Driving east bound along I-90 in South Dakota you’ll see a multitude of Wall Drug signs scattered along the shoulder. Cartoon images announce free water and 5¢ coffee. Directional signs ensure you can’t possibly get lost and reassure of free parking. Labeled “An American Icon” how could we not stop?
Truth be told, I previously discovered Wall Drug while watching YouTube and had been hopeful that one day we would be close enough to visit. And making our way home from Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Wall Drug was right along the route. I was excited to finally have the opportunity to check out this roadside attraction. Spoiler alert, it did not disappoint.
Surrounding Wall Drug, are multiple parking lots. They weren’t just tiny lots like you expect at a fast food restaurant or convenient store, but parking lots that take up an entire block. In fact, the city street in front of the drug store is marked off with parking spaces both along the curbs and in the middle of the road. There is also a large gravel lot nearby for truck and RV parking.
After deciding which of the numerous entrances to use we started our exploration with lunch at the Western Art Gallery Café. A popular tourist destination, Wall Drug kept two lines open for orders so customers wouldn’t have a long wait. We selected a hot beef sandwich, chicken tender basket with fries, and the kid’s chicken nugget meal with mashed potatoes and gravy. Despite the crowds, plenty of seating was available (they have 530 tables in all). While eating, we had fun admiring the western art that adorns the walls and picking out our favorite pieces. And if you’re not hungry for a full meal, a soda fountain and ice cream parlor are available in the front of the store as well.
After our tasty lunch, we began to wander the rest of the property. It was much larger than I envisioned. There was room after room of shops and souvenirs. Emilie was most excited for the gemstone room (which I’m pretty sure she never would have left).
Then we headed to the “backyard”, which was a whole different experience. Both kids and adults played among the oversized photo props. There was a large jack-a-lope and bucking horse to sit on. We pretended to explore the wild west in the miniature stage coach and covered wagon. And with nostalgic travel songs playing over the loud speakers, kids squealed as they darted between the water jets on the splash pad.
Beyond this outdoor play area are numerous other attractions to visit as well. Gem mining, an arcade, toy store, and a roaring t-rex dinosaur entertain visitors of all ages. Another food counter with tacos and pizzas offers lighter lunch options.
After a fun couple of hours exploring, we returned to our camper with our legs stretched and bellies full. Ready to continue our journey we were glad to have checked out the historic shop. If you’re in the area, we definitely recommend making the stop right off the highway to visit.
Wall Drug Store
510 Main Street, Wall, SD 57790