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Roadtrip with RVshare Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest

Located on the west side of South Dakota, you can find a lot of fun things to do in Black Hills National Forest, including biking, fishing, hunting, and off-roading. It is the perfect getaway spot if you want to escape crowds, as the forest covers 1.5-million acres. Getting there from Atlanta can be fun because you can stop and visit two national parks and numerous state parks. There are terrific attractions to explore in Nashville, St. Louis, and Omaha.

Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: 23 hours
  • Mileage: 1,540 miles
  • Fun Fact: There are more miles of shoreline in South Dakota than there are in Florida.

Nearby National Parks

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park near Interior, South Dakota, is a great place to see wild animals. Take a drive on the Sage Creek Rim Road to see bison. As you near Badlands Loop Road, watch the prairie dogs running in and out of their tunnels. Pull over at the Pinnacles Overlook when visiting this national park on your Atlanta to the Black Hills National Forest road trip to see bighorn sheep grazing in the distance. Hiking along the 10-mile Castle Trail often provides a better view of the bighorn sheep.

Wind Cave National Park

Start your visit to Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs with one of its cave tours. The easiest tour is the Garden of Eden Tour, where you will see boxwork, frostwork, and cave popcorn while only having to climb 150 stairs. The most strenuous tour is the Fairground Tour, which allows you to see more of the cave, but you will have to climb 450 steps. Then drive across the prairie to see if you can spot the bison grazing. The sizeable herd grew from 14 bison reintroduced to this location as a New York Zoological Society gift. As you drive, you are also likely to see mule deer, pronghorns, and prairie dogs. Look in the forest fringes to see if you can spot elk.

Nearby State Parks

Indian Cave State Park 

At Indian Cave State Park near Shubert, Nebraska, you can stroll along the boardwalk to see the petroglyphs that are probably over 1,000 years old. Then if you head slightly southeast, you can see remnants of the only coal mine ever known to have existed in Nebraska. This state park covering about 3,000 acres is a fantastic place to go hiking and horseback riding during your Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest RV road trip.

Newton Hills State Park

Explore the rolling hills of the Coteau des Prairie by stopping at Newton Hills State Park near Canton, SD. Take a hike through the dense oak and basswood forest at this location to see white-tailed deer, marmots, rabbits, red-and-gray fox, and squirrels. Bring your binoculars and bird guidebook as over 200 bird species are regularly spotted in this park. 

Palisades State Park 

Take a hike to see the pink quartz bluffs at Palisades State Park near Garretson, SD. These bluffs range from 50-foot-tall vertical cliffs to narrow shelves overhanging the river. Some of these rock formations make the perfect place to go rock climbing, so you definitely should consider adding this park to your Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest road trip itinerary. You can also cool off with a swim in Split Rock Creek.

Custer State Park 

Custer State Park covers more than 71,000 acres near Custer. Watch the bison as they wander through this state park. At night, listen to the horned owls sing their tunes. Go for a swim in Center Lake, Legion Lake, Stockade Lake, or Game Lodge Pond. Hike on the well-maintained paths around Sylvan Lake. Another great hiking option is to combine a hike to Black Elk Peak, which allows you to see lots of this park from a higher elevation, with a hike to Little Devil's Pond. Four scenic drives run through this park, including the Peter Norbeck Scenic Drive, which passes by unique rock formations in the Needles Section and lots of bison and other wildlife.

Along the Way

The World’s Only Corn Palace 

The outside of The World's Only Corn Palace is redecorated each year with corn-themed murals. A new theme is announced annually, and many people enter the contest to get their designs chosen. Numerous events occur at The World's Only Corn Palace, also called the Mitchell Corn Palace, because of its location in Mitchell, SD. Therefore, you will want to check the schedule to see what is happening at this venue when adding it as a stop on your road trip from Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest.

Pioneer Auto Museum 

See over 275 classic cars, 60 antique tractors, and 60 classic motorcycles at Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, SD. While men and women will enjoy viewing this collection, which is constantly being expanded, children can enjoy a scavenger hunt through the museum. After viewing the old vehicles, head to Prairie Town to explore the 18 old buildings, including a church, jail, and general store. There are several unique photo booths set up around this facility.

Mt. Rushmore National Monument 

While the primary reason you will want to go to Mt. Rushmore National Monument near Keystone, SD, is to see the giant faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln carved into the mountain, you can do many other things at this location. Visit the information center to see what special events are planned during your Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest road trip. Underneath the memorial is a museum where you can learn more about the monument's construction. Learn more about the people who carved the heads by attending the ranger presentation in the Sculptor's Studio. There are several nearby hiking trails to explore, including the Presidential Trail, which will get you closer to the monument.

Reptile Gardens 

Learn about reptiles from the Black Hills and throughout the world by stopping at the Reptile Gardens. Watch the snake shows put on by park staff and tour the Sky Dome with its rainforest. In addition to snakes, there are bald eagles, crocodiles, tortoises, and prairie dogs to see. End your visit with some shopping and dining fun. This is a fantastic place to visit during your road trip from Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest if you want to take photos because of the beautiful garden settings.

Journey Museum and Learning Center 

Journey through the history of the Black Hills by strolling through the seven acres of gardens at the Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City. Each garden is set up to represent a particular time in history. Over 5,000 pieces of Native American artwork and artifacts are available for viewing, with most of them coming from the Sioux Nation. Other exhibits help you understand how the early pioneers lived.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Nashville, Tennessee 

Explore the country music scene in Nashville by visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Grand Ole Opry. There are some great Nashville campgrounds, like the Nashville KOA Resort, where some campsites have private pet pens, or the Two Rivers Campground, where special events often occur. Use Nashville RV dump stations, like those at Cages Bend Campground, Nashville North KOA, or Nashville North Campground, before continuing your Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest RV road trip.

St. Louis, Missouri 

You can find many wonderful things to do in St. Louis, like visiting the St. Louis Zoo, Six Flags St. Louis and Forest Park. There are fantastic campgrounds in St. Louis, like Safari RV Park with its spacious laundry and showers or Cahokia RV Parque with its large playground and swimming pool. There are convenient St. Louis RV dump stations at Love’s Travel Stop, 76, and Conoco.

Kansas City, Missouri

You will want to explore many fabulous places in Kansas City, like the Nelson-Alkins Museum of Art and the National World War II Museum and Memorial. There are also great places to play, like Worlds of Fun. You can also find terrific Kansas City campground choices, including Basswood Resort, where you will want to swim in the pool, and World of Fun Village, located next to the amusement park. You can find Kansas City RV dump stations, like Love's Travel Stop 786 and Riverfront Park.

Omaha, Nebraska 

The Henry Doorly Zoo is one of the top zoos in the nation, but there are many other things to do in Omaha, like visiting the Joslyn Art Museum and the Durham Museum. It is easy to find terrific campgrounds in Omaha. Consider Omaha campgrounds like Glenn Cunningham Lake Campground, where you can go fishing and boating, or Ashland RV Campground, conveniently located near four golf courses. Find Omaha RV dump stations at Louisville State Recreation Area, Bob Hardy RV Park, or Walnut Creek Lake Recreation Area.

Find Adventure from Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from Atlanta to Black Hills National Forest, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Atlanta or Black Hills National Forest.

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