The post is a part of my Black Hills Road Trip Series
Reasons to visit Mount Rushmore? Who wants to go there? Isn’t that like in…South Dakota? Is that even a real state?
Yes, it’s a real state (jury’s still out on North Dakota though…and Idaho tbh). A pretty interesting one at that. While Mount Rushmore was literally carved as a reason to draw tourists to the Black Hills region (pretty effective marketing campaign y’all), it’s such a part of the American cultural narrative at this point that everyone should make a point of going to see it at least once.
Here are nine reasons to visit Mount Rushmore:
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To Check South Dakota Off Your List
If you don’t go to Mount Rushmore, you’ll probably never go to South Dakota. Which is a shame because it’s awesome. But because of its Midwest location, just doesn’t seem to have the draw of tourist hubs like NYC, LA, or NOLA.
But going to all 50 states seems to be on the bucket list of many Americans. It’s certainly on mine. Planning a trip to Mount Rushmore offered me the opportunity to check one of the “harder to get to” states off the list.
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To Spend Time with Family
Mount Rushmore was packed with families! Moms, dads, grandparents, pairs of adult siblings (like my sister and I), groups of friends who might as well be brothers.
Everyone was laughing, learning, and loving it. It’s a place you want to share with those you love. You’ll look back at the pictures, years from now, like “Hey, remember when we had a blast staring at some old men carved into a mountain?”
There’s something very communal about the park.
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To Feel Patriotic AF
The intense patriotism of the monument might also contribute to this communal feeling. Mount Rushmore is such a quintessential American icon that’s it’s hard not to get a little sentimental about our country while there.
It seemed easier to talk to people while visiting — to swap stories and laugh together because we all had one thing in common. We came all the way to South Dakota to see a giant rock.
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To Inspire Your Own Passion Project
It’s hard not to get fired up about your dreams when you see Gutzon Borglum’s realized in stone. He achieved his dream. He mastered his art. When I left, I felt excited about my writing. I had a renewed creative passion and excitement.
Whether you like knitting, writing music, running marathons, or volunteering, I would hope that this one of many reasons to visit Mount Rushmore gives you the same vigor!
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To Learn Some American History
The presidents on Mount Rushmore were selected by Gutzon Borglum for very specific reasons.
Washington for the struggle for independence and the birth of our Republic; Jefferson for territorial acquisitions and westward expansion; Lincoln for the permanent union of the states and equality of citizens, and Roosevelt for the 20th century role of the USA in world affairs and the rights of the common man. Although construction ended in 1941, it’s as if the carvers foresaw the “Great American Century.”
But there is always a flipside.
It’s important to remember that while each man on the mountain is meant to stand in for these ideals, he did not embody them perfectly. Understanding the conflict and context of each administration and historical period represented on Rushmore is another essential element of a visit to the monument.
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To Pick a President’s Nose
I honestly don’t think that there is any other setting in which this is appropriate, so I was pretty excited about the opportunity. It’s not like you can go to the National Portrait Gallery or the Smithsonian and pick peoples’ noses.
Not that I haven’t tried.
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To Get the Perfect Gram
Mount Rushmore looks like a movie scene. Probably because we’ve seen it in so many movies. Because of this, taking bangin Instagram photos is pretty easy because you’ve got such good terrain to work with. It’s one of the best reasons to visit Mount Rushmore.
It’s also nice to know people won’t be looking at you, they’ll be looking at the mountain, so you can do pretty much whatever and it’ll get a lot of likes.
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To Eat Some Delicious Food
I can’t say it enough: the food at Carver’s Café at Mount Rushmore is actually delicious. Go ahead and eat there. It’s not like other tourist attractions where you pay an exorbitant amount of money for something that tastes like an old shoe.
I felt like I was eating at a friend’s house. A friend that can really cook. A “Hey, come here and let me fix you a plate” kind of friend. Eat there.
To Hang with the Goats
These goats are one of the best reasons to visit Mount Rushmore. Just watch out for them.
The goats at Mount Rushmore might seem friendly, but my theory is that they are actually highly trained attack goats hiding some sort of weird illuminati secrets stashed in the mountain. Or maybe this goat tried to kill me just because I went too close to him. It definitly could also be that.
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