Aug. 01--As the end of summer inches closer, there may not be time left to plan a long, faraway adventure with family or friends. Luckily, Aberdeen-area residents can visit a variety of attractions within a day's drive.
Fort Sisseton Historic State Park
Just 60 miles away from Aberdeen, Fort Sisseton is a great camping spot where visitors can stroll through the restored fort. There is plenty of room for bigger events and family reunions. Kettle Lake, which offers fishing, hiking and boating, is a few steps away from the campground. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent. Campsites start at $13, shelter with kitchenettes are $50 per day, barracks are $300 for weekend rental. Call 605-448-5474.
-- Special event: Harvest Festival on Aug. 24 is held to harvest the crops planted during June's festival.
-- See something new: Fort Sisseton's last flag to fly over the military fort has been conserved by local volunteers and the 38-star flag is now on display.
-- What draws people to this location? "The fort is a special place where old and new come together for a timeless adventure full of new discovery," said park manager Christopher Soukup.
South Dakota's Original 1880 Town
Near Murdo, history buffs may venture 234 miles from Aberdeen to travel back to the late 1880s. This historic town has more than 30 authentic buildings to explore, along with a museum honoring champion bronc rider Casey Tibbs and movie props from "Dances with Wolves." Prices start at $12 for adults and range down to free admission for children younger than 5. Call 605-344-2236.
-- Where to eat: The 1950s Train Diner inside the Santa Fe Train, which previously traveled from Chicago to California before finding a home in the 1880 Town.
-- Try something new: Play dress up and rent costumes from the Longhorn Saloon for $7 each.
Daredevils and thrill seekers will be in heaven at the Valleyfair Amusement Park, 274 miles from Aberdeen, in Shakopee, Minn. Featured are big roller coasters and family rides, Planet Snoopy, dinosaurs, shopping, live entertainment and Soak City Waterpark. New to 2014 is the Route 76 main street, which is inspired by the year the park opened. Tickets are available online or at the gate. Dinosaurs Alive! tickets are sold separately. Valleyfair is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekends. Soak City Waterpark is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends. Dinosaurs Alive! is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Call 952-445-7600.
-- Special event: Watch "The Lego Movie" from the sand volleyball area at Soak City Waterpark on Aug. 15.
-- Where to eat: A new addition, the Taste of Valleyfair food truck on Route 76 offers gourmet hot dogs, including a vegetarian hot dog, and ice cream treats.
-- Try something new: Face a dinosaur at night during the Dinos after Dark at Dinosaurs Alive!, complete with a guided tour and s'mores for $6.
Rushmore Cave is a natural adventure park with several activities available in the facility, a 356-mile trip from Aberdeen. Inside, cave tours examine the natural beauty and teach the history of the caves. There is a Gunslinger 7-D Interactive Ride and a Gemstone Mining Area. Outside of the caves, visitors may fly alongside the birds on the Soaring Eagle Zipline with side-by-side seats.
-- Bragging rights: The Gunslinger 7D Interactive Ride is a multisensory interactive attraction: Feel the seat move, the wind in your hair during one of three adventures into dangerous territories. Shoot laser gun at targets along the way and compete against friends and family for the highest score and bragging rights.
-- Try something new: Go beyond a cave tour and go spelunking with the Xpedition Adventure Tour. Tickets are $45.
-- Where to eat: About 10 minutes west, Grizzly Creek Restaurant offers a diverse menu with a selection of local and regional beers.
George S. Mickelson Trail
Located between Edgemont and Deadwood, a 109-mile trail offers a relaxing, sporty vacation in the beautiful Black Hills. With 15 trailheads, several of them complete with lodging, walkers, bikers and horseback riders may enjoy the trail for a day or weekend. Bike rental and shuttle services are available. The trail is open from dawn to dusk. Call 605-584-3896
-- Special event: Three-day ride on the trail takes place for the 17th annual Mickelson Trail Trek, hosted by Black Hills Trails and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, from Sept. 19-21.
-- Where to eat: "Custer, Hill City and Deadwood all have unique places to sit down and have a unique brew or glass of wine and good food," said Nita Jardee, secretary of Black Hills Trails.
-- Try something new: Experience a guided tour by Dakota Bike Tours, which offers catered camping tours of varying lengths.
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