Alyssa Recommends South Dakota!

Hey! My name is Alyssa and I wanted to share some of my highlights from Rapid City, South Dakota. There is so much to do here! The Black Hills are beautiful y’all!

I am from the flat state of Oklahoma, so the Black Hills were like mountains to me. If you’re passionate about hiking, there are many beautiful hiking trails out here! The Badlands are absolutely gorgeous. It feels like you are in a different world while you are driving through them! As you drive through the Badlands, it’s just miles and miles of striped slopes that truly take your breath away. I also really enjoyed visiting the Crazy Horse Monument! Learning all about the Lakota people and culture has been one of my biggest highlights. I even was able to participate and learn how to do some hoop dancing while visiting crazy horse! I’m sure I looked very graceful while dancing, hahaha.

One hidden spot that I have visited several times has been Moccasin Springs in Hot Springs, SD. It’s a beautiful, relaxing and an all-around calming hot spring. They offer 3-hour soak passes, massages, yoga and meditation sessions. You might even be able to spot some wild deer while soaking in the 104-degree tubs! Definitely a must-stop spot for relaxing after a busy shift.

My family came to visit for a week and one of our favorite memories was driving through Custer State Park and Needles Highway! It’s hard to beat the views of the winding roads through the tall Cathedral Stones that are out by Needles Highway and Sylvan Lake. The wild bison herds are also very cool to see. We saw a baby bison nursing its mom right in the middle of the road blocking traffic. We didn’t mind at all.

I took several trips out to Pactola Lake which was absolutely stunning. Be prepared because Pactola is cold YEAR ROUND, but cliff diving was definitely an exciting experience for me and it was nice to escape the heat of Summer! If rock hounding is of interest, South Dakota is a great place to do that! The Fairburn Agate is a highly sought out stone but only a few actually find one. I thought I found one… but it actually wasn’t one. I still had lots of fun searching the Fairburn Agate beds and found lots of other rocks.

The 1880 Steam Train was also a blast! My family and I did the wine express which featured a three-course meal along with wine pairings. We started in Hill City, rode the train to Keystone for about an hour, and then headed back to Hill City. The views were beautiful and the energy was so fun! We loved joining in on some sing-along songs, especially after our fourth pairing of wine. If adrenaline is your thing. I highly recommend visiting Rush Mountain and Rushmore Adventure Park. The cave tour, zip lining and land coaster were exhilarating!

Some local restaurants that I have enjoyed have been Tally’s Silver Spoon and Cruzziers. Tally’s Silver Spoon has a delicious breakfast and mimosas! The mimosas are only $10 and come with two refills! That’s a win for me! Cruzziers Pizza in Keystone has some of the BEST cheese sticks I have ever had. Cruzziers is family-owned, has outside balcony seating, and the pizza is to die for!

For this assignment, I used Furnished Finder to find housing! We rented a house that was right on the outskirts of the Black Hills. Seeing the wildlife outside of our windows everyday was amazing and something that truly felt like a once in a lifetime experience! Our landlord was great and we had several bonfires with him during the summer nights. This location was only about 20 minutes away from work and the drive was really beautiful the closer you get to the Black Hills. The Canyon Lake area was very safe and people were often spotted riding bikes, walking their dogs and fishing in the nearby streams.

My assignment at Monument Health has been wonderful. I have always felt supported and had many resources available. The hospital has responsible management and the PCU floor was great at always providing help when it was needed. On the PCU floor, I met many travelers who travel back to this location every summer for great assignments and love the location just as so much to do. I am hoping to extend in this location for the winter. This Oklahoma girl is a little nervous about the cold snowy weather though. However, I am very excited about skiing at Terry Peak this winter! You’ll be able to find me at work, home, or possibly skiing and that’s about it during the winter! Send all the good (and warm) vibes my way. Brrrrr, I hope I don’t freeze.


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Mackenzie Bolte
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