- Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park
I absolutely love to take families of all ages to Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park for photos. Giant granite boulders emerge from this little mountain lake at the base of Black Elk Peak. Older kids love playing on the impressive boulders, there are plenty of accessible areas for people of all abilities, and kids of all ages love to play on the beach. Sylvan is a great spot to capture lots of candid images.
2. Badlands National Park
The other-worldly landscapes of Badlands National Park, about an hour and twenty minutes from Rapid City is one of my favorite places to take families. This park has been slept on by travelers for a long time, but folks are catching on that the desert landscapes make unique, stunning backdrops for family photos.
3. Black Hills National Forest
There are so many incredible spots all around the Black Hills that are a little more off the beaten path, where we can get away from crowds and still find the amazing views the Black Hills are known for.
4. The Outdoor Campus West
This is a great spot for young families because there are lots of opportunities to play and the terrain isn’t hard for little legs. There are some cool structures, including a big treehouse, and creek and pond on the grounds.
5. Spearfish Canyon and the Northern Black Hills
I love venturing deep into Spearfish Canyon with families and couples, to find aspen groves and ferns, especially in the fall when things are golden.