North Dakota Road Trip


World's Largest Buffalo

World’s Largest Buffalo

Head North West towards Fargo-Moorhead. There, in a repurposed old grain elevator, you’ll find the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center. It is anything from your ordinary tourist information center. Walk down the Celebrity Walk of Fame where names like Def Leppard, Dr. Ruth, Metallica, and Neil Diamond will jump out at you. Then head inside for free popcorn, coffee, and a few photo ops like shoving a foot down in the renowned woodchipper from the cult classic, Fargo.

If you are ready to camp for the night, journey over to Buffalo River State Park Campground in Glyndon, MN. It has some nice campsites with a prairie setting.

Continue your journey West and make a pit-stop (or pie-stop! :)) in Tower City, ND at the Tower Travel Center. Here they make delicious pies daily that are worth the stop.

Frontier Village

Frontier Village

Keep heading West to Jamestown, ND and take a picture with the World’s Largest Buffalo statue. Take a stroll through the old-timey Frontier Village. You will feel like you are in an old western movie.

Bismarck, ND will be your next stop. Your first stop in Bismarck should be the “Skyscraper of the Prairie,” the North Dakota State Capitol. The 19-story Art Deco building looks nothing like most of its counterparts across the country on the outside but is historical nonetheless. And afterward, walk over to the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, the official history museum of the state. One of the top attractions in Bismarck is the Lewis and Clark Riverboat tour. Float down the Missouri River and see what it was like back in the early days when riverboats were the major mode of transportation. If you like artsy things check out Art Alley located on 5th street halfway between Broadway and Main Avenues.

When you are ready to make it to camp for the evening, head over to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.  Located in a scenic wooded area right down by the Heart River, Fort Abraham Lincoln Campground is a modern camping experience, complete with picnic sites and playground equipment. There is a lot to explore within the park, a perfect blend of military and early Native American history. In fact, as an important infantry and cavalry post, some structures (like the Custer House) still exist today. Also popular with visitors is On-A-Slant Indian Village where reconstructed earth lodges depict the life and times of the Mandan Indians, who lived here way back when (1571-1781). Summertime is great for plodding along the gently sloping hills, and a glance at a panoramic vista of the Missouri River. Trails are also available for hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Roll your way back to I-94 so you don’t miss the next crazy roadside oddity of Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow. New Salem is rich in dairy farms and dang proud of it. At 36 feet high and 50 feet long, Salem Sue can be seen from five miles away. Gotta wonder how big her udders are!

Head West and take the detour south at exit 72 to the Enchanted Highway, a road turned into an outdoor art gallery. The 32-mile stretch of scrap metal sculptures will take you from the rural towns of Gladstone to Regent.

Make your way back up to the highway and continue West to Medora, ND.  The delightful western town is home to two classic North Dakota experiences: The Medora Musical and Pitchfork Steak Fondue.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Right next to Medora is Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Park itself is at the edge of the National Grasslands, where the prairie meets the Badlands. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is broken into three units, the North Unit, Elkhorn Ranch Unit, and the most-popular South Unit. These units are divided by the Little Missouri River and it is 68 miles between the North Unit and the South Unit. Therefore, if you want to cover both units, you need a minimum of two days in the park. In the park you will find white tail deer, bull elk, bands of feral horses, badgers, bison, and tons of prairie dog towns.

Continue on your journey and head North-West to the town of Williston, ND. Interact with some friendly locals on its picturesque main street. Then, Fort Buford and Fort Union offer interactive history lessons that are very interesting and insightful.

Your next great camping spot is nearby at Lewis and Clark State Park. Lewis and Clark State Park is situated on one of the upper bays of Lake Sakakawea. The park features miles of shoreline with picturesque views of towering buttes and rolling hills, that provide a rugged backdrop for the park.

When you are ready to experience a little city life again, head over to Minot, ND. The most popular attraction in Minot is the Scandinavian Heritage Park. This is magical place where you’ll find remembrances and replicas from each of the five Scandinavian and Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. For the kids, definitely check out Roosevelt Park. It has lots of great activities to choose from including a zoo, a pool and a train ride called the Magic City Express. Also, the downtown may be small but it has a lot to explore.

The last camping destination on your North Dakota road trip is Grahams Island State Park on Devil’s Lake. Devil’s Lake is the state’s largest natural lake. The campground features drinking water, flush and vault toilets, showers, picnic shelters, playgrounds, dog park, and sports courts. Large and fairly shallow, Devils Lake is a hotspot for fishing. The park hosts several regional and national fishing tournaments, but casting for walleye, perch, white bass, and northern pike is a year-round activity. Fishing services in the park include a bait shop, boat launch, marine gas pump, and fish cleaning station.

Finally, head back to Saint Paul. Half-way back, stop in Grand Forks, ND. They have lovely Japanese Garden you can take a stroll in to stretch your legs. And there are plenty of great options for restaurants to have lunch.

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