Visiting the Famous Wall Drug: A First Timer’s Guide

It was Day 7 of our South Dakota road trip. The day we finally visited the famous Wall Drug!

We woke up that morning at the cute, clean, and charming Frontier Cabins in Wall, SD. We arrived at the Frontier Cabins at twilight the night before after visiting Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. The cabins were the most luxurious place we stayed during out 10-day road trip. We highly recommend them!

After checking out around 9:30am, we set forth to experience the famous Wall Drug. Being from the Southwest, we had not heard of Wall Drug prior to our trip to South Dakota. After our trip, however, we now recognize the Wall Drug bumper stickers that we see and references we hear.

Buddy and Chava walking through Wall Drug.
Buddy and Chava walking through Wall Drug.

The experience of Wall Drug began the day before during the drive to Wall, SD. Buddy was entertained by the many signs advertising Wall Drug along Interstate 90. Not only did the signs build up anticipation for our visit to Wall Drug. The signs also entertained him along the way, which was a nice way to break up the monotony after many days on the road!

After experiencing Wall Drug for the first time, Buddy and I are sharing our Pros & Cons of Wall Drug as a guide for fellow first timers.

“I thought Wall Drug was going to be a small place. I underestimated its size and how much it offered.”

Buddy

A maple frosted donut sits at the center of the photo on white parchment paper. Behind it is a cup of coffee in a white mug.
Buddy said he “Loved the coffee.” The cups were small so we let him have a taste.

Pros

  • Delicious Donuts

Wall’s Drug Donuts are delicious!

Chava and I each ordered a maple frosted donut and Buddy opted for the plain donut. The donuts had a hint of lemon. I usually do not like deserts with citrus, but these donuts were good. I especially loved the texture of the plain donut. We highly recommend stopping by for a baked treat!

  • The T-Rex

Wall Drug has an animatronic T-Rex that activates every few minutes or so. Small crowds of families and children gather in anticipation of the T-Rex’s show.

When the T Rex activates, it puts on a great performance! First it slowly starts to move its head side to side and blink its eyes. Then, as the anticipation builds, smoke starts rising behind the Jurassic Park-like fence. Next, the lights on fence start flashing red, an orange glow lights up the smoke around the T-Rex. A strobe light turns on. Then for the grand finale, the T-Rex opens its mouth and roars moving its head side to side and body up and down.

Kids watching squeal in fear and glee as the T-Rex slowly comes to rest.

The T-Rex at Wall Drug was an unexpected and fun sight to behold.

The Wall Drug T-Rex green animatronic T-Rex stand behind a silver fence. The T-Rex head is surrounded by artificial green plants. The entire area is framed by walls made of wood.
Wall Drug’s T-Rex
  • The Mail Box

We were absolutely delighted to find a post office box inside of Wall Drug.

A few years ago, Buddy began the tradition of sending postcards to his grandmother from every place he visits. Given that we had been camping and hiking, we had not had a chance to send a postcard. When we found the post office box, Buddy bought a Wall Drug postcard, wrote a note in the store, and mailed in out then and there! I do carry a pen and postcard stamps in my purse on domestic trips exactly for this reason. We never know when a post office box might pop up!

Buddy in a red t-shirt and gray shorts stands in the Wall Drug Backyard in front of some plants and a gray building with a turquoise and yellow sign that reads Hustead's Wall Drug Store Since 1931.
Buddy in Wall Drug’s Backyard
  • The Back Yard

Our absolute favorite place at Wall Drug was the Backyard. We really enjoyed the outdoor area and could have spent more time there. The Backyard had great music and a splash pad area that Buddy was not too old to play in. There was also a giant jackalope where people were lined up to take photos. In addition to the jackalope, the Backyard offers many options for selfies or Instagram photo shoots. We opted to film a Movement Postcard under the sign greetings from the Black Hills sign.

Cons

  • It was difficult to find things

Wall Drug was much bigger than expected. It was fun and exciting, but also overwhelming. One can very easy to become overstimulated with all the shops, knick knacks, and decorations in the space.

The large size also made it difficult to find things. I spent a great deal of time looking for a shop that sold key chains. The many shops at Wall Drug blend into each other.  I was never quite sure if I was on the right path.

Twice, I asked some of the young people who worked there for help, but the directions they gave me left me confused. Luckily, I found a pharmacist provided good directions and information. Toward the end of our visit, we finally found a map. I only wish I found it early in our visit!

About his first trip to Wall Drug, Buddy said “I thought Wall Drug was going to be a small place. I underestimated its size and how much it offered.”

A wooden box that reads 5¢ coffee please pay here.
Wall Drug’s 5¢ coffee
  • Coffee Confusion

We were absolutely there to try the 5¢ coffee! However, as first timers, it took us a while to find the café. Once we did, we did not know that you could just go up to where the coffee is located, drop a nickel in the box and pour yourself a cup. We thought you had to order at the counter. This led to confusion, a 5¢ change on our credit card, and we held up a line of tourists eager to get their donuts. Oops!

Don’t make our mistake! Put your nickel in the box and get your cup of coffee!

  • Water, No Ice

No matter how hard I tried, I could not find Wall Drug’s free ice water. I overheard fellow tourists walking around Wall Drug chatting about the ice water. Chava and I even overheard vague references to where this water was located. But we could not find it.

A wooden brown water station.
Water Stations in Wall Drug’s Backyard

We did, however, find water stations in the Wall Drug Backyard. And we were very grateful for that!

Overall, we enjoyed our time at the famous Wall Drug. It was an incredible and unique experience. We look forward to traveling back one day. Especially now that we know the lay of the land, and how to get that famous 5¢ coffee!

Have you been to Wall Drug? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments!

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