21 Reasons to Visit Custer in 2021
Written by Darian Block
March 1, 2021

The small town of Custer, South Dakota, holds many gems that any tourist in any season will love to be a part of! Ranging from historical monuments to cozy campgrounds, Custer has just what you and your family are looking for…

  1. Starting off our list is all the friendly people you’ll run into here. Custer is very much a tourism-oriented town, so we all love when new people come and visit us! Whether you’re walking down the sidewalk or driving downtown, you’ll more than likely meet a new friend and feel more welcome in our small town.

  2. Custer is located in the Black Hills, which means there are more scenic drives here than you can count. Although driving through Custer State Park is gorgeous, we have many more sights and scenes for you to see. The Needles, Iron Mountain Road, and Highway 87 are some of the more adventurous drives but still beautiful, so go ahead and explore some new roads! And if you’re not the one to drive? No worries! We have local tour companies that would love to take you and your party around while teaching you a bit more about the area!

  3. If you are the foodie of the family, you’re in luck! Custer is home to amazing restaurants that have been reviewed highly by many websites. We have all sorts of dishes from breakfast foods to homemade pizza to some of the best burgers in the nation! We’ll have meals for everyone in the family (even the picky ones).

  4. Coming during the hotter months? Make sure to save time for all the lakes in decent proximity to us, like Sylvan, Legion, Center, and Stockade Lakes that are all located in Custer State Park. There’s also some in neighboring towns, like Pactola, Angustora, and Horse Thief Lake, which are all just a bit of a drive away. Plus, we have our own local pool in town through the YMCA!

  5. Looking to explore more unique attractions? We suggest you head to either Jewel Cave National Monument (the 3rd longest in the world) which is just west of Custer, or Wind Cave National Park (which is the 7th longest in the world), which is a bit of a drive south of Custer. There’s a lot to learn in both places and it is fun for mostly everyone in the family to be in the cave them self!

  6. If you’re really wanting to be a part of the community of Custer, come and visit during our major events! We hold our annual Gold Discovery Days at the end of July and we put on a significant celebration on the 4th of July, just to name a couple. Check out our events page here and our other social media to learn more of the events that are held in Custer for the year of 2021!

  7. Custer is home to a variety of campgrounds that have different styles and qualities to meet all different styles of families. There are campgrounds that hold only tents, some that hold only campers or RVs, some that have teepees and tree houses, and some that hold any sort of camping style, including the new trend of glamping! We have cozy ones that are away from the busy downtown areas, and we have some in close proximity where you can walk to practically anything!

  8. In downtown Custer, there is much to keep every member of the family occupied. One amazing reason to visit Custer is the local shops we have here. You can find anything from souvenir sweatshirts and beautiful jewelry to organic foods and delicious desserts! Most shops are found within walking distance of each other, so make sure to make time for a stroll through the downtown area!

  9. Some of the main attractions consist of the famous Mount Rushmore National Monument and Crazy Horse Memorial. Although payment is required when visiting these two, it is definitely worth it! You and your family will learn much about the history behind these two amazing monuments as well as the history of people on the rocks.

  10. More of a “history buff” type person? Fantastic! The 1881 Courthouse Museum has great deal of information that you can physically experience! Four Mile Old West Town is also a great choice to get immersed in the past. Custer is full of interesting history that the whole the whole family will find cool.

  11. Are you more of the outdoorsy and adventurous family? Well, Custer has plenty of fun hikes that you will be sure to find one that suits you! We have some located just in town but much more in the surrounding areas, like Custer State Park and near the caves. 

  12. Another great way to get outdoors in the Custer area is by biking! There are a bunch of trails for hiking that also allow bicycles, so make sure the trail you’re planning to hit allows them! There are various types of trails, like some with hills and some that are a bit rocky, but watch the weather before going out… trails can easily get muddy and hard to get through.

  13. Custer is located near the center of the Black Hills, so there are amazing picturesque views you can see from just about anywhere. Whether you’re heading to your hotel, walking on the sidewalk in the downtown area, or driving to a neighboring town, you will have multiple chances to capture pictures of the beautiful Black Hills that you can share with your friends and family at home!

  14. A major plus about staying in the Custer area is all the lodging possibilities. We have everything from bed & breakfasts, campgrounds, cabins, lodges, motels, and the classic hotels near downtown Custer. Although we have many options, they go quick! Make sure to book as far in advance as you can!

  15. The location of Custer blesses us with quite nice weather throughout the warmer months of June to September. However, winter in Custer is a very beautiful sight to see, too (preferably from your window and not on the road!) During the summer season, it is a little cooler in the mornings and evenings but can reach a decently high temperature during the middle of the day, but always be ready for an unexpected thunderstorm! So, make sure to bring your sunscreen, sweaters, umbrellas, swimsuits, and warm socks!

  16. A major aspect of the Custer area is the famous Mickelson Trail that stretches over 110 miles. You can start and stop anywhere on it, so you can just take a short, leisurely stroll or you can go big and hike multiple miles of it. You can also bring your bicycles on it! This trail is a great way to relax, especially with younger kids, and be in nature but also be close to Custer!

  17. Want that “Insta-Worthy” picture? We suggest finding different views from what the normal person would see… Rock climbing, helicopter rides, and hot air balloons are some of the best ways to experience fantastic views while also going a little outside of your comfort zone! If you are a beginner in climbing, we have lessons and easier climbs that you can participate in. If you are more of an expert, we have more advanced rocks that you can take part of, too! 

  18. Are you or a member of your party a car enthusiast? Then plan on taking a trip out here during our car shows! We have our Sound of Silence Tesla Rally on May 21st, the Off-Road Rally on June 11th, and the Studebaker Car Show on September 5th that generally attract a bigger crowd, so plan your trip soon!

  19. The Custer area, needless to say, is gorgeous during the day but make sure to check some of it out at night! The downtown area is lit up by restaurants and stores, which make it look even more inviting. During the darker hours, make sure to check out the lights at Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore, too! There is a laser show starting on May 28th at Crazy Horse this year and the lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore runs from May 28th to September 30th.

  20. Of course, you cannot miss one of the largest and most interesting attractions here; Custer State Park! There is an abundance of things to do including hiking and biking trails, the wildlife loop, the visitor center, see a variety of animals (that may walk up to your car!) and much more. Check them out at their website or in the tourist pamphlets around the area.

  21. And coming in at the 21st reason is that there is always something new to experience! Even if you recently visited, there is more-than-likely something that is new to do, eat, shop in, or visit. Things are consistently changing here in the Custer area, so it is always interesting to come back!

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