We left at about 6 a.m., making a stop in Cheyenne, Wyoming for breakfast. We went to Epic Egg and shared an egg breakfast. It filled us up enough to get the drive done before it was time for lunch.
Mount Rushmore is about a five-hour drive from Fort Collins, Colorado. Four and a half if you leave early enough. However, don’t let that fool you. The drive feels like it takes about twenty because you drive through a lot of nothing land. I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as driving through Kansas or Nebraska, but it’s not great. So, Coloradans, if you’re thinking about the trip just make sure to download a book on tape or a really great playlist.
Upon arrival, we found that Custer is a tiny town with some really good food. We walked into Pizza Works, where they make the pizza in front of you and give you great ingredients. I watched as Tristan, the boyfriend, downed a mini pesto pizza. Unfortunately, travel is a little more difficult for me because I have a really sensitive stomach. However, I did take a bite and can vouch that it’s worth trying if you’re ever in the area.
I searched hopelessly for coffee. While there are a few places to get it, I would confidently say that Custer, South Dakota is a not a coffee lover’s paradise. It’s more of a “get your coffee black and move on” kind of place. Which is fine.
There are a number of hotels in the area to choose from, and I would recommend using Priceline or Hotwire to get the best deal because you’re going to end up at about the same type of place in pretty much the exact same location. The people in the area are kind and you’ll have an easy time finding your way around.
Here’s what I suggest you do if you’re spending a short amount of time in the area:
- Go to the different towns.
- See Mt. Rushmore
- Get some crystals/ rocks
We didn’t spend very much time in Custer after lunch. We checked in and hit the road, heading for Keystone. It’s about 20 miles away and Mount Rushmore sits between the two towns.
Keystone is small like Custer. There are a few shops to explore and some fudge to try. It’s a good place to walk around in. So, we stayed and explored for a few hours. When you’re there, make sure to check out Grapes and Grinds. While there I adopted my new Hydro Flask coffee mug in an attempt to make my travel and blogging more sustainable.
Mount Rushmore was the next stop on the weekend trip. We found that the main photo-op area was under construction, leaving a large fence in all of the photos we took of the actual monument. A kind man stopped us with his map to point us in the direction of a trail with a better view. His kindness led us to more kindness, as we found an older gentleman who attempted to take our picture and then a mother who corrected the photo after claiming to be the “photographer of the family.” In exchange, I got the chance to take photos of her and her cute little family.
The monument was cool. It’s what you would expect of four heads carved into rocks. It’s
worth seeing but didn’t make me gasp or cry like other monuments have. Whether I loved it more than the others or not, the work that went into the creation of it deserves praise because the way it was made is crazy.
Upon our return to Custer for the night, we meandered through Dave’s Rock Shop and picked out a few stones to give positive energy to Tristan’s new Fort Collins room. Rose Quartz is the state mineral, so it’s fairly cheap to buy. All the other stones were reasonably priced as well, so we went crazy. As a crystal woo-woo kinda girl, I loved reading about the mystic properties of all the different stones in the shop.
We finished our night at an ice cream place in a purple house called Purple Pie Place. We had ice cream before dinner because we had to wait for the burger place to seat us. If I have one HUGE recommendation for this trip it’s to visit Black Hills Burger and Bun Co. The black bean burger was absolutely delicious and the sweet potato fries were just as good. We went to bed full and satisfied.
The next morning was an early one. We were ready to get moving and see something new. So, we got some breakfast and headed to Hot Springs, SD. If we were to do the trip again, we both agreed that we’d spend more time there or even stay the night. It was right on the river, so there’s plenty of walking to be done.
On our way over to the town, we passed some bison. They were crossing the road and grazing near it. To see animals that large so close after living in cities for the past three years was refreshing. It reminded me that small animals aren’t the only ones roaming the earth with us.
There’s a cute coffee shop there called Mornin’ Sunshine. It was packed when we walked in and the bar was manned by two women and one of the women’s son. The two ladies were absolutely hilarious as they prepped drinks and made customers smile.
After getting our caffeine boost we walked to an art gallery and purchased a piece of photography. It was a photo of the bison in Custer. It felt appropriate for our trip and the photographer was too cool not to purchase something from.
So, our art of coffee marked the end of our South Dakota trip and we began our long, winding journey back home.