill crane was the one we liked to find the most!
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Old 11-09-2023, 10:57 AM   #6
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Snow is a very likely possibility in the Black Hills in much of May. And, as Richard mentioned, many campgrounds and RV parks are closed until late May or even June due to that cold snowy weather.
April, May and early June are the best months for viewing and photographing wildlife. Visitors, however, may be less delighted with the spring weather which can be wildly unpredictable. Most of the Black Hill's rainfall comes in April and May, and there's a good chance you'll still see snow at higher elevations.
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Old 11-15-2023, 06:34 PM   #7
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Depending on your interests, in downtown Kansas City is the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve, nearby is Museum of Magic and WW I memorial and Museum. All are within about 5 or six blocks. We were able to park our 32' RV on street in front of WW I Memorial and Museum, there is a long promenade like from the Capitol to Washington Monument in DC.
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Old 11-15-2023, 08:43 PM   #8
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The OP will be too late for the sandhill cranes on the Platte River around Kearny, NE. But there are plenty of other interesting stops, in addition to the Pony Express Museum and Ft. Robinson. Check the NPS website for Oregon Trail structures, tracks, and landmarks if history is of interest. The Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island NE is terrific. It is essentially a "town" of 19th Century structures moved onto a large farm, complete with a railroad. Buffalo Bill's ranch and the Union Pacific railyard (world's largest) are both in North Platte. The Fur Trade Museum is in Chadron and Carhenge is in Alliance. Scotts Bluff NM and Agate Fossil Beds NM are a little farther west, but worth a stop. And in the Black Hills, the Mammoth Dig in Hot Springs and Deadwood are both worth a visit, depending on his interest. And don't miss Wind Cave NP and Jewel Cave NM tours in the Black Hills. We enjoyed Jewell Cave better than Wind Cave, but Wind Cave has a purebred bison herd that you can drive through on a gravel road.

Be sure to check for city and county park campgrounds on Campendium. Nebraska has lots of both and they are generally inexpensive. Our favorite county park cg. anywhere is the Hall County cg. in Grand Island. Also Nebraska National Forest has a cg. with electric hookups near Thedford
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Old 11-15-2023, 11:06 PM   #9
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My wife and I live across the Mississippi from St Louis in Illinois and we made that trip in late May 2020.

We camped outside of Custer in a RV park called Big Pine. Great campground with full hookup sites. Custer is near and nice to visit and a good place for restaurants and groceries. Plus Custer State Park is nearby - a must see.

On the way The Badlands are worth the detour.

Another neat drive is The Needles Highway with interesting views and narrow tunnels. It ends up on the backside of Mount Rushmore.

The Crazy Horse monument is worth a visit.

If we go back I definitely want to do the night time Mount Rushmore show.

We didn’t have any issues with snow. It was pretty chilly at night and upper 50’s to 60 degrees.
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Old 11-16-2023, 05:50 AM   #10
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All good advice in the above posts.
We went to Mount Rushmore in 2021, driving there from central Missouri and I like to add the following:

1. The drive on I-90, going West was a chore, lots of construction/one-lane traffic at the time and strong side winds from the South. We traveled in a 31' Class A with a toad, that part of the trip was a challenge.

2. We are retired military and were able to stay at the RV park on Ellsworth AFB which was great and close by to all the area attractions.

3. I don't know what you are traveling in, but there are a lot of places were an RV does not fit due to narrow roads and low tunnels or bridges. We used our toad, if you don't have one rent a small car.

4. Wall Drugs is a nice place to visit, lots of shops, souvenirs and reasonable prices. Also good food.
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Old 11-16-2023, 07:29 AM   #11
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Mount Rushmore

Ditto on Visit Mt. Rushmore at NIGHT. The show is Awesome...

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Old 11-17-2023, 12:57 PM   #12
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Great suggestions from others! We also stayed at Big Pine RV park near Custer. Loved the RV park with all the trees. Jewel Cave was very interesting and we got lucky with tickets since it was booked. I enjoyed the 1880 Train ride. The depot is close enough to Big Pine as our Goldwing motorcycle is our mode of transportation. Mt. Rushmore is beyond amazing. Crazy Horse wasn't completed when we went but would love to see it one day. Have a great trip!
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Old 11-17-2023, 01:02 PM   #13
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We stayed at Big Pine site #51 which was a nice pull through with nothing but woods beside us. Great fires at night! Owners will deliver firewood to your site too.
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