A trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota is not just about what you do when you get there. It’s also about some fun stops as you drive there and back!

After getting to South Dakota, we hopped on I-90 to head west to the Hills, and that is where the fun begins!

First of all, we stopped at a rest stop near Salem, which was actually one of South Dakota’s 13 information centers. We just needed to take a bathroom break, but we walked out with maps and guides and lots of stickers for the boys. I highly recommend stopping at one, especially if it is your first time in South Dakota or if it has been awhile!

Just a few hours west of Sioux Falls, we came up over a hill to find this…

The Missouri River intersects I-90 at Chamberlain and this was always a favorite pit stop for our family vacations way back when.

The old A&W I loved is gone now, but just across the river, you can stop to stretch and eat at Al’s Oasis. I was told to try the pie…

I split this heavenly piece of pecan pie with my mom. I must agree – if you don’t get anything else at Al’s, at least please get the pie!

Heading further west, the plains will suddenly become more rolling, and then you will happen on the Badlands. Unfortunately because of weather and time constraints, we couldn’t make the extra drive around the Badlands Loop, but if you’ve never seen the Badlands up close, you MUST do this! What exactly ARE the Badlands?

The Lakota gave this land its name, “mako sica,” meaning “land bad.” Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. {www.blackhillsbadlands.com}

Rugged, gorgeous, awe-inspiring – all perfect words to describe the area! The hubby said they look like rainbow sherbet rocks. Well put, sir.

And right at the edge of these Badlands, you’ll sneak up on the little town of Wall.

Well, you may see a few signs for it first – maybe just a few of the countless signs for Wall Drug that are posted EVERYWHERE on I-90, as well as in over 100 countries around the world!

Wall Drug…it’s hard to explain all that it is…but I’ll try…

It’s a rest stop and a gift shop and an art gallery and a restaurant and an entertainment center. A place to eat and play and rest and drink free ice water. There is LITERALLY something for everyone at Wall Drug, and if you don’t stop there on your way to or from the Black Hills, you are missing out.

I had the great pleasure of meeting the current owner of Wall Drug. His grandparents bought the only drugstore in Wall back in 1931. The first few years did not go well with it being the Depression era and all.

Then they started offering free ice water.

And business BOOMED. Now, MILLIONS of people a year stop at Wall Drug to stretch their legs and explore the place…

Giant animals, cowboy stuff, dinosaurs that actually roar – we were in boy heaven.

And then there are the donuts.

Just like I said with Al’s pie, THESE you MUST eat. Fresh donuts…mmm…

As you can tell, the donuts were greatly enjoyed by all.

I could go on and on about Wall Drug, but you really just have to go there to experience it.


Those were our fun stops along the way to and from the Black Hills, but there are many other great places to check out.

Here are just a few along I-90:

*LOTS to do in Sioux Falls – I’ll be sharing more later this year, but check out the Falls for sure!

*The Corn Palace {Mitchell}

*South Dakota`s Original 1880 Town {Murdo}

*Pioneer Auto Show and Prairie Town {Murdo}


Come back tomorrow for part 2 in the Head for the Hills series: Just for the Kids!


Disclaimer: Head for the Hills is a sponsored series with the South Dakota Department of Tourism. We were compensated for portions of our trip, but all opinions in this series are 100% our own!

You can connect with the friendly and helpful people at the South Dakota Department of Tourism on Twitter and Facebook! Tell them Home with the Boys sent you!