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In the heart of South Dakota’s Badlands and Black Hills region is the laid-back western town of Rapid City. Its tidy airport offers several good air connections to regional cities like Denver, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix and Chicago. Even more routes open up in the peak summer tourist season, which is when most travellers rent a car at the airport for exploring the amazing natural attractions in the area. Just eight miles from downtown Rapid City, this airport is an ideal way to reach the Badlands and Black Hills.
Who to Book With
Arriving passengers have five major car hire companies to choose from at Rapid City Airport. All of the rental offices are situated outside of Baggage Claim, including big names like Avis, Budget and Hertz. Summers are particularly busy in Rapid City, so to ensure a good rate on the rental you desire get online and make your booking before arrival.
Need to Know Essentials
Bring these documents to the airport to collect your car rental:
- A valid US driving license or International Driving Permit
- A secondary form of photo ID like your passport
- The credit card you used to make the online reservation
- A printed verification of the reservation if possible
Rapid City is more like a town than a city, so visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the mellow traffic conditions and ease of parking. Weekday rush hours get a little busy, but traffic jams are very rare. Summers see a notable bump in traffic within the city and on the roads leading out to the Black Hills and Badlands so be prepared for slower driving from June to September.
Rapid City’s airport is just eight easy miles from the centre of town so driving is as straightforward as it gets. Airport Express Shuttles provide transport for arriving passengers who don’t go for a car hire at the terminal. However, like in most cities in America a car really is a necessity if you plan to do any travelling outside of the downtown core.
Long-distance travellers can reach Rapid City from any other point in America with fewer than two coach connections. Jefferson Lines has daily service to Minneapolis and Sioux Falls, where onward connections are easily made by switching over to Greyhound Lines.
Within Rapid City, the only form of public transportation is the bus. The Rapid Transit System operates Rapid Ride, the city bus network that has four routes making a loop from the Milo Barbor Transit Center in the heart of downtown. Rapid Ride operates 06:20 to 17:50 Monday to Friday and 09:50 to 16:40 on Saturdays. Buses pass each station every 35 minutes and the fare is just under £1 per trip. Exact change is required when paying the bus driver.
Every summer the City View Trolley revs into life for another season of downtown travel. This vintage red trolley runs in a loop around the downtown core stopping at several useful points and big attractions. A trip costs a little over £1 and must be paid in exact change to the driver. The trolley operates Monday to Saturday between 10:00 and 17:00, hitting each stop every 60 minutes or so.
Taxis provide the most convenient way to get from the airport to your destination in Rapid City. They wait outside of the Arrivals Hall during the times when flights arrive. In Rapid City itself, taxis are a great way to get around before 06:00 or after 18:00 when the public transportation stops running. It’s hard to hail taxis on the street here, so keep a couple of phone numbers handy to call for a quick pick up any time of day or night.
Rapid City Airport to the city centre is around £5
Rapid City Airport has a single terminal serviced by Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Delta and United. Flights arrive daily from Denver, Dallas and Minneapolis with extra routes during the summer months. From any of the regular flight destinations it is easy to make onward connections throughout North America and the rest of the world.
The airport has one short-term parking lot and one long-term lot. The first 20 minutes in the short-term lot are free. After that, each additional 20 minutes costs about £1, with a maximum daily charge of £6. The long-term lot charges £1.5 for each 60-minute period, with a daily maximum of £5.
There is no wireless internet service offered at the airport.
An information desk can be found in the main hall of the terminal near the entrance.
Airport information: +1 605 393 9924
Flight Information: +1 605 393 2850
Rapid City Airport has Skycaps available to anyone who needs assistance from the curb to the boarding gate. For a small charge, the airport also operates a Dial-A-Ride service for travellers who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The terminal’s facilities are all equipped for wheelchair access.
Restaurants and Bars
The Airport Restaurant is the only eatery within the terminal. It has two locations on the terminal’s second level, one before security and one after security. The restaurant stays open from 05:00 until the final flight of the day departs. The menu is basic but has a solid selection of pastries, sandwiches and beverages.
There are no VIP lounges inside the terminal.
Money and ATMs
ATMs can be found inside the main terminal hall. There are no banking facilities available at the airport.
The Airport Gift Shop is the only store inside the terminal. It can be found on the second level just past the security point, and is open during the scheduled flight hours. The gift shop sells travel sundries, snacks, reading materials, clothing, and local souvenirs from South Dakota.