With summer winding down, there’s still time to pencil in a weekend trip. Instead of heading east to lakes country we suggest exploring a few of North Dakota’s hot spots. There’s something for everyone here in the Flickertail state, whether you choose an outdoor adventure, scout out museums or historic sights or opt for a night on the town. If you think our state’s boring--you’re doing something wrong.
Medora and Theodore Roosevelt North and South units
Check out the best of the west in Medora. Whether you enjoy primitive campgrounds, a stay in the beautiful roughrider hotel or renting out a quaint cottage there’s plenty of options. With historical attractions such as the Chateau de Mores, Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin or the Cowboy Hall of Fame there are plenty of museums and shops to explore. For the active visitor there are hiking and biking trails aplenty as well as a famously beautiful golf course. There are also guided trail rides within the park. Dining options include the infamous pitchfork fondue, burgers, pizza, or fine dining at the Roughrider hotel. Oh yeah, don’t forget the ice cream or the world renowned Medora Musical.
The Enchanted Highway
Check out the world’s largest salvaged metal sculptures along the Enchanted Highway. The 40 mile stretch of road will take you directly to Regent. While you’re there be sure to check out the Hettinger County Museum, have ice cream at the souvenir shop and pick up some of Gary Greff’s (creator of the Enchanted Highway) handiwork. If you’re looking to stay the night grab a room at the Enchanted Castle and be sure to eat drink and relax. While you’re there you’ll be able to see Greff’s latest work in progress.
Explore the Rendezvous Region and discover the Pembina Gorge
Did you know the Pembina River is the only river in the state of North Dakota with rapids? Grab a kayak and check it out. Be sure to check out hiking, biking, and ATV trails in the area. Music and theatre enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Frostfire Summer Theatre production of “Route 66” while you’re at it. Nestled in the hills and valleys near Walhalla it’s not to be missed. Explore some of North Dakota’s oldest structures and learn a bit about the fur trade and its impact on the state as well as Metis culture. If you’re looking to stay we recommend the Sanctuary Guest House and Eatery in Walhalla. While you’re there be sure to visit Icelandic State Park, drive by the Nekoma Pyramid and check out the local museums along the way!
Nestled in the hills and valleys of the Sheyenne River Valley Fort Ransom is hidden a hop skip and a jump away from Fargo. Explore a combination of Native American and Viking history. Hike, bike, or canoe in the park. Check out the state’s only natural waterfall. You can even rent out a yurt for the evening. If you haven’t packed a picnic be sure to check out The Lunchbox or grab a cocktail at Thor’s. Be sure to venture outside of the village and check out the beautiful campgrounds not only within the park but check out Clausen Springs and Little Yellowstone while you’re in the neighborhood.
German Russian Country
There’s one thing you should know when preparing to visit German Russian country...come hungry and don’t forget to bring a cooler! Steeped in tradition you’ll find some of the state’s best bakeries and butcher shops. There’s a reason the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC)’s latest cookbook “Gutes Essen” made such a splash! Discover the beautiful cathedrals in Hague and Strasburg as well as the historic iron cross cemeteries. Explore McIntosh, Logan, Emmons counties and don’t forget to check out the Welk homestead outside of Strasburg. If you’re lucky you might even catch a polka while you’re in the area!
Whoever dubbed the Missouri River ‘ol misery” must have had their wires crossed. There’s a great river culture around the capitol city. Whether you bring your own boat or opt for a Lewis and Clark Riverboat cruise. Check out areas of historical interest such as Fort Lincoln, On-a-slant Indian Village, and be sure to check out the exhibits at the Heritage Center while you’re at it. Check out the capitol, tour the zoo and while you’re observing the wildlife don’t forget about the nightlife in downtown Bismarck. Check out live music and grab a cold one at Laughing Sun Brewery. There are some great dining options downtown such as Peacock Alley and while you’re there stop into Humpback Sally’s and say hi to former Fargoan Andrew Hardy, Best of the Best mixologist in 2016 as well as Cocktail Showdown victor in 2017.
Visit Jamestown and the surrounding areas
How could the editor leave out her hometown? If you’re up for soaking up some sun, fishing or boating be sure to check out the Jamestown Dam and Pipestem Reservoir. Explore the hiking and biking trails along the pipestem or canoe down the James River. The 1883 courthouse just opened for tours and while you’re in the area be sure to check out the Stutsman County Museum. The Arts Center is hosting live music every Thursday in their brand new Art Park downtown. There’s also weekly stock car racing at the fairgrounds.
One must not forget that Jimtown is also home to the World’s Largest Buffalo, while you’re there be sure to check out the Buffalo Museum and the Frontier Village and Frontier Fort. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path head north on HWY 281 and check out Chase Lake or the Arrowwood refuge for some prime birdwatching and opportunities to see some wildlife off the main drag. Planning to stay? If you’re camping we suggest Parkhurst recreation area or Pelican Point if you’re looking to stay downtown check out the Gladstone Inn which is centrally located downtown—if you’re lucky you might even get the racecar suite.
by HPR Contributor
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