The Getaway
Get the Most Out of Your North Dakota Adventure

North Dakota is one of the least populated states in the U.S., and travelers will find much of it dominated by agriculture and ranch land. Nicknamed the 'Flickertail State' because of the abundance of flickertail ground squirrels that make the prairies their home, North Dakota has a rich history and many of the things to do and see are a part of this history. In spite of the smaller population, there are still great places to explore and beautiful scenery to enjoy. Take a trip down the Missouri River on an old steamboat, stroll through the petrified forest, or visit one of the many national and state parks to fill a fun day with adventure in the wild west.


01 Hike the Maah Daah Hey Trail

Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just looking for an afternoon adventure, Maah Daah Hey Trail provides visitors with breathtaking scenery and unique terrain. Nine trails of varying difficulty and ranging from 0.3 miles to 144 miles give hikers a chance to travel across grassy plateaus, steep clay badlands, and river bottoms. Mule and whitetail deer, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and occasional bison wander freely, and birdwatchers may see the odd golden eagle or red tail hawk. There are water caches along the trail and eleven campgrounds where backpackers can enjoy the night sounds.

Maah Daah Hey trail rocky terrain Paul Schmidt / Getty Images

02 Get Down with the Dinosaurs at Dickinson Museum Center

Dickinson Museum center features four segments, the most popular being the Badlands Dinosaur Museum. At the largest dinosaur museum in the state, evolving exhibits allow visitors to study tyrannosaur and stegosaurus bones or enjoy hands-on science exhibits. The Center also features the Joachim Regional History Museum, which details the history of North Dakota, a Pioneer Machinery Hall with exhibits depicting early ranching and agriculture in the state, and Prairie Outpost Park, a 12-acre historic village.

tyrannosaurus rex oversnap / Getty Images

03 Drive The Enchanted Highway

"Geese in Flight" holds a place in the Guinness World Book of Records as the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. It's just one of six large sculptures that line the 32-mile stretch of highway between Fargo and Regent. At the end of the journey, stop for a beer in the medieval tavern. The spot is owned by the artist and located in the Enchanted Castle in Regent.

Geese in flight sculpture russellstreet / Visual Hunt

04 Smell the Roses at International Peace Garden

The International Peace Garden is more than just a floral garden built with the mission of fostering peace between nations. Nestled in the Turtle Mountains, this park provides acres of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and camping sites. Wander the grounds and discover the sunken garden, floral clock, carillon bell tower, peace chapel, and historic lodge, or visit the beautiful conservatory and interpretive center. This tranquil setting is a resource for education, conservation, and entertainment and events.

International Peace Garden north dakota KarenMassier / Getty Images

05 Take in the Medora Musical

In the summertime, the small town of Medora plays host to the Medora Musical. This wild west salute to Theodore Roosevelt takes place at the Burning Hills Amphitheater just outside of town. The professionally directed musical gala, starring talented singers and dancers from across the country, includes nationally lauded comedy and variety acts, live horses on stage, and a gospel tribute to the country's 26th president. End the evening at a Pitchfork Fondue, where chefs fondue steaks on pitchforks — a truly unique American experience.

medora musical north dakota Traveloscopy / Visual Hunt

06 Tour Bonanzaville

Featuring a museum and a Pioneer Village, Bonanzaville takes visitors back to the days of the early settlers. The museum features a variety of exhibits such as Company B Rides Free, about the first state voluntary infantry; We Want to Vote, which examines 100 years of women's suffrage in America. Pioneer Village, made up of 43 historic buildings from the late 1800s — including Fargo's first farm, built in 1869 — introduces guests to how early settlers lived and the challenges they faced. Tour a blacksmith's shop, creamery, courthouse, and a replica of the log cabins in which many pioneers lived. It's rumored that some of the buildings are haunted, and tours are organized around Halloween each year to check out these spooky spots.  

Bonanzaville old fashioned shop Fargo-Moorhead CVB / Visual Hunt

07 Visit the Dakota Zoo

Visitors to the Dakota Zoo can see endangered species like the white Bengal tiger, bald eagle, and cotton-top tamarin. The zoo also runs a Raptor Rehabilitation Progam where injured raptors are assessed, rehabilitated, and returned to the wild. The zoo runs yearly events like Brew at the Zoo, which features beers from local distributors, wine tasting evenings, and Wednesday night specials such as dance troupes and guest speakers.

Raptor Rehabilitation Center North Dakota jdg32373 / Visual Hunt

08 Visit an earth lodge at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Knife River flint was mined for over 11,000 years in this area and helped turn Knife River into a hub of business and complex trade for many American tribes. Archaeological findings along the river have helped preserve a rich historic and prehistoric past. The Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site features a visitor center, museum, and full-sized Hidatsa earth lodge. Join a guided ranger program or just hike or cross country ski along the 12 miles of trails to the remains of three village sites.

Knife river indian villages minnemom / Visual Hunt

09 Explore art at the Plains Art Museum

The Plains Art Museum offers visitors an opportunity to view exhibitions featuring art of the 20th and 21st centuries. It also has a permanent collection of over 4,000 works by national and international artists. The museum provides classes, lectures, performances, and screenings. The museum works to integrate native artists into their programs, foster community, and promote a better understanding of indigenous art.

plains art museum fargo Fargo-Moorhead CVB / Visual Hunt

Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.