Located at the entrance of the Badlands National Park and just an hour away from Mount Rushmore and lots of other adventures, the Wall Drug Store might just be America’s favorite roadside attraction.
What is Wall Drug?
Wall Drug is a sprawling shopping mall filled with everything you could ever want, from gold jewelry to chocolate gold nuggets. Step into their backyard and you’re ready to have a great time.
This small-town drugstore first opened in 1931 and started off as a small pharmacy to help travelers on the newly built highway. But with the addition of a water tower that proclaimed “Water Tower Drug” in big, bright letters, the store’s popularity exploded.
These days, Wall Drug is more than just a drugstore. It’s an amusement park, complete with a 5-story slide, shooting gallery, and tons of other fun attractions.
The city of Wall has more to offer than just a large shopping complex with lots of cool snacks and souvenirs, so take your time to enjoy everything that this gateway community in South Dakota has to offer on your next road trip through the Midwest.
Things to do Near Wall Drug in South Dakota
#1. Badlands National Park
Drive underneath the interstate instead of getting back on it and you’ll be ready to see one of the most unique natural sights in the US. The Badlands are so named because they are hot, dirty, and bad for settling down to start a homestead.
That means even just a simple drive on the primary road, about a 2-hour detour, is well worth the time. Stop to see a prairie dog village, have a picnic by a spire, and enjoy the many vistas!
#2. The Cactus Cafe
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Cactus Cafe has been serving up good food and drinks for 50 years. It’s a 3rd generation restaurant and the quality of the local recipes shines through on every item.
Go with the biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then make sure you get one of their buffalo burgers if you’re around for lunch or dinner. It’s just a block away from the shopping complex, but miles away from the diner food you’re used to having!
#3. Minuteman Missile Site
At the height of the Cold War, two superpowers built up massive reserves of weapons that were trained in each other’s cities. The idea was simple: preserve the peace by ratting the largest ICBM sabers possible.
At the Minuteman Missile Site, you can take a tour of the launch facilities, see the missile silo, and enjoy the guarantee: missile delivery anywhere in the world in 30 minutes or less or your next one is free.
#4. Wall Golf Course
It’s one of the longest golf courses in the state for a 9-hole course. It’s also got reasonable greens fees and is just outside of town. If you want to get in a quick round before getting on the road, you won’t be disappointed by the value that you’ll get here.
Didn’t bring any clubs with you? That’s ok too – you can rent some at the clubhouse.
#5. 1880 Town
Just about 90 minutes away is 1880 Town, which is an authentic reproduction of what an Old West town might have been like. There are lots of props from the movie Dances with Wolves on the property, but that’s not the reason to go.
Rent some period costumes, get out there for a roping demonstration, and go catch Spoon Jake, the dreaded horse thief.
#6. Custer State Park
If you want to go to the home where the buffalo roam, then Custer State Park is where to go. It’s on the way to Mount Rushmore, so you can’t miss it. Just turn off the main road before you get to the President and you’ll be on your way.
In return, you’ll get to see some pretty awesome granite peaks enjoy miles of hiking trails, and perhaps come face to face with one of the over 1,300 bison that call this park home.
#7. Black Hills National Forest
The Black Hills National Forest is a beautiful and scenic area located in western South Dakota. The forest is well known for its many towering peaks, including Mount Rushmore, which is home to the faces of four United States presidents carved into the granite cliffside.
Other popular attractions in the Black Hills National Forest include Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Wind Cave National Park.
Is Wall Drug Worth Visiting?
When you ask someone about Wall Drug in South Dakota, the answer is invariable “yes”. The tourist attraction is famous for its free ice water and soda pop that has been unavailable at any other shop east of the Mississippi River since 1941, according to Roadside America.
Beyond beverages, there are also numerous attractions like an antique carousel (the USA’s only one), a “Mural Room” and Western Art Gallery with life-sized murals depicting scenes from Western Heritage, to the infamous Barton County Show Pig named Lucy Lou who was awarded as World Champion Swine show pig in 1951 AND 1952 by Guinness World Records; something really special that has not been repeated since Bruno received said honor 32 years earlier.
Clearly, this isn’t an ordinary drugstore. It’s a sprawling tourist attraction and a fun place to visit with kids.
What is Wall Drug?
Wall Drug is a drug store and tourist attraction in the small town of Wall, South Dakota. It was founded in 1931 by Ted and Dorothy Hustead. The store features a large collection of souvenirs, as well as a restaurant, ice cream parlor, and pharmacy.
What are some of the attractions at Wall Drug?
Some of the attractions at the Wall Drug Store include the giant jackalope statue, the dinosaur statues, the photo op with a six-foot-high prairie dog, free ice water, 5 cent coffee, and free watermelon samples.
What are the hours of operation?
The hours of operation vary depending on the season. Generally, Wall Drug is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
How much does it cost to visit Wall Drug?
There is no admission fee to visit Wall Drug. However, some of the attractions inside the store do have a fee.