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What should we see in North Dakota?

Syracuse, New York
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What should we see in North Dakota?

My husband's bucket list is to visit all 50 states and his 'rule' is to stay over night at least 1 night. We usually spend several days in a state visiting "tourist attractions", history museums, and/or national parks. We are active seniors (65 & 72). We may either fly in and rent a car, or do a multi-state road trip.

My questions:

- what time of year should we visit or avoid visiting?

- what are the 'must see' things in your state

I realize this is a very broad question so I thank you in advance for any suggestions.

5 replies to this topic
Rockford, Illinois
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1. Re: What should we see in North Dakota?

Theodore Roosevelt National Park should be at the top of your list! It has some nice scenic drives and you can visit Teddy Roosevelt's cabin.

I would avoid visiting in the winter for sure, due to snowstorms and cold weather.

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Medora, ND
Hudson, Wisconsin
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2. Re: What should we see in North Dakota?

Definitely visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The scenic drives in the north and south units (about 1-1 1/2 hrs apart) both have gorgeous overlooks. Make sure to do the short hike to Wind Canyon in the south unit for arguably the best view in ND. Also, the view of Painted Canyon in the park from the visitor center/rest area off I-94 is gorgeous as well. The main visitor center in Medora has Teddy's cabin.

Also, in the town of Medora just outside the park, there is the famous Pitchfork Fondue and Medora Musical, along with the historic Chateau de Mores State Historic Site.

Anytime from June-early September is ideal for visiting.

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Manhattan, Kansas
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3. Re: What should we see in North Dakota?

I lived in North Dakota for four years and have been almost everywhere in the state. Try to avoid winter, unless you are up for -40 or worse wind chills and the occasional blizzard. If you visit in "spring" be aware that winter can extend from late October well into May. I remember it snowing on my college graduation day in mid-May. Also, be aware that flooding can be a major concern at that time of year and can lead to road and bridge closures.

Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks are good places to start, and they have the widest selection of hotels and shopping. In Bismarck, be sure to check out the newly remodeled Heritage Museum and nearby Fort Abraham Lincoln. Fargo is a bigger city, but there isn't as much to see. The Hjemkomst Museum on the Moorhead, Minnesota side of the Red River is worth a short visit. Check out the stave church. If you are in Grand Forks during hockey season, UND Hockey games are a cultural experience to behold. Be aware that it can be difficult, expensive, or both to find a hotel room in Grand Forks on a Fighting Hawks (still often called "The Sioux") hockey or graduation weekend, or Fargo on a Bison Football or graduation weekend. Make reservations months in advance.

The west is my favorite part of the state, especially Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There are some fantastic hiking trails and driving loops. It is a great place to see wild bison and mustangs. Makoshika State Park just across the border in Montana is fantastic, as well, and provides similar scenery and geology. There are also nearby public BLM lands where you can hunt for fossils that are worth checking out. Medora is a nice place to go for a stroll around town and visit the shops. In the southwest, visit the town of Marmarth. There are fascinating abandoned buildings and a great restaurant, Pastime Club and Steakhouse.

If you plan on going to the International Peace Garden, check with your rental car company if they allow you to bring the vehicle into Canada. Keep in mind that it is quite remote. It would be best to combine it with a road trip into southern Manitoba. Winnipeg is a radical shift from its surroundings and is a culturally vibrant and bustling city that has more in common with San Francisco or Seattle than nearby Grand Forks or Fargo.

There are some unique Cold War relics scattered across North Dakota, including the Pyramid of North Dakota in Nekoma and Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site in Cooperstown. North Dakota was of significant strategic importance during this time, and there is still a large military presence in Grand Forks and Minot.

Realize that most of rural North Dakota has been experiencing population decline for the better part of the last century. There are countless ghost towns to visit. My favorites are Arena and Sims. Arena, in Burleigh County, is located 5-1/2 miles east and 1 mile south of Wing and has a haunting abandoned church, grain elevator, and a few houses. Sims, in Morton County is 5 miles south and 1/2 mile east of exit 123 on I-94, west of Bismarck. It is in a scenic valley. Be sure to drive up to the cemetery on the hill to take a picture of the town site below.

Also, be sure to take into account the remoteness and isolation. People will complain of the remoteness of where I live now in Kansas, but I remind them that most of Kansas is within a 4-5 hour drive of a major city (KC, OKC, Denver). In North Dakota, even the southeast corner is a minimum 4 hour drive from Minneapolis. Be sure to explore a rural area, surrounded by nothing but fields for miles, and take in just how far away from everything you are. It will make you feel very small.

Enjoy your trip!

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4. Re: What should we see in North Dakota?

May-October would be a good time to visit. My favorite place in ND is the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. My favorite city is Bismarck/Mandan - Heritage Center/State Museum, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

Hope that helps.

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5. Re: What should we see in North Dakota?

You can also use this great resource to find North Dakota trip ideas:

ndtourism.com/content/north-dakota-trip-idea…

http://www.ndtourism.com/things-to-do

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