Where to stay near Wind Cave National Park, SD

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  • Post last modified:February 12, 2024
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Wind Cave National Park was the first cave in America to become a national park. Today the park welcomes visitors to enjoy both its underground and overground scenery. But where to stay near Wind Cave National Park for the best experience?

The town of Hot Springs offers the lodging with the best park access. Other options for where to stay when visiting Wind Cave National Park are Custer and Rapid City.

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Hot Springs

From Hot Springs, it’s only 11 miles (18 km) to Wind Cave, taking 15 minutes by car. No other option for where to stay near Wind Cave National Park is as convenient.

While Wind Cave is a great attraction, it’s not Hot Springs’ only celebrated sight. The remarkable Mammoth Site of Hot Springs is a museum and paleontological site. So far, more than 60 mammoths have been recovered at its active excavation area.

For such a small South Dakota town, it’s impressive with both prime access to a national park and an excavation site.

But the selection of lodging in Hot Springs is limited. Therefore, make sure to book your accommodation as early as possible if you want Hot Springs as your base.

  • Distance: 11 mi / 18 km
  • Driving time: ≈ 15 min
  • Pick Hot Springs for: Best access.

Hills Inn at Wind Cave

Hot Springs’ Hills Inn is a convenient and classic place to stay when visiting Wind Cave National Park. On top of the prime location, it has an old-school motel aura hard not to like.

Grazing bison in Wind Cave National Park, easily reached from Wind Cave hotels in Hot Springs
Grazing bison in Wind Cave National Park, SD.


Custer is another convenient option for where to stay near Wind Cave National Park. It’s just 20 miles (32 km) and 30 minutes by car from Custer to Wind Cave — only Hot Springs offers better access.

Custer’s position north of Hot Springs is in particular handy if you plan on taking some of the other popular day trips in the area. Custer State Park is, as its name indicates, easy to reach from Custer.

Other popular places to visit in the Black Hills are Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and Badlands National Park. These spots are all easier to reach from Custer than from Hot Springs.

So, in Custer you find not only convenient Wind Cave access but also good access to other area highlights. For that, Custer is often referred to as the center of adventure in the Black Hills.

As a Black Hills hub, Custer has a bigger selection of lodging than Hot Springs. No matter if you look for hotels, motels or cabins, you find more options in Custer.

  • Distance: 20 mi / 32 km
  • Driving time: ≈ 30 min
  • Pick Custer for: Black Hills sightseeing.

Comfort Inn and Suites

Effortlessly travel to Wind Cave and other Black Hills favorites. Then retreat to your comfy room, and maybe the on-site swimming pool and hot tub.

Rocket Motel

The Rocket Motel in Custer is a Black Hills favorite that takes you on a trip to the past but with modern day comforts. It has a 50’s theme but still feels brand new.

Bison on field in Custer — a unique place to stay near Wind Cave National Park
Custer State Park, SD.

Rapid City

It’s 58 miles (93 km) from Rapid City to Wind Cave National Park. By a margin, it’s the option for where to stay when visiting Wind Cave that’s located furthest away from the South Dakota cave.

However, Rapid City is the largest city near Wind Cave. With that comes both more hotels and a bigger selection of other things to do.

One of the most popular attractions in Rapid City is Bear Country USA. It’s a drive-through wildlife park with not only black bears but also elk, buffalo and wolves.

Rapid City is, in addition, a good pick to explore other South Dakota gems. In particular, Rapid City provides favorable access to the popular northern portion of Badlands National Park.

  • Distance: 58 mi / 93 km
  • Driving time: ≈ 1 h
  • Pick Rapid City for: A bigger city.
Rock formation and yellow grass in Badlands National Park, SD
The rocky Badlands National Park.

Where to stay near Wind Cave National Park FAQ

Where should I stay when visiting Wind Cave National Park?

The town of Hot Springs offers the very best access to the park. However, Custer is a great base to combine Wind Cave National Park with Custer State Park and other popular spots further north. If you’re after a bigger city, you need to look towards Rapid City.

What city is near Wind Cave National Park?

Hot Springs is the city closest to Wind Cave National Park. From the South Dakota town with Wind Cave hotels it’s only 11 miles (18 km) to the cave adventure. Rapid City 58 miles away (93 km) from Wind Cave is the nearest larger city.

Does Wind Cave National Park have a hotel?

There are no hotels in Wind Cave National Park. But you find the lodging closest to the park just a short drive away in the nearby town Hot Springs.

How many days do you need for Wind Cave?

One full day allows for a tour of Wind Cave as well as some hiking and wildlife viewing above ground. Add more time for the Wind Cave area’s other attractions including the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.

Is Wind Cave National Park worth it?

Wind Cave National Park is one of two national parks in South Dakota. It’s one of the longest cave systems in the world, and the cave is famous for its extensive deposits of boxwork. Still the park is not only about its underground features. In the park you can also view some of the most iconic wildlife in the US, including bison.

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