Things To Do in Keystone South Dakota

Things To Do in Keystone South Dakota

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    Keystone is a tiny, charming, and densely forested town in South Dakota. It is placed in the center of the black hills of Pennington county. Paying a visit to this town means witnessing the stunning nature, visiting the great Mount Rushmore, exploring the Big Thunder Gold mine, and more. 

    This also means that you will find yourself indulging in a lot of winter sports which include hiking, snowballing, snowboarding, and skiing. Keystone is a great place for enjoying winter sports as it receives snowfall of about 54 inches per year.

    Similarly, snow in Deadwood South Dakota also reaches its peak of about 138 inches per year which is about 110 inches more than the national average. This makes South Dakota the most ideal place to enjoy winter outdoors. Besides that, there are many museums, amusement parks, restaurants, art galleries, and gift shops to be explored in the town. 

    So if you are checking out for the greatest things to do in keystone South Dakota, here is a list for you! 

    Is Keystone SD worth visiting?

    Keystone is a small densely forested and less populated town in South Dakota. It is known to be the home of the Visitor Magnet and Mount Rushmore, which are a few miles away from the town center. It is worth visiting as visitors find it a perfect destination for biking, hiking and exploring mostly every snow activity.

    In addition to that the cost of living in South Dakota is 2% more than in Keystone. 

    What are the top attractions to visit in Keystone?

    Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Big Thunder Gold Mine, Rushmore Tramway Adventures, Wax Museum, and Dahl’s Chainsaw Art are the top attractions to visit in Keystone, South Dakota.

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    Top 10 Things to do Good in Keystone

    The town of Keystone, South Dakota has something for everyone. From scenic lakes to historic places, it guarantees to make you go aww. When you decide to call South Dakota your home, one of the first things you should do is search for relocating to South Dakota from the NYC checklist and tips for permanent residency.

    Afterward, you will move on to the best things to do in Keystone, South Dakota. So, here it is!

    1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial

    When people go to Mount Rushmore, they witness the rich history South Dakotans share, from the first settlers to the diversity of the country today. The city is known for its huge sculpture as a tribute to four U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

    Mount Rushmore National Memorial
    Mount Rushmore National Memorial

    Visiting the memorial should be on your top-most on your list of things to do in Keystone, South Dakota. If you are visiting the place, dine at The Carvers’ Café, which offers a selection of cuisines. Under Canvas Mount Rushmore, K Bar S Lodge, Ascend Hotel Collection, and Comfort Inn & Suites Mt Rushmore are a few of the top trending hotels near Mount Rushmore.

    Location: 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, USA.

    How much does it cost to get into Mt Rushmore?

    Entry fees to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial is free of cost. However, there is a $5 parking fee for retirees and older.

    Is Mt Rushmore lit up at night?

    Mount Rushmore lit up at night every day and the huge lights are turned on to illuminate the monument. This night program is known as the Evening Lighting Ceremony. 

    2. Big Thunder Gold Mine

    The Big Thunder Gold Mine of Keystone, South Dakota is a great place to go if you want to spend a lot of time panning for gold and feel like a gold miner from the 1800s. Big Thunder Gold Mine is famous for its authentic gold mine. You can see the biggest collection of mining tools in the Black Hills and learn about the 1876 gold rush.

    Big Thunder Gold Mine
    Big Thunder Gold Mine

    Grapes & Grinds, Big Thunder Gold Mine Eatery, and Cruizer are a few well-known restaurants where you can have delicious cuisines and enjoy a stay at Comfort Inn & Suites Mt. Rushmore, Battle Creek Lodge & K Bar S Lodge, etc.

    Location: 604 Blair St, Keystone, SD 57751, USA.

    How long is the Big Thunder Gold Mine Tour?

    Big Thunder Gold Mine tour is a 1 hour 30 minutes underground hill tunnel. It engages visitors to spend their time panning for gold and other stuff at the museum.

    Can you mine for Black Hills gold?

    You can mine and pan for gold at black hills National forest.

    3. Holy Terror Antiques

    Holy Terror Antiques is a beautiful 6,000-square-foot space with windows and skylights that let in a lot of light. The store is known for its full line of antiques, which include furniture, pottery, toys, gas station signs, oil cans, kitchen collectibles, tools, lighting, and more.

    Holy Terror Antiques
    Holy Terror Antiques

    Tourists in Holy Terror Antiques always get the store owners very friendly, and the place has a great vibe. If you are visiting Holy Terror Antiques, grab a meal at Brgr 61, Last Mile Brewery Keystone, BaRLee’s Food and Drink and get yourself a comfortable stay at Comfort Inn & Suites Mt. Rushmore or Under Canvas Mount Rushmore.

    Location: 1201 Old Hill City Rd, Keystone, SD 57751, United States.

    What days are Holy Terror Antiques open?

    The Holy terror antiques store is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    What forms of payment are accepted at Holy Terror Antiques?

    Holy Terror antique store accepts credit cards, debit cards, and cash. 

    4. Horse Thief Lake

    Horse Thief Lake is the lake closest to Mount Rushmore. Here people like to fish, especially through the ice. A few years ago, dredging was done to eliminate too much sediment, restore depth, and improve the water. You can fish for trout in this beautiful lake from the shore, a non-motorized boat, or the fishing pier that is accessible to people with disabilities.

    Horse Thief Lake
    Horse Thief Lake

    During winters, the lake gets covered with fishable ice (at least 4 inches), which is why visiting this place should be one of the things to do in Keystone, SD in the winter.

    People visiting Horse Thief lake love to dine at Powder House Lodge Restaurant, Carvers Café & Prairie Berry Winery and stay at Lodge at Palmer Gulch, K Bar S Lodge, and Freedom Ridge Cabins as these are the closest hotels to the spot.

    Location: State Highway 244, two miles west of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

    What kind of fish are in Horsethief Lake?

    Horsethief Lake contains fishes like Largemouth Bass, Bullheads, Walleye, Crappies, And Bluegill. 

    Why is it called Horsethief Lake?

    Horsethief Lake is called so, not because of the history of horse thieving but due to its appearance like an outlaw hideout.

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    5. Red Garter Saloon

    Red Garter Saloon is a seasonal business that has been run by the same family for 50 years. The house restaurant is always open during the busy season, from April to late October. The place is famous for its live music, two outdoor patios, and comedy western gun shows that are great for kids.

    Red Garter Saloon
    Red Garter Saloon

    Ruby House Restaurant and the Saloon’s customers can get local craft beer, great cocktails, and fine wine and enjoy a comfortable stay at Pier House Resort and Spa, Marquesa Hotel, or Ocean Key Resort and Spa. 

    Location: 124 Winter St, Keystone, SD 57751, United States

    6. The National Presidential Wax Museum

    The National Presidential Wax Museum is a fun way for the whole family to show their patriotism. The museum is famous for over 100 lifelike wax figures, including all 46 U.S. presidents, which are shown in stunning visual recreations of iconic moments in presidential history.

    The National Presidential Wax Museum
    The National Presidential Wax Museum

    Explore the stories behind the faces with an audio tour that tells you about the setting and history of each scene. Also, don’t forget to taste coleslaw, fried chicken, steak, and eggs at  Peggy’s place and Grapes and grinds.

    Location: 609 US-16A, Keystone, SD 57751, United States.

    What can you see at the wax museum?

    The Wax Museum has a large collection of wax sculptures of famous personalities presented in realistic poses. They are seen to be wearing real costumes and jewelry.

    How cold are wax museums?

    The temperature in the Wax Museum is ideally set at 21°C.

    7. Rushmore Tramway Adventures

    Rushmore Tramway Adventures is the ultimate family-fun adventure park that offers thrilling experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. Take a relaxing ride on a scenic chairlift, feel the rush as you race down our alpine slide at full speed, put on a harness, and fly along zip lines or go downhill tubing to enjoy the stunning natural views of the entire area. 

    Rushmore Tramway Adventures
    Rushmore Tramway Adventures

    After pumping your heart out at tramway adventures, taste freshly roasted coffee, fresh bagels, local and imported wines, and more at Grapes and Grinds, Holy Terror Coffee, or Dairy Queen Grill and Chill. 

    Location: 203 Cemetery Rd, Keystone, SD 57751, United States

    When are Rushmore Tramway Adventures open?

    Rushmore Tramway Adventures is open on weekends from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. 

    What hotels are near Rushmore Tramway Adventures?

    The well-known hotels to stay near Rushmore Tramway Adventures at Rushmore Express Inn and Family suites, Mountain View Lodge and Cabins, K Bar S Lodge, etc. 

    8. Dahl’s Chainsaw Art

    See the amazing results of artist Jarrett Dahl’s chainsaw carving of bears, eagles, and more! Traveling to Mount Rushmore? Stop by the gallery where Jarrett’s works are on display and for sale. This artist is so gifted that he can make a one-of-a-kind carving just for you!

    Dahl's Chainsaw Art
    Dahl’s Chainsaw Art

    You can also click some pictures of the huge sculptures, miniatures, and other pieces and post them on your social media pages.  A sculpture garden on the side of the road filled with wooden sculptures, among them the largest Bigfoot, is the top attraction. If you are craving a delicious meal, stop at Peggy’s Place and Grapes and Grinds.

    K Bar S Lodge and Roosevelt Inn are the famous lodges nearby for those who are planning to stay near the gallery. 

    Location: 121 Roy Street Highway 16A, Keystone, SD 57751, United States.

    What hotels are near Dahl’s Chainsaw Art?

    Rushmore Express Inn and Family Suites, The Whispering Pine Lodge, Keystone Inn And Suites, and Roosevelt Inn are the best hotels present near Dahl’s chainsaw art.

    What restaurants are near Dahl’s Chainsaw Art?

    Carver’s cafe, Peggy’s place, Cruizzers, and Jane’s Boardwalk Pizza are a few top-rated restaurants present near dahl’s chainsaw art. 

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    9. Holy Smoke Resort Horse Rides

    Probably you have figured out the right things to do in Keystone summer, i.e. riding the great trail through the Black Hills National Forest and riding horses at Holy Smoke Resort. And all you will find is peace, nature, and the smell of pine. Step out of your door and smell the fresh pine. Put on your boots and walk through the forest.

    Holy Smoke Resort Horse Rides
    Holy Smoke Resort Horse Rides

    Then come back to your cabin at Holy Smoke Resort and enjoy the peace, quiet, and privacy. Although you can stay and enjoy delicious cuisines at the resort, you can’t miss fall-of-the-bone BBQ, pasta, steaks, burgers, etc at Powder House Lodge restaurant and gluten-free, nachos, vegetarian, and pizzas at Janes Boardwalk Pizza. 

    Location: 24105 Hwy 16A, Keystone, SD 57751, USA

    Where is Holy Smoke Resort located?

    The Holy Smoke Resort is situated 1.5 miles (2 minutes) north of downtown Keystone, South Dakota. 

    What time is check-out at Holy Smoke Resort?

    The check-in and check-out time at the Holy Smoke Resort is from 15:00 to 21:00 MST. 

    10. Black Hills Helicopters

    On a private helicopter tour, you can see all that Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills have to offer. Black Hills Helicopters, Inc. gives helicopter tours of the South Dakota Black Hills, which is a unique thing to do in keystone, SD. Take a few minutes to see things from a different angle and feel what it’s like to fly in a helicopter and see the world from above.

    Black Hills Helicopters
    Black Hills Helicopters

    People visiting Black Hills Helicopters love the specialized dishes, prime rib, fish, wild game and pasta, buffalo, nachos, pizza, and calzones at Power House Lodge Restaurant and Jane’s Boardwalk Pizza. 

    Location: 24035 US-16A, Keystone, SD 57751, United States

    What days are Black Hills Helicopters open?

    Black Hills Helicopters is open every day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. On Mondays, it is open till 7:00 PM. 

    Things to do in Keystone South Dakota FAQs

    How old is Keystone South Dakota?

    Keystone South Dakota is 140 years old. Its first traces were found in 1883 as a small mining area but it soon became one of the richest gold mining settlements in the Black Hills. Even though mining was unavailing, the city became famous due to Mount Rushmore’s monumental carving, Visitor Magnet, Carrie Ingalls of Little House, and more.

    Are the Badlands worth seeing?

    Badlands is a remarkable and one of the most underrated national parks in the United States of America. The place has plenty of scenic hiking trails, a handful of stunning natural scenery and outlooks, and a plethora of flora and fauna. 

    What are the most popular things to do in Keystone with kids?

    The 5 most popular things to do in keystone with kids are: 

    • Skiing and Snowboarding in Arapahoe basin and Keystone ski area
    • Exploring Loveland pass
    • Visiting the stunning Keystone Lake
    • Take horseback riding toward Keystone Stables
    • Cross-country skiing at Keystone Nordic Center


    Not just this list, there are plenty of interesting things to do and explore in keystone South Dakota. Some are small and less crowded, while some are huge and attractive. But everything is notable and mandatory to visit as they are meant to stun all age groups.

    Making a trip to keystone with your family and friends during weekends and holidays is ideally a good decision enjoys vacations. But if you are permanently moving to any town in South Dakota, don’t forget to learn more about moving costs to South Dakota which average around $600 to $9000.

    Moving costs usually vary based on the time of the year, the number of things to be moved, and the distance from the state and mover companies. 

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