Updated: May 21, 2015
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally:The Sturgis motorcycle rally is an incredible week long event held out in remote Sturgis, South Dakota. You have to be a die hard biker to make it to this event as there are no shortcuts on the highways of America out to Sturgis, SD. The Sturgis Rally is held in early August every year. I happened to come across the event a few years back on my way across the country. I was driving through Wyoming into South Dakota and had stopped at the Devils Tower National Monument and noticed an ungodly amount of motorcycles near the parking area. I didn't realize that the Sturgis bike week was just about to get underway and I was caught in the middle of it.
The Sturgis rally draws in some 1/2 million bikers (men and women) all looking to have a good time over the week. The motorcycle rally brings in mostly Harley Davidson enthusiasts and riders, but I also saw some sports bikes and regular touring motorcycles amongst the "hogs". Talk about a loud gathering of people and motorcycles. There were makeshift campsites on the side of the road and mile upon mile of motorcycles either being riden or lined up along the streets. As a non-biker, I wondered what would happen to me as I stepped out of my car. Would I get harassed?
To my surprise, all these burly looking dudes and rough biker babes were friendly, considerate and even polite. I mingled amongst them for half a day as I went through the town of Deadwood and out to Mount Rushmore (just south of Sturgis). I stayed in Rapid City that night and avoided all the massive crowds back at Sturgis although in retrospect I wish I had spent one night watching the events that unfold during the Sturgis rally. There are beer bars that sit 1000's of patrons, there are wet t-shirt contests, live concerts, guys doing burners down the streets, and generally wild behavior that stays fairly tame considering what you might think. Since my encounter with Sturgis a few years back, I have met several Harley riders in my neck of the woods who go regularly to the Sturgis and have told me what really happens there. You may think that fighting is a commonplace, but we have heard otherwise. For a complete rundown of the schedule for the entire week go the official Sturgis Motorcycle Rally website HERE. You can find out about future rally dates, vendor info, private housing, rally photos, travel services, and lodging information.
Where is Sturgis, South Datoka?:Before you starting driving or riding to start Sturgis, SD, you may wonder where in the world is this place. The town of Sturgis is located in South Dakota near the Black Hills and has a population of about 6500 people. On the map below you can see that Sturgis is located off of I-90 at exit 30 or exit 32 depending on which direction you are coming from. The Sturgis map also shows a small insert of the Sturgis main street area.
From the town of Sturgis, if you head out east on Hwy 79/34 it will take you to Full Throttle Saloon, Glencoe Campground, Bear Butte, and Buffalo Chip Campground. Rapid City, SD is just a little south of Sturgis off of I-90. Many of the motorcycle riders that come to Sturgis literally ride 1000's of miles just to make it every year.
What to do in Sturgis:There are some educational things to do while you vacation in Sturgis, SD. Beyond the mundane daily routine of drinking beer, eating fatty foods and people watching, you can venture out a bit and go to Devils Tower (in Wyoming), ride through the Black Hills of South Dakota, visit the town of Deadwood, see Mount Rushmore, or head east on I-90 and go to Badlands National Park. Sturgis will surely entertain after hours, but during the daytime get on your motorcycle (or drive in your car) to see what the outlying areas offer. Everything is just a few hours away which leaves you plenty of time to get back to Thunder Road (Thunderroadsturgis.com) or Full Throttle Saloon (Fullthrottlesaloon.com) in the evenings. The map below will give you a good idea of where things are located around the Sturgis area.
Where to Stay in Sturgis - Sturgis Hotels and Campgrounds:As you can imagine trying to find lodging in Sturgis when 500,000 others are doing the same is not an easy task. Either you book early and get a comfortable hotel or motel room or you take the chance and camp in one of the many campgrounds located in the region. Be sure to bring your tent and sleeping bags if you plan on camping on unexpected thunderstorms can strike during the month of August. Down below we have listed just a few of the options for camping in Sturgis or staying in a hotel room. For a complete listing of all accommodations and lodging options, go to the main Sturgis link listed above in the introduction.
- Sturgis Super 8 Motel - 2600 Whitewood Service Rd, Sturgis SD, Phone # (605)347-4447. Centrally located to Sturgis with free parking, laundry, high speed internet, and free continental breakfast. You can find them online HERE
- Sturgis - Days Inn - 2630 Lazelle Street, Sturgis SD. Queen and King accommodations and near all the action in Sturgi, Phone # (605)347-3027, Website located HERE
- Best Western - Sturgis Inn - 2431 S. Junction Ave, Sturgis, SD 57785. 56 Rooms available (2 floors). Phone # (605)347-3604, Website located HERE
- Buffalo Chip Campground - Great place for camping in Sturgis but also offers concerts and shows from stars like Toby Keith. Offer both tent and RV camping (website has maps of the campgrounds), Reserve online HERE
- Iron Horse Campground - Located between the drag strip & Bear Butte on Hwy 79. Just 4 1/2 miles from Main Street. Hot showers, flush toilets, shuttle service, and more. Phone # (877)700-4766, Website located HERE
- Hog Heaven Campground - Located 2 miles from historic Sturgis main street. Campgrounds and RV sites in the Black Hills. 150 acres of shade with live bands, hot showers, food, beer bars and more. Phone # (800)551-1283, Website located HERE