Every Great American Road journey that includes National Parks in the Midwest should begin at Rapid City, South Dakota. Mount Rushmore, the Badlands National Park, and the legendary American Road Stop-Wall Drug are all conveniently accessible from Rapid City. But is Wall Drug worth visiting?
Maybe. It is worthwhile to visit if you enjoy exploring unique spots. But, this should only be your secondary, tertiary, or even primary target if you happen to be nearby. The Badlands National Park is a popular neighboring destination that is well worth getting there.
If you happen to be passing by, you should definitely pull over. Remember that there are about 20,000 people each day, so it might become busy.
Keep reading below for more information.
Where is Wall Drug?
Wall Drug, also known as Wall Drug Store, can be found in Wall, South Dakota, a tiny town about 50 miles west of Rapid City and close to South Dakota Badlands National Park. Wall Drug, America’s Favorite Roadside Attraction, is located in close proximity to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.
For more information about Wall Drug, watch this video below:
Visiting Wall Drug Store
Perhaps you have never heard of the Famous Wall Drug Store, but it is one of the most popular tourist stops in the United States. Whether you are traveling to or from Badlands National Park, Wall Drug is an excellent spot to pause and take a break.
By looking at the parking lot size now, you would never guess that Wall Drug nearly went out of business in the 1930s due to the Great Depression. Before water bottles, many tired travelers had to cut their trips short because they didn’t have enough water.
Wall Drug started putting up signs along the road that said they gave away free ice water to get tired travelers into their small drug store. They hoped that by luring clients into the store with complimentary water, they would start making more purchases for their road trip.
Is Wall Drug the Most Popular Visitor Attraction in the World?
Obviously, a little town in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota is not going to be a major tourist attraction. Have you ever seen it discussed alongside Paris, Shanghai, New York City, or Sydney? No. Yet, a $300,000 technicality does make it renowned around the world.
There are allegedly Wall Drug signs in all 50 states and around the world, even if you haven’t personally seen any.
Wall Drug made copies of these famous billboards so that travelers would go out of their way to stop in the tiny town of Wall and buy something from the gift shop. This was done to bring more tourists to America’s most popular roadside attractions.
In reality, as you travel down Highway 90, you will see an increase in the number of signs indicating the distance to the city of Wall. Every year, more than 2 million visitors visit Wall Drug in the little, isolated village in the middle of nowhere.
The signs are spread out across the country, not just in South Dakota. In fact, the signs are present in cities throughout the globe, including Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome.
Is Wall Drug Worth Visiting?
It’s a rather tacky tourist trap, but if you can take it for what it is—a tourist trap—it can really be a lot of fun and a wonderful means of breaking up a vacation to Rapid City. Have a short bite to eat, such as a hamburger and homemade doughnut, and make sure to check out the jackalope.
The following are the top ten reasons to visit Wall Drug:
- Free water is still available at Wall Drug, much like the original gimmick from the 1930s, which offered free water to anybody who stopped. You may drink as much as you like back in the courtyard area for free. (And when all that water finally does begin moving, don’t worry; there are multiple toilets nearby!)
- 5 Cent Coffee is not a joke! You can get a cup of coffee for 5 cents, and there’s no pressure to buy anything else.
- There are so many entertaining and unique exhibits at Wall Drug, including the jack-a-lope and other picture ops. In addition to seeing a T-Rex, you may ride the untamed Jackalope!
- There are several different food options at Wall Drug, including a sit-down restaurant and freshly baked doughnuts. You choose what you want from a menu as you pass through a line with your tray in a cafeteria-style setting. Next, pay at the cash register and choose a seat at a table. They offer anything from ice cream to freshly baked doughnuts if you want desserts.
- Wall Drug is conveniently located right off the highway and has free parking, including plenty of room for RVs. Before you return on the road, you can easily get a refill at gas stations.
- The 80-foot-tall dinosaur that stands out on the highway exit is merely the tip of the iceberg regarding the strange roadside attractions in this area. This is the roadside stop you want if you’re looking for something unusual and odd.
- If you enjoy people-watching, this spot will not let you down. You’ll see tourists dropping by from all over the nation and the world to enjoy the attractions.
- Shopping for a souvenir? Stop by Wall Drug, where you can purchase anything from tacky tourist t-shirts to various souvenirs.
- In addition to a wide selection of souvenirs, Wall Pharmacy has several essential camping and RV equipment that you might find useful before returning to the road.
- Wall Drug is located directly to the north of Badlands National Park, close to the park. It’s the ideal place to stop for lunch before or after visiting the Badlands!
All right, there you have it: these are why you should stop at Wall Drug if you happen to be traveling along US Route 90 in Western South Dakota. The stop is worthwhile. That is a fantastic way to break up your travel, even if you are just collecting some free water and taking some silly pictures!