Sunday, July 13, 2014

Our First Family Vacation

In June our family set out on our first family vacation. Last summer my mom had passed through the Black Hills as part of a vacation to national and state parks out west. She thought South Dakota would be a good choice for our family. Looking through the visitor's guide, we knew there would be plenty to keep everyone in the family happy-camping, hiking, kids' attractions, animals, and plenty of beautiful scenery. We were not disappointed! It was an awesome trip.

My kids are used to riding in the car. We make regular trips to visit my family in Iowa--a four-and-a-half-hour drive. Just to be safe I pulled together extra car-friendly activities that I found on Pinterest. They were troopers during the whole trip. So, without further ado, here's a photo recap of our trip.

Hitting the selfie!

Falls Park, Sioux Falls

Camping in Oakwood Lakes State Park

Getting close with the wolves at Bramble Park Zoo

Levi getting a close-up view of one of the tigers
Driving a covered wagon at Ingalls Homestead

Lillian ready for school in a one-room schoolhouse

Laundry time!

The "covered wagon" we slept in at Ingalls Homestead.
It's actually modeled after a 1880s sheepherder's wagon.

Tuning up a car at Children's Museum of South Dakota

Mount Rushmore
Buffalo herd along the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park
At the top of Harney Peak
Levi hiked the whole six-mile trail on his own.
Lillian hitched a ride on John's back.

Devil's Tower

At the top of Lover's Leap.
Lillian hiked this three-mile trail on her own.

A family selfie along the trail

Here's a run-down of the places we went on our vacation:
-Falls Park, Sioux Falls
-Oakwood Lakes State Park (camping), Bruce
-Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown
-Children's Museum of South Dakota, Brookings
-Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, DeSmet
-Ingalls Homestead, DeSmet
-Badlands National Park
-Black Hills National Forest
-Custer State Park (camping--Grace Coolidge Campground)
-Mount Rushmore, Keystone
-1880 Train, Hill City
-Devil's Tower, Wyoming
-Bear Country USA, Rapid City
-Spearfish Canyon Scenic Drive
-Needles Highway Scenic Drive
-Iron Mountain Scenic Drive
-Wildlife Loop Scenic Drive
-Hiking in Custer State Park-Harney Peak, Lover's Leap

For general information on South Dakota tourism, visit their tourism page.