I just drove across the USA, from New Jersey to Seattle, and my most riveting experience was Wall Drug in South Dakota. Please pay attention to my choice of adjective. Wall Drug SD was not the most fun, beautiful, or exciting part of my 11-day road trip, but it was the most memorable. Here’s why.
BEFORE YOU READ THIS
Before you start reading all about Wall Drug of South Dakota, I want to encourage you NOT to read this. If you are in the area, visit first without getting spoilers. Enjoy the thousands of signs that give you little snippets of information that will get you super hyped up about the world’s most famous tourist attraction. After your visit, come back here to learn more. You have been warned!
Is Wall Drug the World’s Most Famous Tourist Attraction?
Do you seriously need to ask? Sigh. It’s okay; I did too. Of course, this tiny place in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota is not world-famous. Have you ever heard of it mentioned in the same breath as Paris, Shanghai, New York, Sydney? No. But a $300,000 technicality does, in fact, make it world-famous.
Although I haven’t personally seen them, there are supposedly Wall Drug signs in all 50 states and worldwide. Yes, there is literally a sign in Morocco telling people to go to a drug store in South Dakota. You can see some of the crazier signs here.
Wall Drug SD by the Number:
- $300,000: The estimated annual cost of advertising.
- $10,000,000: The estimated annual revenue.
- Free: Cost of admission and unlimited ice water.
- 5 cents: Cost of surprisingly good coffee, which you can pay for on a trust-based system.
- 2,000,000: The estimated number of annual visitors.
- 80: The height in feet (24 meters) of the dinosaur sculpture.
Is Wall Drug Worth the Visit?
Maybe. If you like to visit unique places, then yes, it is worth the visit. But only if you are in the area and it is a secondary or tertiary (or even denary) stop. A common nearby attraction is the Badlands National Park, which is 100% worth a visit even if you need to travel long-distance. If you are driving by anyway, 100% stop here! Do keep in mind that it gets crowded with an average of 20,000 visitors a day.
Personally, I enjoyed visiting despite the hordes of tourists and piles of kitsch. It wasn’t anything to write home about, except it was, because here I am, writing about Wall Drug after traveling the world, driving across the USA, and currently living on the breathtaking island of Maui, Hawaii. I’d go as far as to say that if I were in the area, I would stop by again and potentially take photos with some of the fun signs along the highway.
The Signs Don’t Lie
The big question I had before arriving at this questionable destination was, ‘is it all true?’ The answer is yes! Every single sign (there were MANY) described a different thing to see, do, or buy, and they were all 100% true. Here are some examples borrowed from Google:
Wall Drug was interesting to visit, not because of what was there but rather the concept behind the signs and how it became so popular. I spent about an hour at this roadside attraction, although I could have easily explored more. Despite seeing Yellowstone, Chicago, Put-in-Bay, and many other fantastic places, Wall Drug was the most intriguing – there’s that word again! Feel free to let me know in the comment section how you feel about this strange attraction!
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