Have Your Black Hills Adventure on a Rainy Day | Black Hills Travel Blog
  • Have Your Black Hills Adventure on a Rainy Day
    Have Your Black Hills Adventure on a Rainy Day

Black Hills weather can sometimes be a bit unpredictable: one minute we have blue skies with the sun shining, the next clouds roll in and you are dodging rain drops looking for cover. The good news is, when rain hits the Black Hills, it is usually short lived and there is always something to keep you busy while you wait. Here are some fun activities for rainy days during your Black Hills Vacation:

UNDERGROUND WILDERNESS

Not all the beauty in the Black Hills immediately meets the eye. Within the Hills lies an enormous concentration of caves, many of which offer guided tours. Black Hills caves are known for their variety of unique or unusual formations. Guided tours are offered at several caves where you can pass through rooms and winding passageways reveling these magnificent formations. Most cave tours are around one-half mile in length and take around an hour. Some caves also offer historical and spelunking tours. Keep in mind that caves tend to be chilly, so a light jacket and good walking shoes are encouraged. Two National Park sites offer cave tours in the Black Hills. Jewel Cave National Monument has more than 190 miles of mapped and surveyed passageways and is the third longest cave in the world. Wind Cave National Park has 147 miles of underground passages and is the sixth longest in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, the cave is a maze of passages adorned with a unique formation called boxwork which is rarely found elsewhere. There are also three privately owned caves that offer tours, all with a large variety of formations. You can see Beautiful Wonderland Cave’s famous 40-foot ice fence, check out the wonderful variety of crystal formation at Black Hills Caverns or check out the “Big Room” at Rushmore Cave. After your cave tour at Rushmore Cave you can have more fun on site at Rush Mountain Adventure Park. Their state-of-the-art Gunslinger 7-D Interactive Ride is another great rainy-day activity.

You can also go underground and learn about the colorful gold mining history of the Black Hills. Head to Broken Boot Gold Mine or Big Thunder Gold Mine to take a tour to learn this fascinating history. Check out the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center in Lead for more information about mining history.

INDOOR ATTRACTIONS

Black Hills attractions do offer indoor options, so a rain shower will not ruin your day. It is almost better to visit our family attractions during a shower because guests are fewer in number. Some great indoor attractions include Reptile Gardens in Rapid City and The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs. Or take a drive through Bear Country USA or a ride on the 1880 Train.

WATERPARKS

If it’s raining outside maybe you should just get wet and wild inside! The Black Hills have several indoor waterparks that will be sure to wash away your rainy-day blues.

Watiki Indoor Waterpark’s 30,000 square foot indoor park provides the opportunity of some awesome swimming fun. The park offers KoKos Kingdom kid area, lazy river, activity pool, hot tub, and of course amazing slides for the adventure seeker. The park also offers a snack stand, arcade, restaurant and full bar.

Or you could enjoy the day in the 87-degree mineral water at Evans Plunge Mineral Springs. This is the World’s largest natural warm water swimming pool. The whole family can enjoy their 3 waterslides, Tarzan rings, fun tubes, kids pool and full-service health club.

Many Black Hills hotel also have great pool areas for you to enjoy. One of the Black Hills largest indoor waterparks is at the Best Western Ramkota hotel in Rapid City. Kids love sliding down their 165 ft waterslides, shooting water cannons from the deck of the pirate ship and playing beneath a mushroom of cascading water. They also offer a full-size swimming pool and hot tub. Another great waterpark option is the Indoor Water Play Land at The Lodge at Deadwood. Here you can sail the high seas on a pirate ship, enjoy the water-dropping mushroom, slide down the killer whale, check out the kids play features, play basketball and relax in the whirlpool.

MUSEUMS

Touring a museum is a fantastic rainy-day activity. The Black Hills are rich with history and nearly every community in our region has a museum that celebrates Black Hills culture. So, stay dry while you take a trip through time. Our museums cover everything from prehistoric times to the Wild West, to Native American culture, Cold War, motorcycles, dinosaurs and much more. A full list of Black Hills Museums can be found here.

SHOPPING

Black Hills are typically known for its amazing scenery, great family attractions and the four faces of Mt. Rushmore but visitors are often surprised at the variety of shopping opportunities that are available to them. If you find yourself with a rain delay, consider going shopping for some South Dakota goods. You will find Black Hills Gold jewelry, handcrafted Sioux bead work, leather, pottery, antiques, artwork, and much much more. Every community in the region has great specialty boutiques, giftshops, art galleries and malls. You can spend a few hours checking out the wide variety of goods at Wall Drug Store, stroll the boardwalk in Keystone, shop for Native American goods at Prairie Edge or find a unique wood carving at Dahl’s Chainsaw Art. There is truly something for everyone. For more shopping suggestions click here.

WINE AND BREWS

If the rain ruined your outdoor plans, why not drown your sorrows at a Black Hills brewery, winery or distillery. A number of breweries and wineries have popped up around the region in the past few years. Many are producing a product that highlights local and regional ingredients making them truly unique to our region. Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company features locally hand crafted artisanal ales and brewery inspired food in the town of Custer. If you find yourself looking for craft beer in Hill City, be sure to check out Miner Brewing Company and Sick-N-Twisted Brewery. If wine is your taste, stop at Prairie Berry Winery and the Naked Winery Tasting Room. If you are in Sturgis stop in to the Belle Joli Winery Sparkling House where you can experience the exquisite flavors of their sparkling wine creations made using traditional champagne methods. In the famed biker town of Sturgis, The Knuckle Brewing Company is a great place to grab a microbrew. Spearfish and Rapid City also offer several winery and brewery options.

If your tastes are a little harder check out Black Hills Contraband. It is a one-of-a-kind distillery featuring family recipes that have been passed down for seven generations. They claim their line of liqueurs have no burn and no bite. Another option is the Badlands Distillery. They have been busy perfecting their locally handcrafted spirits which are distilled from corn grown on their family ranch. They offer free tastings and tours of their distillery.

If you find yourself wanting to sample a variety of our local brews and wines, consider leaving the driving to a professional and book a winery/brewery tour with Black Hills Adventure Tours or Black Hills Tour Company.

THEATRE

When the weather takes a turn why not take in a world class theatre production? The Historic Homestake Opera House and the Black Hills Playhouse are both destinations in themselves.

The Homestake Opera House was built in 1914 and is called “The Theater Built by a Gold Mine”. You can tour this historic theater and take in one of their featured events that are held year-round. The Black Hills Playhouse located in the beautiful Custer State Park, features professional theater productions during throughout the summer months.

We all know there is no way to control the weather so why not embrace it. Brave the rain and go have your Black Hills Adventure.

About the Author

Ara is a Black Hills native. Growing up just outside of Custer, her fondest memories involve exploring the Black Hills with friends, giving her a deep love for the scenic beauty, history and adventure that the Hills have to offer.  

Tourism has always been her passion, so she spent her college years at Black Hills State University in Spearfish earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism Marketing. She has spent the past 14 years working for Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association in Rapid City.

Most recently, Ara likes to spend her time re-exploring the region with her family. Always seeking a new adventure, they love spending time outdoors, hiking, visiting area attractions and attending events.

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