In my first trip out west, I spent about half the time camping and glamping and the other half in hotels. This second trip, to South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, was a similar mix, combining a few nights camping (aka sleeping in my rental car) with a few nights in a hotel for a conference. I was pleased with almost everywhere I stayed, but some I would have done differently.
Rapid City SD- Super 8
Because I had to transfer in Denver, my flight into Rapid City didn’t end up getting in until 11 pm. It wasn’t a big airport, otherwise I would have just stayed the night there to get my rental car first thing in the morning. Instead, I booked a night at Super 8 Rapid City Lacrosse Street and spent money on a shuttle there and a taxi back to the airport the next day. I wished I’d just grabbed the car that night because I spent the same amount on those taxis as I would have for an extra night with the car. The hotel itself was basic, as you’d expect a roadside budget hotel to be, but was near restaurants and had breakfast and WiFi, all I really need.
Wall SD- Sleepy Hollow Campground
Once I got my rental car, I planned on staying at a free campsite at Sage Creek Campground within Badlands National Park that I’d found on a website. It took me a while to get out to it, carefully driving my rental car, and when I arrived, it would have been fine. It’s very remote and best for vehicles with better terrain steering. But it was early in the day and I would have had to bring food with me or venture back in the dark surrounded by animals. Instead, I ended up back in Wall at Sleepy Hollow Campground, tucked right behind Wall Drug. I got a nice spot near the entrance since the lady who owned it was worried about me traveling on my own. I swam in the run down pool and saw deer run by at dusk. And in case you’re wondering, I had a foam pad that I slept on in the back seat with a sleeping bag. I turned my Turkish towel into a curtain with binder clips, kept the windows cracked, and had battery powered lights to read with.
Deadwood SD- Creekside Campground
My cabin at Creekside Campground was a nice break from car camping. If I’d had a tent, I could have camped outside there too, but I’m glad I didn’t because it rained. I stayed in this cozy cabin, which is about 15 minutes from downtown Deadwood. They also have larger cabins, tipis, and RV sites. Bathrooms are in a separate building, which was a bit chilly when I had to get up in the middle of the night. But I would recommend this place!
Sheridan WY- Holiday Inn
I then took a detour to Sheridan, Wyoming for a conference. The Holiday Inn Sheridan-Convention Center was my digs for the few days I attended. The communal spaces were a bit 70s (including an indoor waterfall!) but the rooms were everything you love and need from Holiday Inns.
Casper WY- KOA
Between last summer and this one, I’ve stayed in my fair share of KOA campsites. Casper KOA Journey was located a bit outside of town and it was my home for the night in between other places. The setup is almost exactly like the others with a picnic shelter and a fence for wind protection. This one also had a store selling essentials, laundry facilities, and a playground.
Custer State Park SD- Center Lake Campground
I wish I’d given myself more time at Custer State Park because it is just that beautiful. Center Lake Campground is well located within the park (near the theater!) and has sites for both tents and RVs. I parked in a shaded area near the bathrooms. There were also picnic tables and fire rings. Give yourself plenty of time to explore the park.
Rapid City SD- Airbnb
For my final night in Rapid City, I used credit to stay at an Airbnb at a cozy home downtown. It was within walking distance of bars and restaurants and came with Roku for binge-watching my favorite shows. I was glad to have a place to regroup before heading home.