Welcome to my article on Mount Rushmore National Memorial. My name is Samuel. I’m 36 years old and the father of two beautiful daughters. I live in a city called Nantes in the west of France. I started traveling when I was a student and haven’t stopped since my first travel experience in Australia.
My grandmother traveled a lot and she was always telling me amazing stories about her trips. So now it’s my time to discover the world! As I enjoy taking pictures, I decided to share them. Becoming a blogger was the obvious next step for me. You can read my blog here: papateteenbas.fr.
Traveling across the American West
I have traveled to the US a couple of times now (cities in the northeast and Florida) but I was recently dreaming about discovering the American West. So during a recent world tour with my family, we decided to spend two and a half months traveling on a road trip through the states of California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota.
It was an amazing trip! The loop started and finished in San Francisco. We saw and visited so many places that it’s impossible to sum it up in just a few words. But I enjoyed a lot of wonderful natural wonders. The land in the West was so dramatic, various and beautiful that we never got bored.
Awesome Day at Mount Rushmore
When I was a child, I used to read the French Picsou Magazine. I remember one of the stories took place in Mount Rushmore. Ever since reading this story, I have been fascinated by the sculpture and couldn’t wait to see it.
During this recent American road trip, I spent a day at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It’s not a big place – so I didn’t need to join a tour or anything like that. I just wandered around the area with my family. I really appreciated the combo of natural beauty, artistic sculptures and museums.
My Favorite Presidential Sculpture
Theodore Roosevelt was my favorite presidential sculpture because of the beauty of the carving. We got the impression that he was wearing glasses! It was astonishing. More generally though, all of the sculptures are brilliant in their own way. The faces seem alive – like they are looking at something.
To be honest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they spoke! Being French, I knew all of the presidents but didn’t know much about their history or legacy. I learned some amazing facts not only about the presidents but also about the building process. For example, did you know that they broke a face while building the sculpture? Of course, it was fixed!
Things To Do at Mount Rushmore
- Stroll along the avenue with the country flags
- See the exhibits at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center
- Walk the Presidential Trail to the base of the mountains
- Visit the Sculptor’s Studio and learn about the carving process
- Enjoy the view from Grand View Terrace and admire the mountain.
Facts about Mount Rushmore
I don’t know if you will find this interesting but I found this to be fascinating: at the base of the mountains there are lots of rocks which have come from the rubble of the carvings. You can see blocks with holes in them where they put dynamite to explode the mountain. I never knew that they had to set off explosions to create the sculptures, but there you go!
Where to Stay at Mount Rushmore
Keystone is the nearest town to Mount Rushmore. It’s a small town but there are lots of accommodation options. You also have plenty of restaurants and shops. I can’t recommend any specific hotel (as my place wasn’t great) but just make sure you read the reviews and you will find something suitable. Be sure to book in advance as Keystone can get busy!
Other Amazing Places to Visit in South Dakota
There are many other amazing places to visit in South Dakota. Not too far from Mount Rushmore is Crazy Horse Memorial. Even though I found this place to be a bit expensive and the museum not as nice, it’s definitely worth a visit. Crazy Horse is a monument still under construction. It will feature Oglala Lakota (Crazy Horse) riding a horse toward his tribal land.
If you like nature, Badlands National Park is another beautiful place to explore in South Dakota. The park has some nice walks along dramatic landscapes. You can even meet a few of the locals – bison, prairie dogs and pronghorns. These animals are also on show at Custer State Park, South Dakota. But don’t worry – you can stay in your car to observe the bison!
One unusual and unique place to visit is the Wall Drug Store. The town of Wall is near Badlands National Park and is home to this famous drug store which has funky signage and decorations! I love the T-Rex roaring. You will understand more when you visit. Trust me, you will love it.
Need to Know Before you Go
When you arrive at Mount Rushmore you will see a car park at the entrance. Make sure you pay and don’t try to park without paying (unless you want a ticket)! The best thing to do is to come early in the morning so you can secure a good park and avoid the crowds as it gets busy.
The sun reflects beautifully on the mountains and sculptures, so make sure you bring your camera! Everything is easy to access and the paths are well maintained. Having your own car certainly allows you to explore the area and the other attractions in South Dakota. Enjoy your visit 🙂