RV Rental Rapid City, SD

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Rapid City, South Dakota RV Rentals

South Dakota is best-known for one huge attraction: Mount Rushmore. But don’t let this impressive monument sway you — there’s so much more to see, particularly in Rapid City. And especially from the seat of your own rental RV.

Located to the east of the Black Hills National Forest, Rapid City is considered the gateway to Mount Rushmore, and it’s just as exciting and beautiful as the monument for which it's known.  If you want to explore all of the one-of-a-kind natural spots waiting in this area of South Dakota, Rapid City RV rentals provide the perfect opportunity to camp, adventure, and experience all there is to see for yourself.

From sprawling hills covered in incredible trees to winding mountain roads that have surprises at every twist and turn, there’s so much to see in Rapid City. Once home to its very own gold rush, you can check out everything from natural wonders to cool experiences. And it’s a great place to explore from behind the wheel of an RV rental, as Rapid City offers a wealth of campsites and gorgeous outdoor destinations.

Popular RV Destinations in Rapid City

Mount Rushmore

It’s no secret that Mount Rushmore is a must-visit destination near Rapid City, South Dakota. This famed landmark and monument is truly a one-of-a-kind sight to behold, featuring the enormous and uniquely sculpted faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln in the hills of the landscape. The sheer size and scope of the carved faces will awe anyone.

While you’re at Mount Rushmore, there’s more to see than just the monument itself. You can also check out the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, where you can see additional exhibits and learn more about how the faces were carved. There’s also a Sculptor’s Studio, ranger talks, and a Presidential Trail that spans 0.6 miles and 422 stairs along the mountains.

Black Hills National Forest

Perhaps the best-known natural destination outside of Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills National Forest is a gem within western South Dakota. The Black Hills cover Rapid City and other cities within the state, but they stretch all the way into northeastern Wyoming and cover a total of 1.2 acres of hills and mountains. There are a whopping 110 miles of length and 70 miles of width in this forest to explore.

And you’ll be seriously impressed when you drive your RV to the Black Hill National Forest. You’ll see diverse wildlife and plants among ponderosa pine trees, and you can check out and participate in activities like hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and even mining. With stunning formations created by nature like grassland parks, rock formations, canyons, gulches, and even streams and lakes, there’s a ton to explore.

Angostura Recreation Area

If you’re a fan of fishing or relaxing along the water, you’re going to want to visit the Angostura Recreation Area while you’re in Rapid City. It’s the perfect place to head in an RV, with a wealth of gorgeous campsites surrounding the crystal-clear reservoir and all of its recreation opportunities. You can camp here in your RV for days and enjoy all kinds of different activities and natural sights.

At the Angostura Recreation Area, you’ll have 36 miles of shoreline to explore, including breathtaking scenery, sandy beaches, and boating and swimming spaces. If you like to fish, you’ll love the selection of walleye, smallmouth bass, crappie, northern pike, largemouth bass, perch, and bluegill found underneath the reservoir’s surface. No matter where you stay or hang out here, you’ll be able to take in some of Rapid City’s greatest sights.

George S. Mickelson Trail

Whether you’re hiking for the first time or are an experienced pro, make sure to head to the George S. Mickelson Trail while you’re in Rapid City. Located right in the midst of the Black Hills, this trail offers gentle slopes, easy access, and a path that’s ideal for hikers of every age and ability. It stretches 109 miles long and takes you through some of the coolest sights in the Black Hills.

Along the George S. Mickelson Trail, you’ll get the chance to see and pass more than 100 converted railroad bridges, four rock tunnels, and beautiful National Forest Land. There are 15 different trailheads to try, and you can find restrooms as well as picnic tables along the way. It’s a great opportunity to explore the Black Hills on foot, without too much of a challenge.

Iron Mountain Road

Make sure to plan a drive along Iron Mountain Road while you’re vacationing in your RV rental in Rapid City. This is quite a special road — it covers 17 miles, starting in Custer State Park and ending at the entrance of Mount Rushmore, and you’ll drive over everything from wooden bridges to one-lane tunnels along the way. It winds through a captivating forest, making it feel like a scenic journey.

With speed capped at 35 miles per hour, it takes time to navigate Iron Mountain Road. But you’ll definitely have a lasting impression of this road, thanks to its ribbon-like swoops and bends that introduce you to picturesque sights. You may even see wildlife like buffalo herds, antelope, deer, and turkey along the way.

Black Hills Caverns

The Black Hills Caverns are a cool spot to visit if you love history — but they’re also a fun place to check out if you want to traverse hidden trails and rock formations. These caves and caverns were first discovered by gold seekers in 1882, but they were used and known by the Lakota Indians for centuries prior. Formed by Paha Sapa limestone, these caverns take you underneath the Black Hills and show you formations that began as far back as 60 million years ago.

While visiting the Black Hills Caverns, you can take one of two different tours. With three levels of caves and natural wonders to see, you can follow pathways and see the natural beauty of the limestone up close. The tours span up to 0.75 miles underground, though there are shorter options if you don’t want to climb a ton of stairs.

Events and Entertainment in Rapid City

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the biggest annual events near Rapid City, and it’s one you can’t miss if you’ve never experienced it before. This rally welcomes approximately 500,000 motorcycle riders to the small city each year, and it includes rides through the Black Hills as well as booths, street food, and so much more. Even if you’ve never ridden a motorcycle, it’s an exciting one-of-a-kind event that you’ll never forget.

Best of all, the multiple campgrounds in the area are often the epicenter of Sturgis activities. The famous Broken Spoke and Buffalo Chip campgrounds provide some of the best live entertainment, food, and camping options you'll find at the rally. 

During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, motorcycle riders and motorcycle enthusiasts come together for 10 days of scenic drives and a whole lot of fun. The attendees travel along some of the most scenic roads in the country, hitting spots like Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer State Park. The event is so popular that most of the city books up a year in advance — so make sure you have your RV and RV campsites reserved well ahead of time if you’re attending. 

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

Buffalo are animals you don’t encounter very often — but in Rapid City, South Dakota they’re found in many natural areas. And during the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup, you can celebrate and watch the local buffalo in action. An event that evokes the traditions of the wild west, this 50-plus-year-old celebration brings horseback riders into town to round up approximately 1,450 buffalo.

Held each September, the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup helps keep the local buffalo population balanced. You’ll watch cowboys, cowgirls, and park rangers roundup and drive the hard, and there’s a three-day Arts Festival held on the very same days. That means you can watch the buffalo action and check out more than 100 local art vendors based right in Rapid City. 

Black Hills Powwow

Nowhere else but Rapid City will you get the chance to experience the Black Hills Powwow, an annual cultural event held every October. You’ll want to make sure you’re in the city for this wonderful celebration, which brings together dancers, singers, and artisans from the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota nations. It’s one of the most majestic celebrations of Native American heritage you’ll ever witness.

During the Black Hills Powwow, you can watch mesmerizing dances, gorgeous pageantry, and explore different tribes’ works of art. You’ll want to make sure to catch the grand entrance and the drum groups, which are some of the most exciting events to watch. Dance competitions also put the tribes against each other in live demonstrations of skill. 

The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival

Rapid City takes pumpkins seriously, and the annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival is a sight to behold. Each October, this event happens right at the heart of Rapid City, with events taking place from Main Street Square to Sixth Street to Memorial Park. Over the course of a single day, visitors and local residents participate in fun events like pumpkin painting, pumpkin weigh-offs, and other pumpkin-based events.

One of the most exciting events is the pumpkin catapult, which shoots pumpkins right into the air. There’s also a Kidz Zone for fun activities and booths, a sprawl of local vendors, and more to get you into the fall spirit. 

Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo 

The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo is another very western event that brings rodeo traditions into town. Each January and February, this event brings competitions, entertainment, and a whole lot of activity into Rapid City. And it’s the second-largest event in all of South Dakota.

During the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, you can watch ranch rodeos and more than 14 different horse events filled with western fun. Concerts also take place, and there’s a beer festival just for adults. There are even livestock sales and competitions to take in, along with livestock seminars just for producers, horse enthusiasts, and anyone else who’s interested in getting inside info about rodeos and livestock.  

FAQs

Q: What are RV Rentals?

An RV rental is your chance to experience RV ownership without actually having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to purchase one of these motorhomes. You can simply rent, or borrow, an RV of any size for any length of time. And from there, you can drive to different Rapid City campsites, explore the city and surrounding area, and more, all while bringing your “home” along for the ride. When your trip is over, you can simply return the RV, enjoying all the perks at an affordable price with no long-term commitment. 

Q: How Much are RV Rentals?

RV rentals vary in cost, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $250 per night. Typically, small campers and camper vans cost between $75 and $150 per night while full-size motorhomes and larger RVs cost between $150 and $250 per night. If you’re looking to save, keep in mind that RV rental companies often offer lower per-night prices — sometimes as low as $60 per night — for longer rental periods. 

Q: Do I need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Rapid City?

Most Rapid City RV rentals require you to be at least 25 years old in order to rent alone (or as the sole driver). However, some rental companies may rent to individuals as young as 21 years old. You just may need to pay higher prices or for more insurance coverage if you’re under 25 years old. 

Q: Do I need insurance when I rent an RV?

RVs, like any other type of vehicle, do require insurance. And when you’re renting an RV, you’ll need to make sure you’re insured to drive the vehicle. While most basic auto insurance policies don’t cover RV rentals, you can typically buy insurance through your RV rental company. These companies offer short-term policies or limited coverage that’ll ensure you’re protected while behind the wheel of a rented RV.

Q: Do I need to return my rental RV with a full tank?

Every RV rental company is a bit different when it comes to returning your rental — some will require you to bring your RV back with a full tank, but others won’t. Some rental companies allow you to return your RV with the same level of fuel it had when you picked it up. You also have the option to allow the rental company to refuel for you at a price (though this often costs you more than filling up at a local gas station).

Q: Are RVs pet-friendly in Rapid City?

You’ll want to check with the Rapid City RV rental company you’re renting from to find out their pet policy. While some rental companies welcome pets inside their RVs, others don’t. Before you pack up your furry friend and his belongings, make sure you’re able to include them on your RV trip without incurring additional costs.