North Dakota Destination Guide
North Dakota Holidays
It may be the least visited state in the union, but that doesn't mean North Dakota is bereft of things to do. In fact, this sparsely populated state is the perfect place in which to enjoy a taste of 'the real America'. From its spacious capital Bismarck to the trendy town of Fargo, its pioneer trails, scenic drives and a seemingly endless array of outdoor activities, North Dakota is anything but an uninspiring destination.
Pressed up against the Canadian border and surrounded by three other similarly sized states, North Dakota is located in the heart of the Great Plains. Marked by undulating hills in the west that gradually give way to vast expanses of prairieland, North Dakota is a state best explored over a matter of days.
Awaken a sense of adventure in...
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Bismarck, along the Missouri River
- Fort Mandan
With its boundless skies and bountiful scenery, it's little wonder many of North Dakota's top attractions are nature-based. So enamoured was the United States' 26th president Theodore Roosevelt with the outdoor lifestyle, he invested in a hunting cabin near Medora. Today, the Maltese Cross Cabin stands proudly in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park – one of the state's most visited attractions.
The Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park south of Mandan was deeded to the state by Roosevelt in 1907, and the park is home to both the On-A-Slant Mandan Indian Village, as well as Historic Fort Lincoln and the reconstructed Custer House.
After undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment, the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck now boasts a world-class collection of North Dakota history, from prehistoric dinosaur skeletons to panoramic murals of Native American life and thousands of artefacts uncovered in the state.
Soak up some state history at...
- the North Dakota Heritage Center
- heritage-listed Fargo Theatre
- the Medora Musical
Eat and Drink
A state that arguably has more in common with Scandinavia than the surrounding Midwest, North Dakota's cuisine is heavily influenced by the waves of migrants who first settled the fertile plains.
Norwegian, Swedish and Danish influences meld with German, Russian and other northern European flavours to create a hearty cuisine aimed at filling stomachs through the fierce North American winter. Popular dishes include crepes, pan-friend dumplings and German-style soups, while Scandinavian-influenced foods such as Norwegian flatbread and dried whitefish are similarly popular.
While restaurants and bars abound throughout the state, regional fairs and local churches are a surprisingly practical place to enjoy some authentic North Dakota cuisine.
Get stuck into...
- an authentic buffalo burger
- some traditional potato dumplings
- a six-pack from Fargo Brewing Company
Where to Stay
Fargo is North Dakota's largest city and a charming one at that. Lying adjacent to the Minnesota border, Fargo offers a quintessential slice of small-town America on the banks of the Red River of the North.
State capital Bismarck is a laidback city on the banks of the Missouri River. It lies opposite the town of Mandan, where the famous Lewis and Clark expedition spent the winter of 1804-05. Both Bismarck and Mandan boast plenty of accommodation options, ranging from modest motels to comfortable 3-star hotels.
For a new kind of holiday experience, why not try a North Dakota farm stay? An increasing number of working ranches and farms are opening their doors to travellers, meaning you too can enjoy life as a ranch hand on a North Dakota holiday.
Exceed your expectations with...
- a night in Fargo's Hotel Donaldson
- the Grand Hotel in Minot
- a farm stay in Parshall
While shopping up a storm may not feature high on the list of popular things to do in North Dakota, there are still plenty of bargains to be found. The West Acres Shopping Centre in Fargo is the largest in the state and features more than 100 brand-name outlets, including Sears, Macy's and JCPenney.
Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the range of sporting goods on offer at Scheels All Sports. Its flagship store in Fargo even includes a 14-metre indoor Ferris Wheel among its unparalleled range of outdoor clothing, hunting gear and sports merchandise. Scheels outlets are also located in Bismarck, Minot and Grand Forks, making it one of North Dakota's most popular shopping outlets.
Be advised that North Dakota's strictly enforced blue laws mean that retailers are not permitted to sell goods and services between midnight and noon on Sundays.
Open your wallet to...
- the department stores of West Acres
- some sports goods from Scheels
- Bismarck's Kirkwood Mall
North Dakota Like a Local
Winter transforms North Dakota into a freezing, snow-bound tundra – so it's no surprise locals make the most of warmer weather when they can. Golf is popular throughout the state, with around 50 courses open to the public.
Hunting and fishing are equally in vogue, with skiing and snowmobiling taking precedence in the cold winter months. Native American pow wows take place right through the year, including the annual United Tribes Pow Wow in state capital Bismarck.
Check out such landmarks as...
- the North Dakota State Capitol
- Regent's 'Enchanted Highway'
- the International Peace Garden