According to the calendar, Monday marked the first official day of summer 2016. But a quick look around the Black Hills and Badlands would easily show that summer is already well underway. Just consider these seven signs that prove the dog days of summer are here!
1. Hanging out at the watering holes.
As the sun heats up, you’ll find that locals and visitors alike are flocking to the nearest watering holes. Whether it’s little ones enjoying the fountains at Main Street Square in downtown Rapid City, cliff jumping from the rock ledges at one of the area lakes, or soaking up the fun at an area water park like the Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center or Evans Plunge in Hot Springs—there’s always a way to keep your cool in the water!
2. Long lines at the ice cream shops.
Hands down, the dessert of summer is ice cream. When your sweet tooth starts aching, head to one of the local ice cream shops for a sweet treat. Ice cream is definitely something locals know best—so follow the lines to the best ice cream in town. In Rapid City you’ll spot crowds gathering at Armadillo’s Ice Cream Shoppe and Silver Linings Creamery, both located downtown. In Spearfish, the locals have been raving about Leones’ Creamery, which serves local handmade ice cream. You’ll also find their ice cream served at the Chubby Chipmunk (the best chocolate truffles in the Midwest) in Deadwood. In the Southern Hills, a new soft serve ice cream and sherbert shop has opened its doors, called “Oliver’s Twist,” in downtown Custer.
3. Weather: Warm temps… Beautiful sunsets… Summer storms… Stargazing…
Summertime brings a variety of weather patterns that like to keep us on our toes. With warm days, cool nights, and plenty of open sky for stargazing, you’re sure to enjoy the weather while you’re here. (Or as the local saying goes—”If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes… it’ll change.”)
4. The roads are full of motorcycles, motor coaches, RVs, out-of-state license plates, and usually a healthy dose of road construction.
You’ll notice that folks from all over the country like to come and experience the Black Hills and Badlands for themselves. Roads that are usually quiet can quickly become populated with guests from all over the world. The nice weather usually lends itself to a productive road construction season as well, so anticipate encountering some form of construction during your trip. The beauty is that even with the increase in visitors, there’s still plenty of room for everyone to come and play to their heart’s content.
5. Outdoor dining and events and festivals. (We just like to be outside, OK?)
It’s too nice to be indoors! Come and enjoy a nice meal on a local restaurant patio or make plans to attend a community festival or gathering. There’s an arts & crafts fair nearly every weekend somewhere in the Hills, and most communities host a weekly gathering with live entertainment, food and beverage vendors. It’s a great way to savor the unique flavor of each community and mingle with the locals too. For a complete list of upcoming events in each Black Hills community, click here to check out our online calendar of events.
6. Let’s be honest. Mother Nature wins—every time!
The real reason most people come to Black Hills and Badlands is to experience natural scenery that is unlike any other. Our variety of landscapes makes it all the more interesting. From the barren scenes of the Badlands, to the flourishing forest of the Black Hills—and everything in between—there is something for everyone to enjoy! This is when boating, fishing, ATV/UTVing, horseback riding, camping, hiking, rock climbing and biking are at their best.
7. Our world-class attractions, parks, monuments and memorials speak for themselves.
We’re completely saturated with one-of-a-kind places to make lifelong memories. From animal parks like Bear Country USA and Reptile Gardens to intriguing places like Cosmos Mystery Area and any of the caves, we have some of the most unique attractions you could ever imagine! Couple that with the dense location of national parks, state parks, and memorials, and you’ll quickly realize there is so much to see and do for just one trip! You’ll be planning your return visit even before you leave—we promise!