Southern Black Hills Travel Guide: Custer
Written by Dolsee Davenport
April 30, 2019

It was gold that brought the first settlers to Custer County, as they followed the wagon tracks of the 1,000-strong 1874 Expedition led by Lt. Col. George A. Custer.  But it has other, less tangible lures enticing residents to the area today: spectacular scenery, a wide variety of recreational opportunities, world-class attractions, a healthy environment, and a sense of community. (2019 Custer Magazine)

Even though there are less than 2,000 people currently living in the city of Custer, the town has everything that a visitor to the Black Hills of South Dakota would need or want: award-winning restaurants, a variety of unique lodging establishments, hundreds of miles of outdoor recreation trails, and fascinating history of the Old West.

In the last couple of years, Custer has become known as a foodie community.  We are home to nearly 30 restaurants which means this is the place to be for a great meal.  Whether you’re here for breakfast, lunch, dinner or somewhere in between-Custer has what you want

No matter what type of lodging you’re dreaming of for your Southern Black Hills vacation, Custer has it.  There are more than 50 hotels, motels, campgrounds, horse camps, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and resorts. Custer lodging establishments offer you a variety of amenities, room types and rates. We also have pet-friendly establishments so the entire family can enjoy a Black Hills adventure. Plus, you can choose to stay right in Custer or outside of city limits.

Outdoor Recreation
The Southern Black Hills has hundreds of miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking, biking, and utving.  Right in city limits we have Big Rock Park hiking trail that has a few stopping points that offer beautiful views of the area, and even takes you close to the famous Custer sign.  There are also a couple miles of the 109-mile Mickelson Trail that runs right through the center of town.  This trail is perfect for biking, walking, or even horseback riding.  In addition to those right in town, Custer State Park and the Black Hills National Forest have many great trails to check out while you’re here. 

Custer is also near many lakes that are in Custer State Park, and not far from various lakes throughout the Black Hills.  A few of these have their own water sport rentals, but Custer also has a couple places you can rent from and take a kayak or paddleboard with you.

When you’re in Custer you are minutes, not miles, from adventure!  Custer is 5 minutes from Crazy Horse Memorial, 5 minutes from Custer State Park, 10 minutes from Sylvan Lake and Black Elk Peak Trailhead, 10 minutes from Needles Highway, 25 minutes from Iron Mountain Road, 25 minutes from Wind Cave National Park, 15 minutes from Jewel Cave National Monument, and 20 minutes from Mt. Rushmore National Memorial.  We’re also home to the 1881 Courthouse Museum which is located right downtown and Four Mile Old West Town which is (you guessed it) 4 miles west of town.

Custer is home to unique stores, quaint gift shops and souvenir stores.  If you’re looking for something to remember your trip to the Black Hills, look no further than downtown Custer.  In addition, many of our area attractions have gift shops located right on their premises.

As the oldest town in the Black Hills, Custer has a unique charm and many stories from the past.  Make sure that your trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota includes a stop here, or even better, make Custer your home base and be close to everything you came to the Black Hills to do!  If you'd like more information on planning your vacation, download the Southern Hill Vacation Guide or request that it be mailed to you.

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615 Washington Street
Custer, SD 57730



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