Texas to Mount Rushmore…and the Cool Places In Between

As I mentioned in 9 Simple Ways To Make Your Next Road Trip Extraordinary, a great way to connect is to plan (and embark on) a road trip together.  I planned an epic road trip with my daughter, which turned out to be a life changing experience

Once Mount Rushmore was decided on as the destination for our roadtrip, we sat down and planned out our journey:

First was the route: We knew it was not going to be a straight route and we had to consider how much I could realistically drive in a day, since I was the only driver.  So, we made it interesting:

  • Getting out of Texas, from Austin, takes a day to drive and honestly, it’s not the most interesting drive. So we looked at what would hold our interest? (e.g. Market day in Post, Texas followed by Palo Duro Canyon at sunset).  Click here for a guide on Northwest Texas.
  • I wanted to see what the buzz was about in Santa Fe and Taosas everyone I knew who’d visited this area had RAVED about it.  I also wanted to experience the Native American culture, which I knew Natalie would love too.  Click here for our recommendations for Santa Fe.
  • One friend told us about White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and said it was a  ‘must see’, so we put that on the list.  (And it was cool!)
  • Staying at the Custer State Lodge in South Dakota seemed like a no brainer. How many times can you say you stayed in a President’s Summer House?  Click here to book and discover it for yourself!
  • I wanted to show Natalie how beautiful Arkansas was, as I’d been there before, so we added a 2 day stop in Eureka Springs. When I asked if she’d be interested staying in a haunted hotel, I thought she would hesitate. Natalie literally jumped up and down with anticipation.  Click here for the hotel we stayed in.
  • We had friends in Kansas and Oklahoma whom we hadn’t seen in a while, so that was also a must do.

When we plotted it all out, figured time and distance between places, we had a plan.

Here’s what our itinerary looked like:


 Seriously, this is a road trip everyone should experience.



There’s so much information to share that I separated it into individual posts. Check out posts below for the details on this trip which became an amazing midwest American adventure:

Here’s Your Guide to Northwest Texas

Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.The Gorgeously Spiritual Santa Fe and Taos

Why You Need to Go to Northern Colorado

Why Custer, South Dakota, is a Must Experience

Escape to the Ozarks: Eureka Springs Arkansas


There are some great stops on this road trip.  We’ve mentioned restaurants and recommended things to do/see in the posts for each area, but here are some others that weren’t included.  They’re definitely worth a mention:

  • Kansas City – Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ.
    Amazing, mouth watering, plate-licking-good barbecue. There no other words… it’s a must stop in Kansas City.Don’t just take our word for it:  Reviews
  • White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.
    Imagine mountanous sand dunes in the middle of a desert.  It is a freak of nature, and an awesome adventure.  Be prepared though for sudden sand storms, no matter how lovely the day seems.Don’t just take our word for it:  Reviews
  • Sioux Falls – Queen City Bakery.
    This was a Tripadvisor find and oh my, what a find it was.  Now, I will admit, Nat and I like our chocolate.  When we saw the brownies on offer, we knew that’s what we wanted… but the brownie we shared was so large and decadent, we weren’t able to finish it.  And I repeat, it was a shared piece. (We took the rest with us though and enjoyed it later).  Definitely worth the stop for a sweet indulgence.



TROVER is a great app that gets your travel juices flowing. I call it my ‘wish board’ but I’ve actually made those wishes a reality. I’ve used Trover to plan some great trips of our own. Check out photos we took of our midwest adventure and then see what you can find for yours.



Here are some other helpful posts to help you prepare for this epic road trip: 

The Only Roadtrip Checklist You Will Ever Need

9 Ways to Save Money on a Road Trip

9 Audiobooks You Need For Your Next Roadtrip

7 Fabulous Travel Apps You Need To Download Now

How To Plan a Budget-Friendly Road Trip

Ready to experience these amazing places for yourself?

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