Which of the Great Eight would you do First?

 

South Dakota: Which of the Great Eight would you do First?I loved seeing the presidents of Mount Rushmore at the Den on Sunset at Travel Massive Los Angeles. I never expected to selfie with them on a Thursday night. Thanks to Kelley, Jim, Mara, Katlyn, Gina and a special thanks to Wanda for all her help on my first trip to visit part of the GREAT EIGHT!

What is the GREAT EIGHT? These are top sights to visit in South Dakota! I saw some of them and cannot wait to go back to finish the list!
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park
  • Badlands National Park
  • Historic Deadwood
  • Which of the Great EIGHT would you do FIRST?Custer State Park
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Jewel Cave National Monument

VideoOn the Road to Rushmore

Lisa, Jason and Scott continued on to South Dakota and made a stop in legendary Sturgis, including the Knuckle Salon and Trading Post where the annual Harley Davidson festival is held! The Wild West really comes to life here, especially in the “Badlands” and its cemetery, which holds the remains of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane.

Video: Mt Rushmore at Night Summer 2015

Here Lisa and the team toured the sights by moonlight for a look at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The touching ceremony at the end of each night honors US troops with the lowering of the flag. There’s so much to learn from the past and this monument will forever be an important part of the American history and present.

Video: Sunrise at Mount Rushmore

After getting a taste for the Wild West, it was time to set off to Mount Rushmore. Here Lisa and the team toured the sights by sunrise for a look at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. There’s so much to learn from the past and this monument will forever be an important part of the American history and present.

Though Mount Rushmore holds much historical significance, it’s also a place to come and unwind! The Adoba hotel in Rapid City is the winner of several Trip Advisor awards for excellence and offers comfortable, spacious rooms. The local restaurant, Enigma, serves the freshest organic food from land and sea including pomegranate-braised lambshank and broiled walleye; all complemented by live music!

VideoCuster State Park, South Dakota Summer 2015

Custer State Park in South Dakota is amazing. I loved it. There are 71,000 acres here. We drove the 18 mile Wildlife loop road. There are 1300 bison or buffalo in the park. They can weigh up to 2000 pounds. I had no idea we would be able to see them so close. I highly recommend this adventure! I loved our day in the park. We also saw Praire Dog Town and the burros that live in the park.

VideoCrazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota Summer 2015

Lisa and the team made a stop at the Crazy Horse memorial in Western South Dakota. The memorial to this important Lakota leader was carved by Korczak Ziolowski into the granite Black Hills mountain range as part of a 100-year project. The impressive head sits 219 feet high and watches out over the valley with its multitude of stories from past times.

VideoBadlands Helicopter Adventure, South Dakota

Badlands Helicopter Adventure, South Dakota: The Badlands of South Dakota are a designated national park and close to 65,000 acres act as a wilderness area for the re-introduction of endangered species. After hopping onto a tour with Black Hills Aerial Adventures, Lisa was on her way to a bird’s eye view of 243,000 acres of buttes, pinnacles and spires, not to mention the world’s richest Oligocene fossil bed!

If a helicopter ride doesn’t appeal, there is plenty of hiking to take advantage of in the Badlands; see more than 7,500 stars in the clear night-sky. Becoming a volunteer in the Night Sky Program is a great way to experience this on a deeper level!

*** March 2017 update: The Rapid City’s Adoba Hotel where I stayed is now The Rushmore Hotel. *****

Which of the Great 8 would you do FIRST?

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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