Planning a car trip for a family of five (3 sons ages 15, 18, and 20) from Nebraska via Badlands in South Dakota to Yellowstone via Gardiner, MT (where we have booked a cabin). After driving a full day from Nebraska to Badlands and spending a night near there, we will have 3 days to see Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, other sites, and to get to Gardiner, MT, where we will launch 6 nights in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I have been reading tempting descriptions of the Black Hills, Custer State Park, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Devil's Tower, Bighorn National Forest and Cody. We obviously don't have time for all those things. I was kind of planning to spend a whole day in Badlands due to advice from a relative. What do people suggest we choose out of this list, as the best sites to see with limited time? Also, I am debating between taking 90 W through Wyoming and Montana to get to Gardiner (I believe this is the shortest drive), or taking Rte 212 into Yellowstone and then heading up to Gardiner (I believe this is the most scenic route, but will take longer), or entering Yellowstone via Cody and the East Entrance and then driving up to Gardiner through Yellowstone. Would love some thoughts from people familiar with all this territory. We will be travelling end of May/beginning of June.
Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Black Hills, etc. to Yellowstone/Gardiner, MT
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