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Car Rental in Rapid City: the 'Gateway to the Black Hills'
Rapid City is typically known primarily as an excellent base of exploration for the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, and while it certainly is that, it is well worth exploring in its own right. Don’t miss out on a walk through the quaint and artsy downtown area, before you head out into Rapid City’s neighborhoods and beyond. With the wide roads typical of the American frontier, driving through South Dakota’s second largest city is truly comfortable and by far the most convenient form of travel in the region. Get your adventure started by booking a car today.
Most tourists flock to South Dakota in the summer season, when the rough winter of the plains and mountain foothills is guaranteed to be over. If you’re willing to fight with tempestuous spring weather, however, April and May are pleasant months to visit the tourist attractions of the Black Hills.
The de facto national language of the United States is English. The currency is the US dollar. Currency exchange is highly available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses.
Most visitors to Rapid City arrive by car, travelling along Interstate 90, which skirts the city to the north along its east-west intersection of the United States. However, you can also reach Rapid City by air at the Rapid City Regional Airport, located just over 10 miles east of city center. If you are flying into the city, this is a great place to pick up your rental car, as there are a number of agencies located just outside the airport itself. There is also an Enterprise located along E North Street on the outskirts of town.
Rapid City is a great base from which to explore a surprisingly wide diversity of experiences in South Dakota. A scenic drive through the Black Hills, including a visit to kitschy frontier town Keystone and to Mount Rushmore (25 miles to the southwest), is well worth your time, but don’t hesitate to also head north and east! The Badlands National Park 60 miles to the east features some of the most bizarrely beautiful landscapes in the world, and biker city Sturgis 30 miles to the north is a whole different kind of party during its rally month of August.
38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit esta.us for more information. Everyone who enters the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included on the visa-waiver program list, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.
Driving in Rapid City
Although some public transportation is available to Mount Rushmore, most visitors to Rapid City and the Black Hills arrive by car, and for good reason: roads are wide and well maintained, parking is plentiful, and driving is simply the most convenient, comfortable and independent way to explore this unique and beautiful region of the United States. Book your car today to make the most of your visit!
- Traffic proceeds on the right-hand side of the road throughout the United States.
- Unless otherwise marked, after coming to a full stop at a red light, you can turn right from the right lane if there is no oncoming traffic.
Typical Speed Limits
- In municipal and residential areas: 15 to 45 miles per hour
- Outside of the city: 55 to 70 miles per hour
- On interstates: 75 to 80 miles per hour
- You may experience some traffic congestion in downtown Rapid City during morning and evening rush hours, as well as traffic congestion around Mount Rushmore during the busiest parts of the tourist season.
- While street parking is regulated by time and fee in downtown Rapid City, your first three hours of parking on Main and St. Joseph streets is free, and parking throughout the rest of downtown is fairly inexpensive and free on weekends and evenings.
- While there are no entry fees to Mount Rushmore, you will have to pay a small fee to park in the conveniently located parking lot outside the monument area.
- You can drive on your domestic driver’s license as a tourist throughout South Dakota, though an international driver’s permit is recommended, particularly if your license has been issued in a language other than English.
- There are no toll roads in South Dakota. While South Dakotans can be issued a provisional driver’s license as young as 14, you will likely have to be at least 18 years of age to rent a car, and all drivers under 25 are likely to have to pay young driver surcharges.