Wall Drug Store Sign
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What the Heck is Wall Drug Store?

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?

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.

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What the heck is wall drug store

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Where the Heck is Wall Drug Store?

Where the heck is Wall Drug Store
Image Courtesy of 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 ParkWall Drug Store is a 50,000 square foot shopping center, eatery, and recreation area. Browse the cowboy boots and hats.  There is also the 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.

Address:

510 Main Street • PO Box 401
Wall, SD • 57790-0401

What the Heck is Wall Drug Store?

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 is, you need to know about the history behind it and why it became so famous.  

History of Wall Drug Store

History of Wall Drug Store
Image Courtesy 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.

Good Luck

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.

More Signs

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.

Sign Crazy

Wall Drug Store Sign
Image Courtesy of Wall Drug Store

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.

London

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 landing him an interview on BBC.

When Should I Visit Wall Drug Store?Wall Drug Store pharmacy

Hours of Operation are:

Main Store

8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Cafe

8:00 am – 7:15 pm

Pharmacy

8:30 am – 7:30 pm

What the Heck Do You Do at Wall Drug Store?What the heck is Wall Drug Store South Dakota

To keep it simple you can eat, shop, and have a lot of fun in the process.

Western Art Gallery Restaurant

Restaurant at Wall Drug Store

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.

Shopping

Shopping at Wall Drug Store

Once you drive into Wall, you will no longer have to ask, what the heck is Wall Drug Store but now I bet you are wondering where 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.

Stores

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 a replica signage of the original drug store, take time to meditate in the chapel, or stop for one of many photo ops.

Playing

things to do at Wall drug store

Wall Drug Backyard

Wall Drug Store hasn’t forgotten that catering to tourists, that means keeping the kiddos entertained.  Of course, there are the tantalizing suckers by 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 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 in 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?Wall Drug Store South Dakota

Absolutely!  I have been twice.  The first time we actually went 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, to 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 DakotaRoad Trip to 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 RVThat 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 Store as you travel across South Dakota!

Rent an RV from RVshare

Facebook Community

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!

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78 Comments

  1. 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!

    1. I didn’t know what it was until we went to Mount Rushmore the first time and was told we had to visit!

    1. 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!

      1. Yes, the first time we went we didn’t even go in to the backyard area, we didn’t know it was there!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. The billboards alone had me interested! This drug store looks very interesting and could have many novelties you can’t find anywhere else.

  7. 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.

  8. Wall Drug Store sounds like a fun place to spend an afternoon! Thanks for sharing about it. I’ve never heard of this store.

  9. 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.

  10. What a cool spot! I love anything retro. Especially these days. I definitely want to go back in time.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. I’ve taken a few cross country trips and went through SD more than one time. On one occasion actually, stopped at Wall Drug!

  14. 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.

  15. 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 🙂

    1. It is only in South Dakota near Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park. It is a Ma and Pa kinda store.

  16. 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

  17. I love places like this. What a great write up. I will add it to our list when we get out that way.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. Such a cool place! You had me at fudge! Mmmm! We’ll definitely stop in there when we make our trip to South Dakota.

  23. 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.

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