This past weekend my husband and I spent a long weekend in the Black Hills. This was something that we was on our fall bucket list. I enjoyed visiting the Black Hills much more than I thought I would. It’s absolutely beautiful. There’s a constant breeze rolling through the hills and the air smells like pine trees. It’s such a peaceful place. I think its the perfect place for someone looking to unplug a bit and relax..on a budget. If you’re ever within driving distance, I highly recommend making a trip out there. There are tons of things to do in the Black Hills including hiking, museums and historical sights.
How Much We Spent On Our Road Trip
We really wanted to go on a cheap vacation this fall and keep the whole trip under $500. This included gas, food, lodging and entertainment. Here’s what we did:
We did a great job on hotel expenses. We paid for our hotel with credit card reward points. This was the first time I ever used credit card reward points to pay for something. I must say, I’m really liking this! Using credit card rewards is a great way to save money on a vacation.
If you don’t have rewards points you are still in luck. There are several campgrounds in the area. From what I’ve seen, most places charge less than $30/day for a spot. That’s a great price if you dig camping.
No real way of getting around this expense as we were on a road trip after all. Gas adds up quickly.
This is the place where my husband and I let go of our frugal inhibitions. I made a conscious decision to stop ordering the cheapest/most reasonably priced item on the menu (like I usually do) and instead order what I wanted. One night that even included a steak : ) It was delicious and felt like a total treat. We also ordered desserts and appetizers which is something we normally avoid. Sorry, not sorry!
We had a lot of fun checking out the local attractions. A few of our favorite activities included taking a train ride through the hills and visiting the Badlands National Park. Other fun things we did included touring an old gold mine and of course visiting Mt. Rushmore.
We did find a few free activities in the Black hills:
1) The Museum of Geology in Rapid City. This museum is all about the Badlands and fossils. We loved it. They had tons of artifacts and really interesting exhibits.
2) The Annual buffalo roundup at Custer State Park – Every year the park rounds up all the buffalo in the park (approximately 1,200 buffalo!) They do this to count, vaccinate and sell (some) of the buffalo. It was really amazing to see the cowboys and cowgirls race down the prairie on horses and round up that giant herd. It was almost like the scene out of a movie. You can see a clip here.
Dog Sitter $100
My sister was kind enough to watch Ruby and pick up our mail each day while we were gone. Taking Ruby to the kennel would have easily been double the price and Ruby hates going there. Ruby is much happier and spending time with her Aunt.
In total, we spent $680 for a 5-day/4-night vacation.
Not bad really. We went over our budget goal of $500 but that’s okay. Of course we could have done it for less. We could have purchased a few groceries for lunch and dinner to cut down on food expenses but I guess you live and learn. I don’t regret what we spent. We had a great trip and it was relatively inexpensive.
**If you’re considering a trip to the Black Hills, I definitely have a few restaurant and attraction suggestions. Feel free to contact me!**