This gorgeous campground in the Black Hills of South Dakota optimizes summer fun! It is truly a kids dream come true to be able to camp at the Mt. Rushmore KOA/The Lodge at Palmer Gulch. This activity-driven campground has a schedule of fun events throughout each day as well as innumerable mainstays in the Fun Zone to keep all kids busy and happy. This, in turn, means more downtime for parents to enjoy themselves as well.
This was our kids first KOA jumping pillow experience. Now they are spoiled and search the KOA directory telling us where they want to stay next according to if they have a jumping pillow or not!
The free mini golf is always a big family favorite! Check out the water slide behind us too!
A couple of other areas for fun! Can you see why our kids were off and running every day?
Due to the unavailability of internet broadband, there is really limited wifi in the park. It’s a real test to see how long you can go without even being able to receive a text on your phone, let alone check email or the internet. It honestly is a good thing unless you really need to get some work done. Otherwise, it’s freeing! There are a few hotspots in the campground that you can go to, but I enjoyed heading to Grapes and Grinds for my wifi.
The good thing is you can drive just past Mt. Rushmore into Keystone to Grapes and Grinds for perfect internet access in a really cute environment while sipping a coffee beverage by day or glass of wine at night. As a guest at this KOA, you’re able to take advantage of the Holy Terror Mini Golf (behind the coffee shop) and the National Presidential Wax Museum free of charge. These three entities fall under the same ownership as the Mt. Rushmore KOA, making it a great deal for those of us who stay there!
We were really surprised at how much we enjoyed this museum! Each of us had our own personal audio device that we could listen at our own pace as we walked through. We all learned a lot and highly recommend stopping into this unique museum!
Now to the main reason we chose this campground for our Hill City, South Dakota stay. It’s proximity to Mount Rushmore can’t be beaten! The campground is only a 6-mile drive along a beautiful route into America’s monument. Our family took advantage of going to Mount Rushmore as soon as it opened at 8 am one day and again at 8:30 pm on another for the nightly lighting ceremony. Both were awesome! Your $11 parking gets you in for the entire year and admission into the park is free.
On our 3rd visit to the park, we had a lot of fun worshipping with a group of college girls that are involved in A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. They come for the summer to work at the monument and hold Sunday worship services for guests. Very cool!
The Mount Rushmore KOA also employs a team of 12 Summershiners to lead all of the kids’ activities and programs for the summer. These Christian college students come from all over the nation to Palmer Gulch to live, work, play and share the love of Christ! I am enjoying learning about all of these different summer ministries!
This KOA is really perfect for multigenerational family celebrations. We saw many families enjoying life together here. The campground sees about 3,000 guests come through the park on each sold-out night between June 15-August 15. This means make your reservations early and realize that a lot of people will be joining you in the fun if you choose to come here during the height of the summer. It is a big, busy park. More like a cruise ship on land than your typical campground!
Mike Bauman, Mt. Rushmore KOA’s General Manager, works extremely hard to see that everyone is having a good time in the park. We always saw him around in many different capacities and he consistently had a smile and friendly greeting. We even caught him driving the tractor late one night for our ghost tour around the park. Hats off to him and his hard-working staff as they strive to help make special memories for all families who come to stay! Thanks for the fun!