It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Deadwood. The charming little town (pop. 1,260) tucked into a canyon in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota is fairly irresistible to me, for a number of reasons. I've visited probably a dozen times and keep coming back. 

While South Dakota was "open for business" during COVID shutdowns, we haven't been to Deadwood for a couple of years and are planning to hit the road soon for a weekend getaway. I feel that early spring is one of the best times to go. Here's why. 

Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
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Fewer crowds.

Now is the "shoulder season" in Deadwood. Most families aren't taking their summer vacation to Mount Rushmore yet and snowmobile season (a popular Black Hills activity) is starting to wind down. Over 3.5 million tourists visit the Black Hills annually, and it's estimated that 1.5 million stop through Deadwood, mostly between June and September, according to the Black Hills Pioneer.

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Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
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Go before gas prices climb even higher.

No one has a crystal ball, but we're probably going to experience record-high gas prices throughout the summer. From Billings, Deadwood is a relatively short drive (around 4.5 hours each way, 576 miles R/T) so even with higher fuel prices, it remains a somewhat inexpensive weekend getaway.

Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings
Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings
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Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Deadwood (3/17 - 3/19).

Sure, Butte throws a great party for St. Patrick's day, but the festivities in Deadwood are tough to beat. Highlights include a pub crawl, a parade, an outdoor concert, a "Saint Panties" cancer benefit lingerie show, and more. See the full schedule of events HERE. NOTE: Deadwood has an open container law, and it is typically enforced. However, St. Patrick's weekend in Deadwood is an exception, if you have a special event cup (beer and wine only).

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Affordable rooms and low minimum table games in the casinos.

Las Vegas is one of my favorite getaways, but rooms and airfare have really skyrocketed in the past few weeks when I was searching for spring booking dates. Your hotel and gambling budget will go much, much further in Deadwood. And while I love the craziness of the Vegas Strip, it can be... a lot. I find gambling in Deadwood much more relaxed, and the benefit of $5 blackjack is a real plus. Remember to get a player's card or download their app at the casinos, and you'll receive offers all year.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
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Book a spa day.

Take a break from the tables or the slots and hit up a day spa! There are a few well-reviewed spas in Deadwood. Make sure you call ahead as hours and days may vary, especially in the off-season. For example, The Grand Spa and Salon at the Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel is now closed (with no immediate plans of reopening) according to the employee I spoke with today (3/9).

Delicious rib eye steak on a flaming grill
Credit: Ben6, ThinkStock
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Other fun upcoming events this spring in Deadwood include the food and drink festival Forks, Corks & Kegs (April 8-9), and the Back When They Bucked Rodeo kicks off the summer season Memorial Day Weekend (May 29 - 30). Maybe I'll run into you at the blackjack table in Deadwood this spring.

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