Adventures for Teens in the Southern Black Hills for the Summer
Written by Darian Block
June 14, 2021

Although the Custer area is growing into a more retired community, the Black Hills is still growing with plenty of things to do for the younger members of the family. Many new businesses are coming to the area, expanding the options and opportunities for everyone, whether it be locals or visitors. Especially in the summertime, teenagers are always looking for something new, fun, and a bit adventurous to take part in, and here some great chances for them to experience the Southern Black Hills coming from a teenager herself.

Growing up here in Custer, I have learned about many places my classmates have gone to and the different attractions and experiences they have taken part in. One of the major things every teen does here, though, is just cruise around the area. Driving around is a very easy-going and stress-relieving thing to do. Teens meet someplace in town, pick a car that will fit everyone, and start driving around the neighborhoods or out to Stockade Lake or just down main street. These drives usually lead to long and deep conversations with good friends. Plus, especially in summer, we get to see beautiful sunsets if you start driving at the right time. This is also something you can do with your family to get to know each other and the area better!

Another thing that many teens take part in in Custer is the local basketball courts and skate park. They are always open in the summer and are a great place to meet others the same age and with the same interest as you. At the basketball courts, people bring their own basketballs and shoot into the dark hours of the night. And a lot of times, more people join and soon you’re playing with 5 to 10 more people! At the skate park, people can just skateboard, longboard, or ride around on their scooter. Like the courts, others sometimes join you or your party to just hang out. However, some high schoolers have started to longboard and scoot on a back road with more open space where not a lot of traffic goes.

A typical thing that teenagers do in Custer is go out and find food. After work, it’s not uncommon to stop by a gas station or the grocery store to grab a snack and then go hang out with the friends. Or, a small group goes to eat or orders to-go at a sit-down restaurant. Eating, of course, is something all teenagers love, and Custer has plenty of food options for them: sit-down restaurants, casual eating, ice cream places, and candy stores. Getting together for some food is a great way to hang with new friends and your family.

A more active thing to do is going to one of the many options of lakes around! Just in Custer State Park, there are 5 to choose from and each of them are great for their own reasons. Getting together with your friends to go to a lake doesn’t just mean swimming. At most of the lakes, there are trails that are wonderful for a short walk or a hike before or after a swim! It is always a good idea to bring some snacks (especially cold fruit!) for those hotter summer days for the drive back. Plus, especially when hanging with a bigger group, we always bring extra clothes to drive back in and when there’s a chance we’ll hang out afterwards, too.

Teenagers in Custer don’t just hike at the lakes, though. We love to go up to the Custer sign on the Custer Skywalk trail, up to Black Elk Peak in the early morning hours to beat the rush of tourists, through Custer State Park on the variety of trails they have, or just on the Mickelson Trail somewhere. Because most teens in Custer have lived here a significant part of their life, they know about the best trails and the best times to go on them, plus how long and difficult they can be. Luckily, for visiting teens and families, there are plenty of trail maps and brochures that will give the information needed about them. Especially for the teens that are in sports, the trails can also provide great running places to stay in shape. It can get quite hot in Custer mid-day, so runners tend to start early in the morning or after we get off work later in the evening. The trails are wonderful to be alone on and/or with a few friends or family members for some good conversations!

Because Custer is a smaller town, we like to go to neighboring towns as well. Rapid City, of course, has a lot to do. There are a couple malls to shop around at, snack and food places to hang out at, and different attractions that are fun to be at. Hot Springs has a bowling alley that is a good get-together with either your friends or family. Hill City has amazing food places along with part of the Mickelson Trail that is easily accessible. Keystone, specifically in the summer because it’s mainly closed in the winter, is a super fun place for anyone to be at. There’s stuff do with your group of friends but there’s also plenty to do with your family. There’s a golf course, the Rushmore cave, an aerial course, candy stores, and great food places. Neighboring towns are great places to get a little change of scenery while doing something we don’t always get a chance of doing.

The small, tourist towns in the Southern Black Hills hold plenty of things for teenagers to do, especially in the summer months. There’s something for any group of people to take part in, whether it be hiking, swimming, bowling, etc. Plus, these are great places for families, as well, to hang out at. There is plenty to see and do here in the Hills!



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