Rapid City Airport Mini Guide
What’s the Story of Rapid City?
Rapid City is named after the creek where it was founded. The city is divided in half by small mountain range and is nestled against the slopes of the Black Hills. It grew initially as a town selling supplies to miners coming for the gold rush of the 19th century and then grew further with the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s. Further development ensued with the opening of the Ellsworth Air Force base. The city was devastated in the 1972 floods when 250 people died. Today it is a tourist centre with people coming to learn about the days of the Wild West and to visit the national monuments of Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.
How do I get There?
Rapid City Airport receives domestic flights from across America including Chicago
and Las Vegas
. The airport is only just outside the city and by hiring a car, transport to your destination is quick and easy.
What’s the Airport Like?
It’s owned by the city and being a small domestic airport it doesn’t have the facilities expected of an international airport. It’s quite modern though and has plenty of parking.
What can I Expect When I Arrive?
As you enter the airport building the baggage reclaim will be straight ahead of you. After collecting your bags there’s no formal security as the airport only handles domestic flights. From there the car hire desks are behind you and to your right. At the desks you can finalise paperwork and collect your pre-booked car for your onward journey. There’s a shuttle service into the city whose desk is to the left of the right hand exit doors. The journey into the centre takes around fifteen minutes.
What About When I fly Home?
Check in is quick and easy. For the hungry, there are two food outlets, one either side of security. The pre-security one offers pastries, snacks, salads and a single choice daily hot special. The post-security outlet offers the same choice but without the hot daily special. The only shop is a small kiosk selling papers and a very limited range of gifts. Free W-Fi is available across the airport so if you feel in need of shopping, you can do it online!
Rapid City and the surrounding towns have been famed since the days of the ‘wild frontier’ and today bear many hallmarks of its long and violent history. Visit the Journey Museum for history biased more towards that of the Native American Indians, there, the story of how they were displaced and fearful of the arrival of the white man and their subsequent battles for survival is retold in poignant exhibits.
From there take your hire car for the short drive to see the Crazy Horse memorial then on to the iconic Mount Rushmore sculptures.