Midwest Road Trips

Stop and Hit the Wall Drug in South Dakota

Enjoy a fresh donut at Wall Drug Store in South Dakota.
Yes, Wall Drug Store in South Dakota sells fresh donuts.  Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

With a blend of timeless appeal paired with good food, few road trip attractions can beat a drug store in South Dakota. Really! Wall Drug Store is  a rambling collection of stores and rooms selling sundries, souvenirs and snacks. It’s a place to snap pics on a jackaloupe, grab a bison burger, pick up some sunscreen and leave with a free souvenir bumper sticker. Road trips need fun stops, filled with good food, quirky souvenirs and stuff you forgot at home. In fact, Wall Drug might be one of the top destinations in South Dakota..  Seriously, Wall Drug is a must for any trip through South Dakota.  Here’s a line up of what to do in Wall Drug Store.

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Wall Drug is South Dakota's Badlands and Black Hills offers family fun.
Stop by the Apothecary storefront at Wall Drug for a step back in time. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

History of Wall Drug Store

It’s nearly impossible to miss Wall Drug since its billboards dot the interstates across the entire Midwest. And really, don’t. It’s an iconic roadside attraction. And it all started with free ice water.

In 1931, Dorothy and Ted Hunstead opened the only drugstore in a speck of a town: Wall, South Dakota. After five years of struggling to get the business off the ground, the Hunstead family needed customers to walk through the door.

Then one hot, dusty afternoon, Dorothy decided to put up signs along the highway to Badlands National Park offering Free Ice Water. It worked, visitors started walking through their doors for a cool drink and found all the stuff they forgot to pack.

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A stop at Wall Drug in South Dakota is a must for a road trip.
Wall Drug sells boots, western belts and cowboy hats in all sizes. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Wall Drug Store Today

The Hunstead Family still offers free ice water, 5¢ self-serve coffee and a free bumper sticker. But today, Wall Drug is one of the top attractions in South Dakota.

A rambling space covers a city block features sundries and souvenirs. Also find specialty clothing, like boots, leather goods and cowboy hats. There’s lots of parking along the street and

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Stop by South Dakota's Wall Drug on your road trip.
Need a cup of coffee? Wall Drug offers self-serve 5¢ coffee, cash only. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Eat at Wall Drug

In addition to the free water and the 5¢ coffee, find a full menu at Wall Drug. With over 500 seats, getting a table won’t be a problem either. With the largest privately-owned collection of western art and illustration in U.S. hanging on the knotty-pine walls of the dining room, sit down at a marble-topped table. And I recommend the Buffalo Burger, with locally-sourced South Dakota bison.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinners along with a kids menu, find American favorites along with house-made rolls, donuts and pie. Wall Drug also serves up ice cream favorites at its Soda Fountain Ice Cream Shop.

Stop by Wall Drug in South Dakota for family fun and food.
The locally-sourced Buffalo burger and onion rings is perfect after a day of driving or exploring. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Family Fun at Wall Drug

Don’t miss the backyard for all the photo ops. Sitting on the giant jackalope can’t be beat for cute kid pictures. The miniature Mount Rushmore sculpture is close enough to touch.

Hop on the Jackalope at Wall Drug in South Dakota.
Kids and Moms love the Jacklope in the backyard of Wall Drug in South Dakota. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The enormous T. Rex, similar to the one found in Badlands National Park, roars to life ever few minutes. Kids can  pan for treasure at one of three mines in the Backyard area.

During the summer, take off the shoes and run through the Backyard’s Train Station Water Show. Kids will love the arcade too. Adults can grab a cup of coffee at the Prairie Parlour.

 a replica of Mount Rushmore.
Get a picture of the kids with the presidents at Wall Drug. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Shopping at Wall Drug

I dare anyone to find a place with more shopping in Wall, South Dakota. Find Black Hills gold, silver and turquoise jewelry. Or browse a wall of lined with cowboy boots along with a hat and a handbag to complete the western outfit.

Camping in one of South Dakota’s five national park? There’s a stocked camping store with vintage-looking enamelware.

And Wall Drug is the place for your South Dakota souvenirs. If they don’t carry it, it wasn’t made.

More Reasons to Stop at Wall Drug

The Western Art collection  should not be missed. Gracing the knotty-pine walls, find over 300 pieces of original art, especially western oil landscapes. Including two pieces painted by the Mount Rushmore architect, Gutzon Borglum. In all, the art collection is worth more than $3 million.

Need a place for quiet reflection? Find it in the peaceful Traveler’s Chapel.

The Pharmacy Museum offers a quaint look at the apothecary storefront from years ago.

The stuffed and mounted animal heads excite the animal spotters. The kids pose for pictures with wood-carved cowboys.

 South Dakota
Wall Drug features over 300 pieces of original Western art and sculptures. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Where’s Wall Drug Store

Wall Drug is located conveniently off Interstate 90 that cuts east-west across South Dakota. Its address is 510 Main Street, off Interstate 90 exits 109 and 110, near Badlands National Park. It’s open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The Café is daily 8 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.

Disclosure

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Wall Drug Store along Interstate 90 in South Dakota sells everything a traveler forgot at home along with a cafe packed with burgers, donuts and more. Where's Wall Drug Store | What to do in South Dakota | Where to eat in the Black Hills | Where to eat near Badlands #SouthDakota #WallDrug #BlackHills
credit: Catherine Parker

 

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a 95-year-old house. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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