This post is a part of my Black Hills Road Trip Series
When’s the best time to visit Mount Rushmore?
Spring break! While spending the 4th of July (or any other part of your summer vacation) visiting Mount Rushmore might seem like the perfect, quintessential American vacation idea, the Black Hills tend to be hot and crowded all summer. Save yourself. Go in the spring.
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The Best Time To Visit Mount Rushmore
Is a Mount Rushmore spring break excursion a good idea?
Short answer: Yes! Mount Rushmore is awesome during the off season. Book your tickets right now. Immediately.
Long answer: Yes, but there are some things to consider. Like the following…
Do you prefer having National Parks basically all to yourself?
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The reason spring break is the best time to visit Mount Rushmore is because basically no one else is there. When my sister and I visited in March, we essentially had a private tour of the park and surrounding areas. This is a major plus because it meant
We didn’t wait in line for food.
The food at Mount Rushmore is actually delicious! It’s called Carver’s Cafè and for reasonable prices (à la Chilis, etc.) you can get homestyle meals like chicken, meat loaf, green beans, roasted potatoes, etc.
The view of the monument from the cafe’s floor-to-ceiling window’s can’t be beat AND when visiting Mount Rushmore in the springtime, you don’t have to fight anyone for a table.
The Bathrooms were clean AF.
I would assume that Mount Rushmore is clean all year round, BUT there is something to be said to visiting when thousands of people aren’t using the bathrooms every single day. And, if I remember correctly, the restrooms were heated. Ideal.
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We got the best parking spot.
While the Mount Rushmore Hours during the winter and spring are from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM, when my sister and arrived at a little past 9:00 AM, it was still nearly completely empty. We paid the $10 for the annual parking pass and had our pick of the parking spots.
If you visit in the summer, especially near the 4th of July holiday, I imagine that parking would be way more competitive.
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We got tourist-free photos.
This was probably the best part of our Mount Rushmore trip. While I wasn’t too big into nabbing the perfect Instagram at the time, it was still so nice to not have to fight our way to the front to take a photo of the monument, or deal with 27 other tourists plus their dog crashing our photos.
It was just me, my sister, and the Mount Rushmore presidents.
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We got to take our time.
I’m not sure how many people view South Dakota and the Mount Rushmore area as a top tourist destination, but it’s probably one of my favorite places that I’ve ever been, simply because of how relaxed it was. My sister and I got to wander around the grounds at our own pace.
The lack of crowds made it quiet and peaceful, so whether we wanted to sit down in the middle of the path and just stare at the mountain or skip down walkways at top speed gigging for our Instagram Stories, we had the freedom to do so.
We did both, just in case you were wondering.
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Are you willing to be a little chilly?
The only “downside” I can think of for visiting Mount Rushmore for spring break is the weather. If you already live in the Northern USA, or are coming from another part of the world that actually has winter, then the temperatures in the 20s and 30s Fahrenheit will make you feel right at home.
Coming from Texas, the weather was colder than I was used to, but wrapped up in my down coat, I didn’t mind. You should also invest in these special gloves that allow you to use your smartphone without taking them off. Genius.
Mount Rushmore Recap:
The best time to visit Mount Rushmore is for spring break (i.e. late February through early April).
Bring a sturdy coat.
Do not touch the mountain goats.
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