Just before reaching Badlands National Park, we stopped at the Arrow Campground for the night. The campground is within the city limits of Wall, South Dakota, home of the world-famous Wall Drugstore /tourist-trap complex.
There are loads of shops selling everything kitschy, tacky Western. Also, most of the items for sale are of decidedly un-Western origins (China, predominantly). We wandered around looking for something edible for dinner – No luck there, but you could get a pizza buffet dinner at a combo shady bar and restaurant, if you like your meaty options extra baked under heat lamps all afternoon (yum!).
Wall is the result of a brilliant marketing scheme devised by Mr. Hustead, the original owner/operator of Wall Drugs, who placed signs along the highway in both directions from town to get people to stop instead of speeding right on past as they usually did.
Some of the seemingly original signs are still there, proclaiming “Free Ice Water” for weary travelers, along with many other, newer signs, advertising a variety of food, drink, and souvenir enticements. His water campaign worked, making this otherwise one-street town a bigger dot on the map.
It’s pretty awful these days, but surprisingly crowded with other tourists shuffling from shop to shop, eyes glazed from days on the road, hoping to find that perfect keepsake for South Dakota.
(Hint: *You’re* not missing it if you don’t stop here, trust me.)
The Arrow Campground has mostly unshaded, grassy tent sites and other RV sites.
It was a decent place to pitch a tent, no nature, unless you count the drunken government workers staying there long-term in an RV or the many birds that pooped on anything that remained in one place longer than two minutes. The bathroom/shower rooms were really nice and clean, which mostly makes up for the bird poop on everything. They have a working laundry room as well. Rob did find the one tent site that had moderately usable WiFi, by walking around for a pointing his tablet like a metal detector as he turned and moved. (It was more fun to watch than do, I bet.)
Overall, slightly better than a standard KOA campground.