July starts with a bang in the Black Hills around the 4th of July weekend. Along with the many parades and celebrations, it’s patio season, wildflower season, and the trails are ready for exploring. Here’s what to pack and why you’ll love visiting the Black Hills in July.

badlands black hills in summer

What to wear in the Black Hills in July?

We’re in the “banana belt” of the state with comfortable, moderate temperatures. With little to no humidity, the Black Hills average around 75 degrees this month. While the nights can still get chilly, layers are optional during the day. However, you’ll definitely want to apply sunscreen if you’re spending time outdoors. Also be sure to pack sunglasses, a hat, and any gear you’ll need for outdoor activities. While you’re at it, get our free Black Hills packing list >>

Black Hills Packing List Spring
Black Hills Packing List Summer
Black Hills Packing List Fall
Black Hills Packing List Winter
black hills in July

What is there to do in the Black Hills in July?

Go to the Badlands

While not technically in the Black Hills, the Badlands are a welcome neighbor worth visiting. Experience another world of colors and textures! That’s what makes this a popular destination for family photos, so be sure to grab your camera.

Visit Jenny Gulch

Conveniently, Pactola Lake is midway between Custer and Deadwood. So wherever you’re staying, it’s never too far away. Moreso, Jenny Gulch is easy to access (on the north side of the lake) with onsite packing. Along with a great beach, it has easy access for kayaks and paddle boards and is a favorite amongst locals.

Underground Caves

Another great option for families is an underground cave tour. While it seems frightening, these tours are so much fun and kids love them too.

Mining Tours

Learn about the roots of the Wild West and the gold rush that put us on that map. If you enjoy history, you’ll love the mining tours around Deadwood or a self-guided tour at one of the abandoned mines in the area.

Take a Drive in the Black Hills in July

See the full diversity of the Black Hills by car. Unlike many travel destinations, it’s easy to get around and see a lot in just a day or two. If you ask us, Needles Highway in Custer State Park is a favorite, with great hiking off the main road.

Helicopter Flight

While we weren’t sure what to expect from our first flight, Black Hills Aerial Adventures delivered and then some. We saw the Needles, Custer State Park, and Sylvan Lake in an entirely new light, despite having spent plenty of time there in the past.

Rock Climbing

Unknown to most, the Black Hills are actually home to an endless supply of world class-granite. Because of that, they’re an incredible place for rock climbing. However, you’ll want to find a guide to show you the ropes.

Live Music in the Black Hills in July

While you’re here, you’ll have to venture out for some live music. Actually, the Black Hills are a hot spot for great talent and bands traveling through. Additionally, some cities dedicate a night each week and close off their downtown area to bring the community together. Basically, Sturgis has Music on Main on Wednesday nights, Thursdays are Downtown Summer Nights in Rapid City, and Downtown Friday Nights in Spearfish. Alternatively, Deadwood’s Outlaw Square has something happening almost every weekend.

Also keep an eye on the lineups at The Monument in Rapid City, The Deadwood Mountain Grand, Saloon #10 in Deadwood, and The Custer Beacon.

Rushmore Mountain Adventure Park

When you’re coming out for an extended stay, you’ll want to keep the kiddos good and busy. Rushmore Mountain Adventure Park is a great way to burn some energy off while also making some special memories. Honestly, it’s fun for adults, too.

Hot Air Balloons

Another great way to experience the views from the sky, Black Hills Balloons has great reviews and beautiful balloons. Of course that’s a factor, ha!

Hit the Trails

Believe it or not, there’s never a bad month for hiking. That said, July is a pretty great one. Typically, the weather is perfect, sky is blue, and the days are long. As always, pack plenty of water and be aware of your surroundings. Also check out our favorite hiking trails >>

Enjoy Great Food in the Black Hills in July

As the harvest starts coming in, local farm-to-table restaurants deliver some amazing seasonal offerings. Not to mention, the best burger joints are open for the tourist season and ice cream shops are in full force. It’s a great time to be hungry in the Black Hills! Being a busy month, you’ll want to make dinner reservations as early as possible at places like Skogen or Juniper.

July in the Black Hills is a time of vibrant outdoor adventures, cultural discoveries, and a celebration of nature’s beauty. So pack your bags, embrace the summer sun, and immerse yourself in the diverse experiences our home has to offer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *