What to do for Kids Summer Fun
Bring your bikes or rent a bicycle for each member of the family and pedal down a portion of the George S. Mickelson trail and other great mountain biking paths, with a chance to spot wildlife along the way.
- Panning for Gold
Head on over to Custer State Park for a gold panning demonstration, or take the kids to one of the area mining facilities that cater to tourists and let them spend the afternoon in search of their own little fortune.
Rent a canoe, kayak, or paddle boat and float a reservoir or river. For avid water-skiing families, Pactola and Sheridan Lakes are open to skiers.
Pack snacks and plenty of water and lead the kids on a hiking trek with over one million acres to explore. Make sure the children have sturdy shoes, sun screen, and scan the areas ahead of them for rattle snake habitat.
- Horseback Riding
For pre-teens, teenagers and younger, sure-seated horse riders, book a one or two hour ride with an area outfitter and tour the wilderness on horseback as a family. *Age restrictions apply.
Black Hills National Forest has 11 reservoirs, three with designated swim beaches including picnic areas and nearby amenities. Angostura Reservoir also features one of the best, sandiest beaches in the area, so pack your suits!
- Wildlife Expeditions and Tours
Embark on an exciting Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour followed by a wagon hayride and Chuckwagon Dinner Show featuring western-style grub and Cowboy music show.
Kid Friendly Summer Attractions
- Alpine Slide
Just 2.5 miles east of Mt. Rushmore is a kid’s dream attraction: The Alpine Slide. Take in the views on a chairlift ride to the top and then watch as your children enjoy 2,000 feet of winding, thrilling fun. $3 per children’s ride.
- Amusement Parks
Dinosaur and fossil-themed parks, water parks, a giant maze, indoor go-cart racing, pitch-n-putt courses, they’re all here in the Black Hills.
Take the kids on a hike down the Fossil Exhibit Trail and learn about the area’s unique geological history.
- Mt. Rushmore
Visit this National Monument in the evening when spotlights light up the Presidents’ faces.
- Wind Cave and Jewel Cave
Go underground for exciting cave tours featuring exotic geological formations.
What to do for Kids Winter Fun
- Cross-country Skiing
Bring your skis or rent a pair and head into Black Hills National Forest, featuring 6,000 miles of trails and roads, with six areas reserved for cross-country enthusiasts. Try the Big Hill XC Ski network or tackle a section of the Centennial or Mickelson Trails.
- Downhill Skiing
Nearby ski resorts provide skiing and snowboarding with equipment rentals and instruction available for beginners.
- Ice Skating
Strap on your skates and join your children for hours of twirling and gliding on Deerfield Reservoir. Located in Black Hills National Forest, this reservoir complex offers a host of wintertime activities including your chance to skate this beautiful lake.
- Ice Fishing
Little anglers will love a day of ice fishing on a Black Hills National Forest reservoir or pond. Park at Dutchman Campground and fish for trout in Deerfield Reservoir, or catch browns, rainbows, bass and more at Pactola Reservoir. Other lakes include Roubaix and Cook Lake. Be sure to purchase fishing licenses and check regulations.
A 350-mile system of mapped, marked and groomed trails makes Black Hills National Forest a perfect place for snowmobiling. If you can’t bring your own machines, don’t worry – rental companies and snowmobile tour guides are ready to assist you.
Nothing beats a wintertime snowshoe excursion to appreciate the Black Hills' landscapes and wildlife. Bring your own shoes or rent a pair, pack hot chocolate and warm clothes, and explore established trails or break your own.
Kid Friendly Winter Attractions
- Mt. Rushmore / Crazy Horse Memorial
Avoid summertime crowds and visit these National Monuments to learn more about American and Native American history, with hands-on exhibits, ranger-led activities and museums. *Closed during major holidays.
Touch dinosaur fossils, view geological phenomenon, learn about the railroads, pioneers, Native Americans, gold mining and more when you visit one of many museums open year-round.
- Wind Cave and Jewel Cave National Parks
Take your kids on an underground exploration full of geological treasures when you book a cave tour at one of these National Parks.