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Best Hotels Near Mount Rushmore + Top 5 Places To Stay

Best Hotels Near Mount Rushmore + Top 5 Places To Stay

Mount Rushmore is a must-see bucket list attraction in South Dakota. But where are the best places to stay near Mt Rushmore? Well, we have rounded up the top rated cheap, mid range and luxury Mount Rushmore hotels to help you choose the perfect hotel for your visit to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Where should you stay when visiting Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills?

Rapid City, Keystone, Custer, Hill City and the northern areas of South Dakota’s Black Hills such as Spearfish and Deadwood are all excellent places to stay near Mount Rushmore. However, the best place for you to stay will depend on your specific travel itinerary and goals .

Here’s what we will show you:

  • Visiting Mount Rushmore
  • The closest town and city to Mt Rushmore
  • The 5 best places to stay near Mount Rushmore
  • Top rated hotels within each area of the Black Hills
  • Mount Rushmore hotels map

Let’s find you the perfect hotel near Mount Rushmore, South Dakota!

Our Black Hills Hotels Experience

We have personally driven through South Dakota’s beautiful Black Hills National Forest on two separate occasions and we think the area is home to one of the best road trips in the USA.

Throughout both our visits to South Dakota we have gained a deeper understanding about the best locations and benefits to staying at hotels in each of Keystone, Custer, Hill City, Rapid City and the northern areas in the Black Hills.

We are going to show you the top rated hotels in each of the best places to stay near Mount Rushmore with pros and cons, as well as an explanation of the area.

Hikers standing at the flagpole marking the summit of Black Elk Peak Trail near Sylvan Lake in South Dakota
Mark and Kristen at the summit of Black Elk Peak near Mt Rushmore in the Black Hills

Visiting Mount Rushmore

Before we get into the hotels and towns around Mount Rushmore, let’s take a quick look at what you can expect when visiting the famous sculpture.

You already know Mt Rushmore is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. But did you know it only takes around 2-3 hours to fully explore the National Memorial?

Based on our two visits to Mount Rushmore – once for sunrise in October and once during mid afternoon in April – we think 3 hours is all the time you will need to hike the Presidential Trail, learn about the construction of Mount Rushmore and enjoy views from the amphitheater.

However, be sure to check out the evening lighting ceremony from the newly renovated amphitheater if you visit Mt Rushmore in the summer months.

Mount Rushmore does not have an entry fee but visitors do have to pay $10 for parking. You cannot use your America the Beautiful Pass at Mt Rushmore because you are paying for parking, not accessing the Memorial.

Here are our popular Mount Rushmore travel guides you can read later to help with planning your visit:

Hotels near mount rushmore are great idea so you can wake up early to be inside the memorial before sunrise with stunning purple sky
Mount Rushmore at twilight before sunrise

What Is The Nearest Big Town To Mount Rushmore?

Rapid City is the closest city and transport hub to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

If you are visiting Mt Rushmore from around the US, you should consider flying into Rapid City, hiring a car at the airport and exploring the Black Hills before returning home from the same airport.

International visitors to Mount Rushmore might want to consider flying into Denver airport, which is the closest major airport to the Black Hills.

You will find small towns such as Keystone, Hill City and Custer scattered around the Black Hills close to Mount Rushmore.

5 Best Places To Stay Near Mount Rushmore

OK, let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 areas around the Black Hills you should consider booking a hotel for your visit to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.

We are listing each place in order of distance from Mt Rushmore and within each place you will find the top rated cheap, mid range and luxury hotels available.

Hiker in winter coat walking on a snowy trail next to a lake and trees
Kristen walking around Sylvan Lake on a snowy day in April

1. Keystone

Keystone is 3.5 miles and 10 minutes drive from the parking lot at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, making it by far the most convenient place to stay near Mt Rushmore.

However, convenience isn’t everything.

If visiting Mount Rushmore is the top priority on your visit to the Black Hills and you want the ultimate location, definitely book a hotel in Keystone.

Just be aware that despite being the ‘traditional’ place to stay near Mt Rushmore, the tourist season is short in Keystone.

Between May and September you will find everything open and tourist season in full swing. But most restaurants close down for the winter outside of those peak months.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to staying in Keystone.


  • Several hotel options at affordable price points
  • Closest place to stay near Mount Rushmore
  • Quick access to the memorial for sunrise photography
  • Centrally located between Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Sylvan Lake and Rapid City
  • Easy access to Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway


  • Amenities are surprisingly limited
  • Dining options are sparse and very similar
  • Longer drive to Spearfish and Deadwood
  • Further from Wind Cave and Jewel Cave

Best Hotels In Keystone, South Dakota

Here are the top rated cheap, mid range and luxury hotels in Keystone, South Dakota:


Mid Range


Want to read more about each hotel? Read our complete guide to the best places to stay in Keystone SD for every budget on our sister site Best Hotels Anywhere.

Mt Rushmore amphitheater seating empty on a cold snowy cloudy day
Lincoln Borglum amphitheater at Mt Rushmore

2. Hill City

The first time we visited South Dakota’s Black Hills we didn’t drive through or realize Hill City was an option for booking a hotel near Mount Rushmore. But during our second visit we did drive through Hill City and it is definitely a very good alternative to consider.

Mount Rushmore is only 12 miles and 20 minutes drive time from Hill City on easy roads. It is very easy to access several popular areas around the Black Hills from Hill City without having to drive any slow scenic roads.

Hill City is slightly larger and more residential than Keystone. It offers a better selection of dining compared to Keystone, but Custer definitely has a wider range of quality places to eat.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to staying in Hill City, South Dakota.


  • Great choice of highly rated hotels close to Mt Rushmore
  • Closer to Spearfish, Deadwood and the northern reaches of the Black Hills
  • Easy access to Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Black Elk Peak and Crazy Horse
  • Ride the 1880 steam train right out of Hill City


  • Further from Wind Cave and Custer State Park wildlife loop
  • Food options not quite as extensive as Custer or Rapid City

Best Hotels In Hill City, South Dakota

Here are the top rated cheap, mid range and luxury hotels in Hill City, South Dakota:


Mid Range


Lincoln presidential face carved into granite in south dakota
Abraham Lincoln face close up

3. Custer

Custer is much larger than Keystone and offers a far greater selection of dining options. Keystone is more like a resort, whereas Custer is a small town.

Mount Rushmore is 20 miles and 30 minutes drive from Custer, South Dakota.

Bearing in mind you will only visit Mt Rushmore once or twice at the most, Custer could be a better overall option to set up base for exploring the Black Hills.

Most of the best things to do in Custer State Park are located close to the town of Custer.

Black Hills Burger and Bun is a fantastic lunch stop in Custer, whether you stay in town or somewhere else nearby.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to staying in Custer.


  • Better selection of high quality hotels near Mount Rushmore
  • Closer to Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Crazy Horse, Sylvan Lake, Needles Highway and Custer State Park wildlife loop.
  • Plenty of excellent places to eat along Mt Rushmore Road running through Custer


  • Further from Badlands National Park, Deadwood and Devils Tower
  • Longer drive from Rapid City town and airport
  • 30 minutes to Mt Rushmore from Custer is much longer than 10 minutes from Keystone

Best Hotels In Custer, South Dakota

Here are the top rated cheap, mid range and luxury hotels in Custer, South Dakota:


Mid Range


Four US presidents carved into a rock in south Dakota
Stone colored granite before sunlight changes the color and appearance

4. Rapid City

Rapid City is the major tourist hub for visiting western South Dakota’s stunning natural landscapes. Most visitors to Mt Rushmore, the Black Hills and Badlands National Park will fly into Rapid City airport and hire a car at the regional airport.

There are no hotels at Rapid City regional airport but there are a wide range of highly rated hotels in and around Rapid City itself.

Rapid City is the perfect centrally located home base if you want to stay in a very built up area near Mount Rushmore with plenty of excellent dining options. It is easy to plan day trips into Badlands National Park, Mt Rushmore, Custer, Wind Cave and Devils Tower from Rapid City.

You might be surprised to learn that Mount Rushmore is just 23 miles and 30 minutes drive time from downtown Rapid City. Quicker roads allow you to reach the memorial in the same time as Custer from the opposite side on much slower roads.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to staying in Rapid City, South Dakota.


  • Located right on I-90 with easy access to Badlands, Deadwood and Devils Tower
  • Closest place to stay near the regional airport for Mt Rushmore
  • Far superior range of dining options and highly rated hotels


  • Much further from Wind Cave, Jewel Cave and Custer State Park wildlife loop
  • Hotels are more expensive on average compared to other areas of the Black Hills
  • Not actually located inside Black Hills National Forest

Best Hotels In Rapid City, South Dakota

Here are the top rated cheap, mid range and luxury hotels in Rapid City, South Dakota:


Mid Range

Downtown Rapid City

Best places to stay near mount rushmore hotels in keystone and black hills mt rushmore sculpture carved into rock with clouds full of snow
Snowmelt running down the sculpture

5. Northern Black Hills

The northern parts of South Dakota’s Black Hills are often overlooked in favor of the more popular areas around Sylvan Lake and Custer. We understand why and we did it ourselves first time around!

But try to leave one day spare to visit the likes of Deadwood, Spearfish Canyon and Lead if you have enough time on your itinerary. At the very least, we recommend you allow for a half day trip to visit Devils Tower National Monument just over the border into Wyoming.

Deadwood only takes 1-2 hours to explore, but it is the super scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon that makes the journey up north well worth the effort. You will find picturesque waterfalls and fun hikes, plus the canyon itself is an awesome spectacle.

The northern Black Hills area is roughly 50 miles and 1 hour drive time from Mount Rushmore.

There are a number of highly rated hotels dotted around Deadwood. Spearfish and Lead have fewer hotel options.

If you are driving the popular Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone road trip route, you should stay somewhere around Spearfish the night before driving through Wyoming.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to staying in northern Black Hills, South Dakota.


  • Far less touristy and less crowded than Keystone or Custer
  • Driving Spearfish Canyon is hugely underrated
  • The town of Spearfish has a range of excellent dining options
  • Hotels generally have better value for money
  • Very close to Devils Tower National Monument


  • Much further from Mount Rushmore, Custer and Wind Cave
  • Not in the heart of the Black Hills

Best Hotels In Northern Black Hills, South Dakota

Here are the top rated hotels in Deadwood, Spearfish and Lead, South Dakota:




Mount Rushmore Hotels Map

Use the interactive Google Map we created below to orientate yourself with the areas around Mount Rushmore.

Click or touch the map to activate. Zoom in and out, scroll around the map and find each of the Mount Rushmore hotels listed in this guide.

Map Key:

  • Green – Cheap hotels
  • Orange – Mid range budget hotels
  • Blue – Expensive hotels

Note: We have also drawn colored borders around each of the 5 best places to stay near Mount Rushmore so you can visualize driving distances.

Hiker enjoying the view over Badlands national park unique landscape on a cloudy day
Kristen at Badlands National Park on a cloudy day

Top Tips For Booking Hotels Near Mt Rushmore

Let’s take a look at some of our top tips for booking hotels in popular places to stay around Mount Rushmore.

  • 1. Choose your location first based around activities and attractions, then pick the best hotel for your budget in that area.
  • 2. Keystone is centrally located and the obvious choice, but it does lack the amenities of Custer or Rapid City.
  • 3. Hikers should choose Custer, it is closer to Black Elk Peak, Sunday Gulch and Cathedral Spires than the other places to stay near Mount Rushmore.
  • 4. Sunrise at Mount Rushmore is amazing, if you don’t stay close to the memorial it is a long drive in the dark to be on site before the sun comes up.
  • 5. Take advantage of rewards with your hotel booking platform of choice to save on lodging near Mount Rushmore. We use and have fantastic perks with “Genius” rewards.
Couple standing next to each other at the Lincoln Borglum amphitheater and Mt Rushmore behind
Mark and Kristen at Mount Rushmore on a snowy day in April

Hotels Near Mt Rushmore FAQ’s

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most asked questions about the best places to stay near Mount Rushmore.

Where Should I Stay Near Mount Rushmore?

Keystone, Custer, Hill City, Rapid City and the northern parts of South Dakota’s Black Hills are all excellent places to stay near Mt Rushmore for various reasons. Keystone is the closest place you can stay near Mount Rushmore but it lacks the amenities of Custer and Rapid City.

Are There Any Cheap Hotels Close To Mt Rushmore?

Yes, absolutely! You will find a range of low budget hotel options in each of the 5 popular places to stay near Mt Rushmore.

Want more South Dakota content? Head over to our South Dakota Travel Guides to explore Mount Rushmore, Badlands, the Black Hills and beyond.

We hope this guide to the best hotels near Mount Rushmore helps you plan your trip to the beautiful Black Hills!

Please let us know if you have any questions or need any help planning your visit.

Happy travels,

Mark and Kristen

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Vivian P. Siam

Saturday 30th of October 2021

Dear Mark and Kristen, thank you so much for all the information. It has helped us a lot in planning our trip to SDakota next week. According to all useful information you posted I've decided to stay in Rapid City and drive to all the places of interest. Thanks again and many blessings to you and your travel journey.

Mark and Kristen Morgan

Monday 1st of November 2021

Hi Vivian, we're happy our guides helped you plan your trip to South Dakota and thank you for letting us know. We hope you enjoy your stay in Rapid City!