31. Rapid City, SD
Why go: Rapid City is your best way into the Black Hills of South Dakota, where, at the end of September, Custer State Park’s Buffalo Roundup takes place. It’s the largest in the country, where wranglers on horseback round up the park’s herd of 1,300 bison to be sorted and vaccinated. For your foliage fix and an incredible view of Mount Rushmore, drive down the winding Iron Mountain Road, which has 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, three pigtail bridges, and three tunnels.
Where to stay: The Hotel Alex Johnson, which opened its doors in 1928, is located right on Main Street, and has a long history of supernatural occurrences—very seasonally appropriate. The staff keep a “ghost journal” on hand so guests can share their experiences, and the hotel offers ghost tours on request.
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