Top Solo Travel Destination US Old West: This was one of my personal best US trips to visit the Old West, and see historic Mt. Rushmore National Monument. If you saw the great classic film “North by Northwest”, you know that Rapid City, SD, is the nearby place to stay. I chose the Alex Johnson Hotel described below. I found Rapid City and South Dakota to be a warm, friendly destination for a solo traveler.
Mount Rushmore is a part of the United States National Park Service with three million visitors each year. This fabled landmark is made up of immense stone sculptures of four United States Presidents carved out of tall stone cliffs. The four Presidents portrayed are: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Summers are perfect and not that hot. There are a number of summer festivals which can be a good time to go but check to see if there are rooms still at the right price for your budget. Winter in deep snow might be a little cold and hard to get around however.
First stop, of course, go to Mt. Rushmore. It has one million visitors each year! I took a day’s bus tour. You can drive if you like but will have a parking fee. The good news is that there is no entrance fee aside from parking. Do be sure if you go alone to join a tour to learn the story of Mt. Rushmore. I was surprised to find out why there were no new Presidents carved there in stone. Our guide said it was actually because the stone was too soft not too hard!
Visit the large complex at the Crazy Horse Memorial. It is still being finished but has plenty to see for the rest of the day. (I combined a day trip with a half-day at Mt. Rushmore and a half-day at the Crazy Horse Memorial.)
Join a barbeque family-style or a block party early evening in Rapid City.
Spend time learning about the Native American tribes and cultures on the Midwest Plain States.
Drive or join a local tour through the Black Hills.
Play a round at the Executive Golf Course.
Tour the Badlands National Park.
Have a day at the WaTiki Indoor Water Park.
The Alex Johnson is now a part of the Hilton Curio Collection made up of historic hotels. It is set right on a main street in Rapid City a short half hour’s drive to Mount Rushmore. Guest rooms have fa flat-screen cable TV, free Wi-Fi and a robe to lounge in. Each room has kept its Old West style and decor. There is access to a spa and fitness center.
While you will enjoy the Old West flacor, there is also an authentic Irish pub on-site. You can also enjoy a hamburger or other US cuisine at lunch and dinner or your choice of drinks. The Alex Johnson also has Seattle’s Best Café for coffee and breakfast items.
If you are not on the go solo but with your “best friend”, the Alex Johnson is pet-friendly.
Airport access is easy just 9 miles via the Alex Johnson’s free shuttle.
To avoid higher lodging prices, avoid planning on heading to South Dakota during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in summer.