Date of Travel: August 19-21, 2017
Total Cost Per Night: $35
Address: 118 W 4th Ave.,Wall, SD 57790
Phone Number: 605-279-2100, Toll Free: 1-877-544-7373
Full Hookup RV sites, Electric Tent sites
Sometimes life throws you a few curve-balls. On a 25 day trip, it’s inevitable that there will be things that are unplanned and there will be bumps in the road. Our first few days in South Dakota were full of surprises (Ben was sick as a dog and had to find an ER…and it was super HOT in Wall!), which ultimately led us to this campground. When planning this trip we were SO excited about boondocking in a National Grassland overlooking the Badlands (check it out here). We knew being in mid-to-late August, temps could be an issue. The week before we were going to be there the temps were in the 70s. But wouldn’t you know it was 96 degrees when we got there?!? We don’t have a big enough generator to run our A/C, and even if we did, I doubt it would do well in such high temps. So we started looking for a Plan B that had A/C, which of course ruled out the National Park campgrounds and boondocking.
There aren’t many options around the Badlands that have full hookups, namely two. We did some quick research and landed on Sleepy Hollow. It didn’t look like anything fancy but it was in town, close to Wall Drug, and had a tiny little swimming pool to try to cool off in. Just for reference,the other local campground is Arrow Campground. While we didn’t drive through it, we did drive past it and it looked much more run down and dumpier than Sleepy Hollow.
Wall, SD is situated Northwest of Badlands N.P. just off of the interstate. Because we were coming from the East, and the kids wanted to get working on their Junior Ranger books, we opted to drive through the park on our way here. It was a little out of the way, but it gave us a quick look at the park and also let us stop in at the Visitor’s Center on our way in without having to cross the entire park the next day. I’m glad we did it this way because our first night I succumbed to my spiraling sickness, went to a little podunk ER in Philip, SD and didn’t leave the camper the next day as the family went and did some hiking! (Just a side note here, the closest medical facilities are 30 miles away in Philip which is an ER of sorts. The next closest is an urgent care in Rapid City about 50-60 miles away.) It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the western entrance to the national park from the campground.
This campground isn’t the most internet friendly. While you can make reservations online, it seems limited in the number of sites you can reserve. We ended up just calling and talking to the receptionist. She was friendly and helped us coordinate reservations with my in-laws who were going to be camping with us. Check-in was a breeze when we got there.
The campground is a fairly typical privately-owned campground. The RV campsites are squeezed in pretty close together. When you take a walk around the rest of the campground though, you notice that it’s actually not too bad of a place. There is a decent amount of greenspace (albeit, not mowed very well) around the perimeter. You’ll find horseshoes, a small (really old and dumpy) playground, a hidden little pond, a dog-park, a very small pool, laundry facilities and a small store. The tent sites seem more natural and are in the grassy areas set apart from the RV sites. There’s definitely room to spread out and get comfortable if you’re in a tent.
The RV sites, as well as the roads and parking lot are gravel (can be dusty). Our site was very level, no blocks needed. The sites all seem to be somewhere around 40-55 feet long, all pull-thrus. As far as amenities, they have a menu of available amenities (see it here). If you want 30 or 50 amp they have it. Want water/electric, water/electric/sewer, water/electric/cable, or water/electric/cable/sewer, then you have you choice. It’s all about options. There seems to be a small price difference for each combination. We had full hookups sans cable and it suited us just fine (all we really needed was A/C!!!). You will find the occasional tree in the campground and there is a smattering of grass between each campsite.
Wall Drugstore is a regional icon and if you haven’t heard of it, you will become quite acquainted with it as you see the signs along the highway anywhere in South Dakota. It’s been around forever and has it roots in being a rest stop for weary travelers in search of some water. It still offers free water (it was hot and nasty) and a TON of touristy, cheesy shops. It has an identity all its own. We did the obligatory walk-thru and short of the really cool chapel, it didn’t do much for us or our kids. But, if you’re looking to spend a little time seeing it, you can’t beat the location of Sleepy Hollow. It’s literally about a 200 yard walk to the shops.
The campground sits right next to some train tracks and some really beautiful silos. It makes for some really nice pics and adds some character to the area.
If you’re needing to restock on groceries, there is a grocery store a few blocks from the campground. It has everything you need, but as expected, things cost more. They do sell liquor here as well as beer and wine.
There are a few restaurants in town, most famously, the Wall Drug Store restaurant. We didn’t try their meals other than the donuts (overrated and overpriced…wouldn’t do it again) though the atmosphere is pretty cool.
We are definitely more inclined to the natury types of campgrounds. Boondocking, national or state parks, forests, etc. are more our style. But, since we had to camp with some electricity, I was very grateful for Sleepy Hollow. Put in the same situation again, I’d stay here again. I wish they had more manicured lawns, a bigger pool and less dust, but I can’t say our stay was bad. This was a welcome blessing that was an unexpected detour.
Just an FYI, If you’re passing through this area and looking for a insanely cheap, quick stop for the night, check out 24 Express in Wasta. It’s only $5 and has electricity!