Road Trip

5 min read

New York to Mount Rushmore Road Trip Itinerary

"Plan your ultimate road trip from New York to Mount Rushmore with our detailed itinerary. Explore iconic cities, scenic routes, and historic monuments."

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
New York to Mount Rushmore Road Trip Itinerary

New York City is one the most Iconic cities in the world! A vibrant cultural hub with towering skyscrapers galore!

A popular city it's the perfect jumping off point for an epic mid west road trip to Mount Rushmore!

Over 4 million visitors visit Mount Rushmore to learn about the structure, the presidents and how over 400 men carved the monument on a average salary of just $1 per hour.

Mount Rushmores Iconic 60ft granite faces depict the great U.S presidents of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

On site you will also find museum with interactive exhibits, a gift shop, walking trials and a 2,500 seat amphitheater!

Fun Fact:  The presidents’ noses are 20-feet long and their mouths are 18-feet wide!


Which movies is Mount Rushmore in?

Mount Rushmore has showcased as a backdrop in a variety of movies here is a short list below:

  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets – Nicholas Cage (2007)
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959)
  • American Dresser (2018)
  • Austin Powers (Mount Rushmore Parody) and many more!

Insider Tip:

Head to see Mount Rushmore during the lighting Ceremony during May to September, it is a captivating sight.

On a Road Trip between New York City and Mount Rushmore you will head across

How long does a road trip take between New York & Mount Rushmore?

Driving between New York City and Mount Rushmore is one Heck of an epic road trip!

Driving direct it will take you approximately 26 hours and you will cover 1,722 miles via I-80 W and I-90 W.

How long this road trip will take depends upon your time available, Average daily driving time and the places you wish to see enroute.

For example, Covering approximately 172 miles per day on average this Road Trip would take me 10 days to complete.

Of course you can do 344 miles one day and then rest the next day and not drive at all. You will still cover 172 miles.

Road Trip Map (New York to Mount Rushmore):

Dive into our Interactive Map below! Map

User Guide: Use the +/- arrows to zoom in an out of the states.

Many users choose to share the post on facebook and access the map that way.

Turn your phone sideways for easier use. Click the directions button top right to be routed to attraction.

Road Trip Itinerary (New York to Mount Rushmore):

There are a variety of different Road Trip routes you can take:

  • The fastest driving route with take you via Cleveland before heading onto Chicago.
  • The Most scenic driving route but also the longest route will take you via the glorious Finger Lakes Region, Buffalo NY and of course Niagara Falls!
  • We Opted for the Mid west City Hop Route which takes a similar amount of time to the fastest route. However, this one stops at Columbus, ohio and Indianpolis.

City Hop Route Itinerary:

Afterwards I highly recommended checking out our Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone Road Trip

This details stops Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, Grand Teton and of course Yellowstone national park!

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, WY | By Brocken Inaglory, via Wikimedia Commons.

Fun Fact: Mount Rushmore was began by Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum who started it in 1927 at the age of 60 years old,

by 1941 he had died and the it was still not complete!

Road Trip Highlights:

A. Crazy Horse Memorial

If you continue southwest from Mount Rushmore for another 25 minutes (17 miles) via SD 244, US 16 and US 385 you will another awe inspiring sculpture.

The Crazy Horse Memorial began its construction in 1948 upon request of Lakota elders who wished for the white man to learn about Native American legends. The Native Chief (Henry Standing Bear)  chose Crazy Horse as he symbolised Native America Spirit, pride and courage.

Crazy Horse Memorial head

Will the Crazy Horse Memorial be bigger than Mount Rushmore?

YES!! The construction is still not complete but when finished it will stand 563-feet high and 641-feet long! To put things into perspective Mount Rushmores heads are just 60 feet tall each, so together the 4 mount Rushmore presidents will fit in just crazy horses head!

Despite the subject not been fully complete the site still attracts over 1 million visitors each year! The Crazy Horse Memorial also includes a Native American Museum, Education and cultural centre. You can also visit the sculptures studio and check out the presentations and native american cultural shows.

Crazy Horse Memorial

Fun Fact: Some construction works have been working on the site for over 35 years!

Fun Fact: The structure was began by Korczak Ziolkowski, who also worked  on Mount Rushmore.

Where to eat?

If your hungry from all this History head to Laughing Water Restaurant, on site.

B. Indianapolis

Indianapolis, is home to everything from sliced bread to one of the largest sporting events in the world.

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline over Monument Circle.

Things to do in Indianapolis:

1. White River State

White River State Park is spread over 250 acres on the western edge of the downtown area at 801 West Washington Street.#

The White river is 500 feet deep and is a popular attraction along with many activities going on in the area.

2. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, classic racing events which have inspired generations.

If your a petrol head you should try the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program which gives each visitor the chance to learn what it is like to drive a real NTT IndyCar Series car which has competed in the famed Indianapolis 500.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum!

This is a great place for the family, the Museum offers plenty of interactive exhibits for kids (and adults). In addition to a Q&A with real life scientists.

Where to Eat?

Bluebeard is a Trendy New American kitchen which serves sharing plates & craft cocktails in a renovated 1924 warehouse. If you want upscale comfort foods and fresh local ingredients you should definitely drop by here.

Address: 653 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203, United States

Ali’i Poke – Downtown Indy, brings Hawaii to Indianapolis here you will find Hawaiian poke rice bowls with a variety of toppings to eat in or take away.

Address: 910 W 10th St #4, Indianapolis, IN 46202, United States

Where to Stay?

For a great selection of our recommended Hotels in Indianapolis, follow the link HERE

C. New York City

Welcome to the big apple, due to the size of New York you should really spend at least 3-5 days here to experience the city!

Things to do in New York City?

  • Walk over Brooklyn Bridge
  • Check out Times Square – Free Activity!
  • Visit Ground Zero – 911 Museum
  • Visit Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • View the city from atop the Empire State Building
  • Check out Central Park – Look for the area where John Lennon’s ashes were scattered.

new york road trip hammock girl

Rooftop Cocktails at Pod 39 – Empire State Alternative!

Wrap up your day with some rooftop cocktails at Pod39, this terrace offers tasty tacos and breath taking views over New York city.

Address: 145 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016, United States

Chinatown & Little Italy – Is it worth it?

Chinatown and Little Italy are worth a visit for entertainment value, but to to be honest you will get better food in Queens (Flushing area) or

Bronx (Arthur Avenue for Italian dishes!) – New Yorker Tip!

Sunnyside, Queens A great stop on the National Millennium route. Line 7.

Should you book a tour in New York City?

This all depends upon personal preference but if you wish to experience all the major sites & attractions in one go its a great idea!

It can also work out cheaper with many tours including admission fees and local “New Yorker” knowledge.

For a list of my favorite tours in New York City, Follow the link HERE

Where to Stay?

For a great selection of our recommended Hotels & a comparison of the best prices in NYC, follow the link HERE

5 Essential Road Trip Tips:

(You HAVE to know before planning!)

5. Book Your Hotels in Advance!

To avoid having to drive around looking for hotels when your tired (My wife hates this!)

& to get the best prices, Check out our: How to find the Best Hotel Deals??

Jefferson Hotel Richmond Virginia

4. Get the Best deal on Car Rental

For some vital tips to know before renting a car & to get the best deals check out, Ultimate Car Rental Travel Hacks!

car rental travel hacks

3. Need an RV?

If you fancy an RV adventure, you have to check RV Share

It’s an RV share platform, like airbnb where you can rent someones RV at a fraction of cost compared to normal!

Bring your RV to Tiden Park.

2. Bring a Great Travel Camera!

Want to capture those vacation memories? For friends, Facebook or even Instagram!

A phone just doesn’t compare with a high quality travel camera, they are well worth the investment!

Check out our Recommended Travel Photography Gear

Make sure you are equip with some great Photography Gear!

1. Need Help Planning!?

Do you find planning a trip time consuming and stressful?

An organised tour or vacation could be a great option for you!

They organize Flights, Hotels, Car Rental, Activities and much more!

With expert local travel knowledge & bespoke vacation planning you can’t go wrong.

Check out our reviews here: Which are the Best travel Tours?

Orlando Tours

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
Find me on Twitter

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*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
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