Where the Heck is Wall Drug Store? (And Why Should I Stop?)
Let me guess! You were on a road trip in South Dakota and you started seeing signs for Wall Drug Store. What the heck is Wall Drug Store and where the heck is Wall Drug Store???
You are in the right place! I am excited to share with you our experience at Wall Drug Store in South Dakota. This post is going to inform you about everything you need to know to decide if you want to make a stop at this iconic location and know what the heck it is.
I think you may be surprised, at what you will discover at Wall Drug Store!
Let’s explore what and where the heck Wall Drug Store is!
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Where the Heck is Wall Drug Store?
Wall Drug store is located in Wall, South Dakota. It is located about 7 miles (about 11 minutes) from the west entrance of Badlands National Park. You can easily get from Rapid City to Wall Drug, SD.
Wall Drug Store is a 50,000-square-foot shopping center, eatery, and recreation area. Browse the cowboy boots and hats. There is also jewelry, art, and clothing. And you won’t want to miss the candy and fudge and donuts. Plus, there is an animatronic T-Rex. Yes, that last part may seem random, but you won’t think so once you’re there.
You can find out where that “there” is on your way to or from Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park.
510 Main Street • PO Box 401
Wall, SD • 57790-0401
Private or Public Tour
If you want a public tour or private tour of the entire area they are available and will include Wall Drug.
What the Heck is Wall Drug Store?
Wall Drug Store is a roadside attraction that brings in over 2 million people each year. There are about 20,000 that visit daily.
If you really want to know what Wall Drug Store SD is, you need to know about the history behind it and why it became so famous.
History of Wall Drug Store
The founder of Wall Drug Store was no stranger to misfortune. Physical injuries derailed his medical education. When he finally went back to school and received a pharmacy degree, the only job he could find was in grain elevator construction.
But he persevered, and finally obtained pharmacy jobs working for others, first in Dell Rapids, then Canova, followed by Sioux Falls, and finally Oldham. But when the pharmacy in Oldham did not work out, it was time for Ted to move again. This time was different. This time he had some cash from his father, and along with his savings, he could start his own pharmacy. But where?
Wall South Dakota
He and his wife Dorothy were not too picky. They only wanted two things: a small town and a catholic church so that they could attend mass every day.
Wall South Dakota checked both boxes. But when they started, business was very slow! So slow that Ted and Dorothy began to wonder if they made a mistake. But they told each other that they would give the business 5 years, and if it did not succeed by then, they would need to move on.
And it’s a good thing they stuck to their full five-year commitment. A mere few months before their 5th year in Wall, their fortunes began to change for the better. Dorothy went to take a nap. As she listened to the cars rushing by on the highway, she started thinking about how to get those cars to stop in Wall.
She had an impression that they should offer “free ice water,” and even came up with a jingle to put on a sign. Ted felt a little silly putting the sign out on the highway at first, but boy was he excited when more people came to his store on the first day than ever before.
Pretty soon more signs went up and more people came. They came from all over the World. Some of these folks were headed to Yellowstone. Others on different road trips across the United States. The signs worked and brought so many customers that they had to hire eight new people the second year after putting up the signs.
Wall Drug decided to put up as many signs as possible so that everyone would know about Wall Drug Store.
Signs could once be seen in all fifty states, and in places around the world. That’s not the case today, mostly as a result of highway beautification limitations on billboards. But there are currently 250 signs in South Dakota, 30 in Minnesota, and 20 in Wyoming.
While vacationing in London Ted put a sign in a London Underground station. It said that Wall Drug Store was 5,160 miles away and if they wrote he would tell them all about South Dakota. He would get 12-20 letters a day! His sign captured the attention of local newspapers and ultimately landed him an interview on BBC.
When Should I Visit Wall Drug Store?
Hours of Operation are:
8:00 am – 8:00 pm
8:00 am – 7:15 pm
8:30 am – 7:30 pm
What the Heck Do You Do at Wall Drug Store?
To keep it simple you can eat, shop, and have a lot of fun in the process.
Western Art Gallery Restaurant
There is a restaurant located inside of Wall Drug Store. It has the ability to seat 500 people! Wall Drug Store is famous for its homemade donuts, pies, rolls, ice cream, buffalo burgers, mashed potatoes, and 5-cent coffee.
We had the opportunity to sit down and try out a variety of food. You can get a variety of burgers, including buffalo burgers! There are other options, such as fish and chips, chicken strips and chicken salad, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
We found the food decent, but very pricey. The doughnuts were old-fashioned style and not my kids’ favorite. But of course, they liked the ice cream.
Once you drive into Wall, you will no longer have to ask, where the heck is Wall Drug Store but now I bet you are wondering what the heck is Wall Drug Store?
It’s so big, it’s hard to miss! There is parking all along the street, and lots further down from the store. You have an RV or a bigger vehicle. No problem. There is parking for you.
Many stores are located within the building but they are all part of Wall Drug Store. There is a toy store, leather store, pharmacy, convenience store, fudge shop, and many more. It is fun to take a step back into time. All of the stores are designed in a cowboy 1800 decor.
There are so many fun shops to spend your time exploring.
You can also see replica signage of the original drug store, take time to meditate in the chapel, or stop for one of many photo ops.
Wall Drug Backyard
Wall Drug Store hasn’t forgotten that catering to tourists, means keeping the kiddos entertained. Of course, there are the tantalizing suckers by the entrances and yummy desserts to order at the restaurant, but there is an area behind the main strip of stores called Wall Drug Backyard, an outdoor area with things to climb on, and a splash pad.
The kids can climb on the jackalope. There’s also a stallion, a stagecoach, a wagon, and a mini replica of Mt. Rushmore.
And if you go into the building in the back, you see the animatronic T-Rex that puts on a show every ten minutes. There is also a place where you can pan for gold in this building.
Should I Stop at Wall Drug Store?
Absolutely! I have been twice. The first time we actually went at the same time as the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Wall was so busy with motorcycles. You could barely get into the building!
We did not have to deal with crowds on our most recent trip. We had traveled to Mount Rushmore on the way to be with family and decided to stop at the Badlands and in Wall. But with COVID-19, there were not too many people.
How Long Should I Stay?
My husband, I, and our four kids stayed for about 3 hours. Since we had hiked in the Badlands earlier that day, it was nice to sit down, eat, enjoy a little shopping, and have the kids go outside and play.
It helped us break up our road trip!
Where the Heck is Wall Drug
So when you see a Wall Drug Store bumper sticker that says, “Where the heck is Wall Drug?” you can say you know where, and what it is too.
Road Trip in South Dakota
One of the best road trips in the USA is right near Wall Drug Store. There are two National Parks in this area: The Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore. Also, Crazy Horse Monument and Custer State Park are down the road from Wall.
If you are planning a road trip these are great locations to include. Have you ever thought about renting an RV? That might be a great plan for a trip like this as well.
This part of the United States is so beautiful and it is worth stopping at Wall Drug South Dakota Store as you travel across South Dakota!
Don’t forget to pick up your “Where the heck is Wall Drug Store bumper sticker” before you leave.
If you have any questions join my Facebook Travel Community. You can ask any questions you have about upcoming trips and everyone is happy to help you plan your trip. I also try to give exclusive travel deals that companies send me. It is a great group to join!
How cool! This looks like a fun place to stop on a road trip.
It was a nice stop for us after hiking at the Badlands.
What a cool spot! I love the old fashioned drug stores. Especially if they have fudge.
Can’t go wrong with fudge!
Living in Minnesota I would see bumper stickers saying they’d been to Wall Drug and had no idea what it was – at least not until we took a road trip to South Dakota. We loved this quirky roadside attraction with so much to do…fun for the whole family!
I didn’t know what it was until we went to Mount Rushmore the first time and was told we had to visit!
Wall Drug looks like an interesting place to visit.
From the first few pictures it didn’t look like such a huge place, but wow! Sounds like quite the attraction. The restaurant must be really big if it can seat 500 people too. I’ll have to pin this for future reference!
Yes, the first time we went we didn’t even go in to the backyard area, we didn’t know it was there!
I love the history, it intrigued me to stop for sure!
I read about this before we went to South Dakota, but unfortunately, it wasn’t on our route. I’m bummed that we didn’t get to go. We love stopping at unique places like this.
Hopefully, next time you travel through you can go!
What a fun place to visit after hiking in the Badlands. I would love to go through the shop and see what fun stuff they have.
They have a lot of merchandise! It is fun to shop around!
Love Wall Drug! We visited a few years ago when we went to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. It’s a fun, quirky place, for sure!
Yea, It is kind of cool just to say you have been there!
I have never heard of Wall Drug Store, but I’m adding it to my places to visit! It sounds like a perfect adventure during a trip out to the Dakotas. Thanks for sharing!
For sure! If you are headed to South Dakota it is a must see!
The billboards alone had me interested! This drug store looks very interesting and could have many novelties you can’t find anywhere else.
The billboards are awesome. They make any road trip more fun!
I’ll be in the area in a couple weeks! I hope I have the time to stop by and check it out. It looks like a fun little stop.
It is worth a stop!
I would love to visit for the candy and fudge! Yum!
I know right!
Wall Drug Store sounds like a fun place to spend an afternoon! Thanks for sharing about it. I’ve never heard of this store.
It is a great stop if you are doing a Mount Rushmore road trip!
This looks like a great stop on a great trip!
It is a fun stop!
Cheers to South Dakota! It is an absolutely fabulous state and so underrated. I visited Wall Drug decades ago and still remember my fun visit there.
I know I always tell my family how amazing this area is and how we need to have a family reunion there.
What a cool spot! I love anything retro. Especially these days. I definitely want to go back in time.
That is the feeling you get as you shop around at Wall!
I’ve never heard of Wall Drug Store before, it looks like an amazing place!
Now you know about it, you will have to stop by!
I’ve been to Wall Drug several times, but I never knew the history behind it. What a great story! I was just there a few years ago on my way to Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park. We rented a cottage by Sylvan Lake, and it was SO beautiful! I love that part of South Dakota!
It really is one of the most beautiful areas in the country.
WOW you just brought back so many memories.. I loved Wall drug store, whenvwe were visiting the Badlands we had lunch there and SHOPPED! Thanks this was a fun post!
I love that it brings back memories for so many people!
What a fun looking destination! I love your description and photos. 🙂
I’ve taken a few cross country trips and went through SD more than one time. On one occasion actually, stopped at Wall Drug!
That is awesome! Such a cool place!
The signs remind me of my first trip to Florida as a kid. The signs for South of the Border had me captivated for hundreds of miles. I will have to include Wall Drug in the itinerary when I get to South Dakota.
For sure! I want to see the signs from Florida!
At first I wasn’t sure where you were going with this post but now I am going to have to find one of these Wall stores when I’m in the USA the next time 🙂
It is only in South Dakota near Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park. It is a Ma and Pa kinda store.
Heading there in a couple of weeks. It’s been on my itinerary for months! Can’t wait!
Oh cool! You will like it!
I made a trip driving out west once and stopped there. It was such a neat place! I have a toy in my office from there and often get questions about what in the world I’m advertising! LOL
HAHA. That is awesome!
I love places like this. What a great write up. I will add it to our list when we get out that way.
Thanks! It is just a fun place!
What a cool read! I love learning about little hidden gems like this and learning of the history of it. If I ever Marie it out that way, this would have to be on the itinerary.
I love the history too!
I love unique places such as this! Thanks. We will definitely stop by when we are in that area.
When you plan your incredible road trip across the states….this would be an awesome addition!
This is so cool! I’ve never been to the Dakotas but will definitely hit this up when I do
It is a fun stop kinda like something you would see on Route 66!
I absolutely love Wall Drug. I have been there often throughout my life and I enjoy it every time. I never tire of it. Whenever we are heading west there is never any doubt that we will stop at Wall Drug. My kids loved it as well. So many fun things to do and see. Definitely worth the stop.
That is awesome! Both times we have been in that area of the country we have stopped!
This is so fun to remember. I went to Wall Drug as a kid(or teenager – in any case many years ago). It was a lot of fun and I remember the Jackalope….fun times. Thanks for the memories. It was fun then and looks like it still is.
It is such an Iconic place!
Wow! I had no idea. That history is so cool though. And I love the silly signs. I can’t believe to this day that they still have so many visitors. The fact that it’s so close to two National Parks makes Wall Drug an easy stop, too!
It is a really great location!
What a wonderful iconic stop! Thanks for taking me there.
No problem! It is a fun stop!
Interesting story! Love the history.
I love it too!
I love the history behind the store. What a story!
It really is a great story!
Such a cool place! You had me at fudge! Mmmm! We’ll definitely stop in there when we make our trip to South Dakota.
Oh for sure! It is worth a stop!
This looks like my kind of place with all of my favorite goodies!
Yes, It is a great touristy place to shop!
Great post!!! Sounds like you learned a lot about “Wall Drug Stores”!!! It’s always interesting to learn about the historical pinnings of a name.
I agree! I just love the history!