5 Places You Must Visit in North Dakota

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North Dakota is a great place to visit year round, even when its vast plains and rolling hills are covered in a white blanket. But summer is here, and there’s a great deal of fishing and hunting to be done, frontier amusement parks to be visited, county fairs to be enjoyed, and beautiful landscapes to be admired.
Fun fact: In a recent survey, North Dakota ranked as the happiest state in the U.S. Did the boom in job growth and the surge in its oil industry have something to do with it? Of course!
Have I piqued your interest? Sure, North Dakota is a colourful state. You can take delight in the many outdoor activities, participate in cultural events, visit museums, sample the local food or learn about the Native American culture. It’s all up to you, as there’s plenty to chose from. But here are the top 5 activities no traveler to North Dakota should miss this summer.

Fort Union Trading Post

Hike the Lewis & Clark Trail

The Lewis and Clark Trail crosses 11 states (including North Dakota) and four time zones. Along the way it showcases some of the most beautiful and rugged areas of America, offering great opportunities for hiking, camping, boating and horseback riding.
The trail commemorates the Lewis and Clark Expedition of the beginning of the 19th century. Our American friends surely know all about it (shame on you if you don’t!), but for everybody else, picture this.

It’s 1803, and President Jefferson just purchased Louisiana (that’s roughly the middle section of today’s U.S.). He wants to know what the heck he paid for, so he sends a group of U.S army volunteers under the command of Captain Lewis and his friend Clark to do pretty much what we, travel bloggers, do today – albeit take pictures, take notes and report back to the editor (aka the President). Good thing we, the travel bloggers, don’t really have an editor. *sigh of relief*

Anyways, they slow travel the off the beaten path (the journey took them 2 years and a half), take breathtaking pictures of the landscape with their newly released drones and amazing videos with GoPros attached to the horses’ manes. They even manage to make a few Native American friends for trading purposes! WOW! What an adventure! OK, just go to the Wikipedia article if you want to know what really happened!

Visit the Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota has 13 state parks but Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the most famous of them all. Marvel at all the scenic beauty, hike, bike, swim and why not, sleep under the stars. Isn’t this how freedom is supposed to look like?
Stop by the Painted Canyon Visitor Center for a glimpse of the rugged badlands, spot bison, prairie dogs and do some birdwatching. North Dakota is home to more wildlife refuges than any other American state!
“Nothing could be more lonely and nothing more beautiful than the view at nightfall across the prairies to these huge hill masses, when the lengthening shadows had at last merged into one and the faint after-glow of the red sunset filled the west.” – Theodore Roosevelt about North Dakota
Roosevelt first visited North Dakota while on a bison hunt, when he also bought the Maltese Cross Ranch. After the tragic death of both his wife and his mother in the same day, he returned to his North Dakota ranch seeking time to heal in solitude.
Fun fact: Teddy bears got their name from former U.S. President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Knife River Indian Villages

Thousands of years prior to European contact and up until the late 19th century when the railroads were constructed into the region, North Dakota was inhabited by Native Americans.
Deep your toes in history by driving along the Knife River Indian Villages and exploring a reconstructed, furnished Hidatsa earth lodge, a museum and the miles and miles of trails around them.
The earth lodge people were bison hunters. But their villages along the Missouri River and its tributaries also offered great opportunities for farming and later on, in the 18th century, an important fur market developed here.
Fun fact: Dakota was named for the Dakota, the Sioux tribe which lived in the region and it means “friends” or “allies”.

North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame

Who doesn’t love a good old Western? The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame is the perfect place to learn more about the encounters between the Native Americans, ranchers and rodeo riders on the North Dakota plains in a fun way.
This interpretation center in Medora focuses on the legacy of the American West with a large interpretation center featuring exhibits, a Hall of Honourees, a theatre, archives and an open-air patio.
Native American rain dancer

Bonanzaville

Want even more? Stop by Bonanzaville in West Fargo. This place recreates a small North Dakota pioneer town from the times when the area was being settled.
Discover all 43 buildings, including a log cabin, drug store, blacksmith shop, school, newspaper office, saloon, bank and barbershop. Let your imagination run rampant and day dream a little. Would you have liked to live in the Wild Wild West?


Brought to you in collaboration with North Dakota Legendary

Images by Xerxes2004 and MDuchek via Wikipedia CC & by Lindsey G via Flickr CC

5 Responses

  1. Anonymous
    | Reply

    The Sargent County Museum, is a GREAT museum, rivals that of others in larger communities.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Interesting suggestion. Thank you!

  2. I'll be honest, I've never thought of traveling to North Dakota but I think you've convinced me! Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels 🙂

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Happy to hear it, Lauren! 🙂

    • Laura
      | Reply

      The Peace Garden is indeed beautiful. Thanks for mentioning it and for stopping by 🙂

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