This post is a part of my Black Hills Road Trip Series 

Looking for things to do at Mount Rushmore other than just standing there, looking at the monument and doing your best Owen Wilson impression?

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument

Don’t worry, y’all. I got you. Mount Rushmore is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been and I’ll give you the tools you need to have a great time.

My Top 10 Things To Do at Mount Rushmore

See also:

Make Friends with the Goats

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

When my sister and I first arrived at Mount Rushmore, the mountain goats standing outside the entrance were realllly still. Their fur was blowing softy in the wind, but their lack of overall movement made me think they were fake. As I moved closer to investigate, I kept bracing myself, thinking at any moment this goat was going to lunge at me, or at least blink.

But it didn’t.

So I walked closer and closer until this woman, let’s call her Karen from Nebraska, walked past and laughed, “Girls, those are statues! You don’t need to act so scared.”

Jokes on you Karen from Nebraska. A statue doesn’t try to bite your hand when you reach out to touch it. Way to go Mount Rushmore staff, your seemingly innocuous attack goats are working as intended.

See also:

Eat at Carver’s Café

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

I usually don’t eat at National Parks, or other major tourist attractions, because you usually just end up with overpriced, nasty airport-quality food. But I knew I wanted to eat at Mount Rushmore because an iconic scene from North by Northwest was filmed in the Mount Rushmore cafeteria so it was one of the things to do at Mount Rushmore that I couldn’t miss.

Give me the opportunity to walk where Cary Grant once walked or give me death tbh.

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

My sister and I were actually in for a nice surprise because the food ended up being delicious (tasted home-cooked, really) and reasonably priced. You also can’t beat the views of the boys from the amazing floor-to-ceiling windows.

See also:

Buy a Kitschy Souvenir

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

Y’all. Mount Rushmore has a wealth of souvenirs to pick from. T-shirts? Check. Shot glasses? In stock. Ridiculous magnets? Ready to go.

If you’re going to visit a place as well-known and commercial as Mount Rushmore National Monument, then you might as well invest in a fun souvenir to remember your all-American presidential vacation.

“Hike” the Presidential Trail

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

I put hike in quotations here because this trail is a fully paved, .6 mile leisurely stroll, but calling it a hike just makes it sound a lot more exciting. If you’d like to do some real hiking, then you can head to nearby Badlands National Park, but if strolling along a nicely-wooded path under the watchful eye of four former presidents carved into stone sounds like a fun way to kill 20 minutes, then this is the activity for you.

It was actually fun y’all. When I went during the spring, there was hardly anyone else there, so it felt like I was getting a private tour.

See also:

Reenact National Treasure or North by Northwest

In college, I took a class on Alfred Hitchcock’s films and my favorite one was North by Northwest. I loved the capers, the soundtrack, and of course, Cary Grant.

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

I actually ended up writing my final paper on the infamous “Crop Duster Scene” and how the lack of music in the moment contributes to the terror of being exposed, so standing at the base of the monument was one of my favorite things to do at Mount Rushmore because I got to imagine the movie’s final chase unfolding right in front of me.

See also:

Take a Selfie with the Boys

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

They are already posing for you, so it seems like a waste of a trip if you don’t get a couple of good shots of you and the Presidents on Mount Rushmore cheesing for the camera.

Extra points if you pick their noses because let’s be honest, we are all children here.

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

See also:

Literally just Stand There and Stare at the Mountain

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

I tend to do this with all famous landmarks. Catching me staring at Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and now Mount Rushmore with my mouth open for a good five minutes before speaking.

I’ll probably do this when I visit the Grand Canyon later this year as well. It’s a cool moment, when you’ve grown up seeing something in pictures and on TV and then suddenly it’s right there in front of you.

There’s plenty of spots on the Mount Rushmore grounds to pause for a good look. Make sure to soak these moments in.

Tour the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

The center teaches you how to actually pronounce Borglum (it’s a mouthful), the history of Mount Rushmore’s construction, why the area was picked, and what the monument was actually supposed to look like.

I always like to learn about the “what ifs” and “almosts” of major events in American History, so this all was a real treat. If you breeze through, you could spend about 30 minutes in the center, but if you’d like to take your time you could spend well over an hour taking everything in.

Watch the 14-Minute Movie about Mount Rushmore’s History

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

One of the best things to do at Mount Rushmore. Whether you watch the movie about Mount Rushmore to actually learn about how it came to be, or you’d just like to get some quick shut eye in a dark room is totally up to you.

I may or may not have stayed in the theater for 28 minutes and “watched” the film twice through so that I could experience both of these options.

Take in the Sculpture’s Studio

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

The Sculpture’s Studio is only open seasonally, so when I went in early spring it hadn’t geared up for the new season yet, but if you are there when it’s ready for tours, be sure to stop in to learn more about the techniques and history behind carving giant presidential faces into the side of a mountain.

  • Pin it: 

things to do at Mount Rushmore National Monument Mount Rushmore Vacation

Follow:

This post is a part of my Black Hills Road Trip Series 

Wondering which Mount Rushmore movie scene to reenact during your vacation in the Black Hills?

With rumors of a Mount Rushmore secret room and the monument being used as a coverup for government conspiracies swirling about pop culture, it’s hard not to get swept up in the theatrics of it all.

But it’s not hard to imagine why the creators of North by Northwest and National Treasure 2 picked Mount Rushmore as the backdrop for the most intense moments of their movies. I mean, just look at it.

See also:

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

So important. Much wow.

Mount Rushmore Movie Scene Movies filmed at Mount Rushmore

I made my sister pull over to take this picture.

North by Northwest Mount Rushmore Movie Scene

I took a film class focusing primarily on Hitchcock my senior year of college and North by Northwest was by far my favorite movie we studied. I loved the pace. I loved the hijinks. I loved the soundtrack (the iconic theme definitly made an appearance on my Instagram story the day of my visit).

I loved the film so much that I was disappointed that while visiting Mount Rushmore, I learned that the average visitor isn’t allowed up onto the cliff face. Apparently, only the people who work on cleaning the monument are allowed to do that…so my dream of reenacting this heroic Cary Grant stunt was crushed.

You can, however, have lunch in the Carver Cafè, home of the infamous North by Northwest surprise shooting scene. Although the cafè has been remodeled since it’s appearance in the movie, it still has the marvelous floor-to-ceiling windows which offer views of the Mount Rushmore that can’t be beat.

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

The Carver Cafè dining room.

Mount Rushmore Movie Scene Movies filmed at Mount Rushmore

The same great view! Hasn’t changed since 1959.

National Treasure Mount Rushmore Movie Scene

See also:

I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence. Oh whoops, wrong movie! The much acclaimed (lols) sequel National Treasure 2 was also partially filmed around Mount Rushmore. There’s just something about big stone presidents carved into a mountain that screams “PUT ME IN YOUR MOVIE” I guess.

I was actually pretty excited about walking where Nicolas Cage walked. I mean, he’s the guy everyone loves to hate. The Nickelback of actors.

But once again, the film features people who definitly didn’t pay the $10 entrance fee just casually walking along the TOP of the monument, instead of the lovely walking paths down below. So I definitly didn’t get to walk where Nicholas Cage walked.

See also:

Such a disappointment.

My main goal in life is now to create something so culturally and politically important that I am one of the people who is allowed to climb up the faces of Mount Rushmore. Who knows, maybe this post will be that thing.

But I really doubt it!

  • Pin it: 

Mount Rushmore Movie Scene Movies filmed at Mount Rushmore

Follow:

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.

See also:

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

Queen of the World

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…

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

A completely empty viewing platform

Do you prefer having National Parks basically all to yourself?

See also:

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.

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

Plenty of seats to choose from.

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.

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

Hello, Mr. Presidents.

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.

See also:

We got the best parking spot.

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

Where should we park?

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.

See also:

We got tourist-free photos.

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

Sunny day in March 🙂

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.

See also:

We got to take our time.

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

Sister and Presidents.

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.

See also:

Are you willing to be a little chilly?

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

It was actually really hard to get up on that ledge!

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:

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

This goat was NOT friendly y’all

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.

  • Pin it:

best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

**This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item via these links (or in the same session) I get some cash money, at no extra cost to you. You can learn more in my Privacy Policy.

Follow: