Let’s face it: getting there really IS half the fun! This is especially true when you break up a big drive by stopping at quirky, out-of-the-ordinary roadside attractions. I don’t know about you, but many times these impromptu stops end up being trip highlights! If you are looking for reasons to stop at Wall Drug in Wall, SD, keep reading. We will never forget our afternoon there!
What is Wall Drug?
Years ago, I caught a travel segment on a major tv network’s weekly show. I remember the host talking about a random tourist stop in the middle of not-much-South-Dakota. The only two things that have stick with me over the years regarding that tv spot was that the store has a ton of billboards dotting the highway as you approach the town… and water. Free ice water. Apparently they give it away to all who stop. This free water gimmick started all the way back in the 1930s when the owners looked for something that would set them apart from other stores, thus luring in the wayward traveler.
Adding a visit to this store to our list of possible stops
A few years ago as we plotted our big road trip to Yellowstone, we earmarked several possible places to stop in South Dakota and Wyoming. When the name Wall Drug popped up on my google search, it rang a bell somewhere in the deep recesses of my memory. Wall Drug. Could that possibly be the place that was featured on that tv segment all those years ago? Why yes. Yes it was!
We added Wall Drug to our list of probable stops as we trekked west from our last Little House on the Prairie stop towards Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. This sprawling tourist attraction looked like something worth seeing, and in any case we knew we could get some free water and use the stop for a bathroom break.
Is Wall Drug Worth Seeing?
We ended up stopping at Wall Drug for lunch, a quick walk around, and of course, FREE WATER. It was truly something else!
Here are the top 10 reasons we’d recommend a stop at Wall Drug:
Free water – Just like original gimmick in the 1930s – free water to all who stop – you can still find free water at Wall Drug. Located back in the courtyard area, you can drink all you want for free. (And yes, there are also several restrooms available for when all that water kicks in!)
5 Cent Coffee – No fooling! Grab a mug of coffee for just 5 cents, no other requirement to buy something.
Jack a lope and other photo opps – There are so many fun and unusual displays at Wall Drug. You can hop on the wild Jack a Lope, see a T-Rex, and more!
Food (lots including a restaurant and fresh baked donuts) – There are a bunch of food options at Wall Drug, ranging from a sit down restaurant. The food is served cafeteria style: you go through a line with your tray and make your choices. Then pay at the register and find a table to sit. If you are after treats, they serve everything from ice cream to fresh baked donuts. We got some donuts to take with us and they made a delicious snack later that afternoon!
Free Parking (including ample space for RVs) – Wall Drug is located just off the highway and offers ample free parking, including spaces for RVs. There are also gas stations for easy refueling before you hit the road again.
Quirky roadside attraction – The 80 foot tall dinosaur out on the highway exit is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are looking for a unique, quirky roadside stop, this is it.
People watching – If you’re into people watching, this location will NOT disappoint. You will see visitors from all of the country (and world) stopping in to see the sights.
Souvenirs – From touristy t-shirts to tchotchkes galore – if you are looking for a fun souvenir, chances are good that you’ll find it at Wall Drug.
Supplies – In addition to the many souvenir options, Wall Drug also has some basic camping and RV supplies that you might find helpful before you head back to the highway.
Close to Badlands National Park – Wall Drug is situated just north of Badlands National Park. It’s the perfect lunch stop before or after you check out the Badlands!
Well, there you have it: those are the reasons that we would recommend at stop at Wall Drug, should you ever find yourself on or near US highway 90 in Western South Dakota. It is most definitely worth the stop. Even if you are just grabbing some free water and snapping some fun pics, it is a great way to break up your drive!
Wall Drug is located about 55 miles east of Rapid City, SD (roughly an hour away). If you are trekking west with the family, this is a great place to stop on your way Rapid City. Also nearby: Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood and Crazy Horse Monument.