The town of Wall, eight miles north of the Badlands owes its notoriety to Wall Drug, which began modestly in 1931 as a pharmacy and veterinary supplies shop on Main Street, it's now one of the largest tourist traps in the world. Over five hundred billboards along I-90 tout the store's wares, including the free ice water that was its original sales gimmick, are likely to pique your interest; by the time you get to exit 110 (the one with the 85ft Wall Drug dinosaur), you'll be compelled to pull off and see what all the fuss is about.
Behind the hype lies a kitschy emporium that serves up to twenty thousand visitors per day. You can fill up on a wide range of serviceable fare ranging from buffalo hot dogs to freshly fried doughnuts in the 520-seat café-cum-Western art gallery, or simply enjoy the wall-to-wall collection of photos, memorabilia, animal trophies, and mechanical automata like the Cowboy Orchestra and the Chuckwagon Quartet. The merchandise, separated into individual stores, runs the gamut from quality to junk (anyone for a rattlesnake mold?).
An overnight in Wall positions travellers for a dawn dino trek in the Badlands. Try the rough-hewn, fully Frontier Cabins located conveniently at exit 110 (Tel:605/279-2619; Price: $101-130). Those who prefer a tent to four walls can pitch it for the night at The Sleep Hollow Campground (Tel:605/ 279-2100). The Cactus Café and Lounge on Main Street (Tel:605/279-2561) offers a mixed menu of reasonably priced Mexican, Italian, and American food.