Road Trip Revival – The Northern Plains, Part 1

Get ready for round three of Road Trip Revival! For this drive we’re visiting America’s northern plains, visiting 19 My Place Hotels and the sights near them. With so many sights and locations to see, we’ve split the northern plains into two parts. Pack your bags, hop in the car and get going today!

With 19 locations throughout four states, My Place Hotels offer the best spot to rest after a day of adventuring. Whether you’re staying the night on your way to the next stop or are calling our hotels your base camp, you can always Explore More with My Place.

28 miles to the south of My Place Hotel-Rapid City, SD is the world famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota, tell the story of the birth, growth, development and preservation of this country. From the history of the first inhabitants to the diversity of America today, Mount Rushmore brings visitors face to face with the rich heritage we all share.

Source: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

My Place Hotel-Rapid City, SD

Rapid City offers a variety of adventures and attractions. With six national parks and monuments within an hours’ drive and a community rich with history, My Place Hotel-Rapid City, SD makes for an excellent place to stay while exploring the area.

Just east of Rapid City lies South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

The rugged beauty of the Badlands draws visitors from around the world. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient horses and rhinos once roamed here. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.

Source: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

My Place Hotel-Fort Pierre, SD

Western heritage, rich Native American culture, and endless opportunities for adventure await you in the town of Fort Pierre.

100 miles to the northeast of Hastings is the Nebraska Sandhills.

The peaceful grace of the gently rolling Nebraska Sandhills lay like a blanket over the Ogallala Aquifer and provide an ever-changing backdrop for scores of wildlife and millions of birds that traverse the North American Central Flyway every year. The Sandhills offer incredible starry nights, nearby historic towns and villages, meandering rivers, and the history of pioneers and the plains. Find it all along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.

Source: Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway

My Place Hotel-Hastings, NE

Hastings offers a robust variation of activities for those looking to explore the great outdoors. Hastings also boasts one of the largest migrations of the Sandhill cranes. Make My Place Your Place® to rest after an exciting day of traveling the Sandhills or birdwatching.

Branched Oak State Recreation Area is a hidden gem just to the north of Lincoln, or 61 miles to the southwest of My Place Hotel-La Vista, NE.

The park features the largest lake in eastern Nebraska and has long been a popular spot for fishing, boating and camping. Approximately 1,800 acres of water, along with well-maintained campsites, two swimming beaches, hiking trails and an equestrian campground draw visitors from near and far. A marina offers fuel, bait, boat rental, concessions and a bar and grill.

Source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Located in the Platte River Basin, just 19 miles southwest of La Vista, is the Platte River State Park.

Quaint Platte River State Park is nestled halfway between Nebraska’s two largest cities – Lincoln and Omaha. Before it was a state park it was two separate camps – Harriet Harding Campfire Girls Camp and Camp Esther K. Newman – and a tract of woodlands. Popular draws are the park’s picturesque waterfall, spray park, scenic hiking and biking trails and two observation towers that allow those who climb to the top a spectacular view of the Platte River Basin.

Source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

My Place Hotel-La Vista, NE

Just to the southwest of Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city, is La Vista. La Vista offers a variety of parks and recreation areas to enjoy for the outdoor explorer. After a day of seeing the sights, return to My Place Hotel-La Vista, NE to enjoy a night of rest and relaxation.

My Place Hotel-Council Bluffs, IA

With ample opportunities to explore and Omaha just a few minutes away, Council Bluffs offers urban explorers and outdoor enthusiasts the best of both worlds. While you’re there, choose My Place Hotel-Council Bluffs, IA as your home away from home.

Just north of Council Bluffs, Hitchcock Nature Center offers spectacular views of the Loess Hills.

Acquired by Pottawattamie County in 1991, Hitchcock Nature Center (HNC) currently consists of 1,268 acres located in the heart of the globally significant Loess Hills. The Loess Hills harbor some of the largest remaining prairie remnants in Iowa and provide refuge for plants and animals found nowhere else in the state. Hitchcock is open every day of the year for hiking, camping, picnicking, bird watching, snow sledding, star gazing, or simply enjoying nature. Source: Pottawattamie County Conservation

My Place Hotel-Altoona, IA

Located at the crossroads of America’s busiest interstates, Altoona offers entertainment for all. Dubbed the entertainment center for central Iowa, Altoona also offers many opportunities for the outdoor adventurer. Whether you’re here for a day, a week, or more, My Place Hotel-Altoona, IA is the ideal place!

My Place Hotel-Ankeny, IA

Boasting more than 45 public parks and greenways, Ankeny offers those looking for a good time both in and out of city limits. My Place Hotels-Ankeny, IA is the perfect place to rest after an exciting day exploring the area.

My Place Hotel-Davenport, IA

With miles of trails running along the Mississippi River and ample parks to choose from, Davenport presents a variety of opportunities for exploring. Get rested up at My Place Hotel-Davenport, IA for the day’s next adventure.

Just an hour’s drive north from Davenport is Maquoketa Caves State Park.

There are thirteen different caves in Maquoketa Caves State Park for you to explore, more than any other state park in Iowa. These caves vary greatly. Dancehall Cave has cathedral-like areas, walkways and LED lights, but others, like Wye Cave, have narrow passageways that require crawling. Unlike caves in other parks, you can explore these caves on your own or with friends or family.  Source: Travel Iowa

Photo courtesy Iowa DNR

A few hours drive northeast of Altoona and Ankeny is Backbone State Park.

Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920. It was Iowa’s first state park and remains one of the most geologically unique. Backbone consists of 2,001 acres and is heavily wooded with a variety of tree species, predominantly oak and maple. Backbone is named for the steep and narrow ridge of bedrock cut by a loop of the Maquoketa River and forming the highest point in northeast Iowa – the Devil’s Backbone. If you enjoy bicycling, boating, camping, climbing, fishing, hiking, picnicking or if you want to take a walk back in time to the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps, this is the place for you.

Source: Aspira

Just north of Mankato, MN lies Minneopa State Park, a perfect spot to stop at on your way to My Place Hotel-Shakopee, MN.

The word Minneopa is derived from the Dakota language and is interpreted to mean “water falling twice,” referring to the beautiful waterfalls of Minneopa Creek. Walk the trail which encircles the falls, leading down a limestone stairway to the valley below. Ascend the opposite side and enjoy a panoramic view of the valley which reveals the underlying geology of this area. Visit Seppmann Mill, a wind driven grist mill fashioned in German style from native stone and lumber, or hike through oak savanna and native prairie grasslands overlooking the scenic Minnesota River Valley. Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

My Place Hotel-Shakopee, MN

Home to Valleyfair, Canterbury Park, and the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Shakopee offers a unique variety of fun and entertainment. With dozens of trails for hiking and biking, nature enthusiasts will enjoy the area too! After a day of fun, return to My Place Hotel-Shakopee, MN to rest and relax for the next day’s fun!

Located just under 300 miles north of Minnesota’s Twin Cities is Voyageurs National Park.

Voyageurs is a maze of interconnected water highways. Plan ahead before coming to this water-based park by bringing your own watercraft, reserving a watercraft, or taking a park ranger boat tour.

Source: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

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