Legendary North Dakota
The footsteps of many legends crossed North Dakota. On this land, Lewis and Clark, Sakakawea, George Custer and Sitting Bull lived out larger-than-life adventures. Trek the same path they traversed years ago: retrace the Corps of Discovery’s expedition as you follow the Lewis & Clark Trail or let your imagination wonder through Theodore Roosevelt National Park like the Park’s bison and wild horses, and look upon the same rugged landscape that inspired the 26th President of the United States. Today, born explorers and fun seekers alike can discover what makes North Dakota legendary. Hike, bike, ride, dine and sight-see across the state, and make your own mark on history.
There’s a common thread running through each of the many cultures in North Dakota – friendliness. In fact, “Dakota” is a Sioux word meaning “friend.” The state is known for its hospitality and cultural variety. Two of the largest events are the United Tribes International Powwow, one of the nation’s largest powwows drawing 1,500 Native American dancers and drummers from 70 tribes across the U.S. and Canada, and Norsk Høstfest, the continent’s largest Scandinavian festival.
From legendary culture to legendary adventure; experience it all.
Put yourself in the picture and travel anywhere in North Dakota to experience fun things to see and do. There’s unique Bonanzaville, or exercise creative muscles at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. Check out the Badlands; Early Americans called it “Hell with the fires put out.” Explorers today call the North Dakota Badlands beautiful, rugged and amazing. Teddy Roosevelt was so impressed he built two ranches in the Badlands and visitors can tour the Maltese Cross Cabin before entering Theodore Roosevelt National Park at Medora. The two Units of the park are near the trailheads of the 100-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail, a horseback riding, hiking and biking trail linking both units of the park. While in Medora, be sure to try the pitchfork steak fondue and nightly Medora Musical.
Follow the Missouri River corridor and the Lewis and Clark Trail through North Dakota. At Bismarck-Mandan, visit Fort Abraham Lincoln, home of the 7th Cavalry when they left for the Little Bighorn and On-A-Slant Indian Village. Other villages in the area include Chief Looking’s Village and Double Ditch Indian Village north of Bismarck. Stop at the State Museum in the North Dakota Heritage Center on the state capitol grounds. At Washburn, tour the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan, and stop at Sakakawea’s home, Knife River Indian Villages at Stanton. Fort Union National Historic Site is on the river along the Montana border.
The 2,300-acre International Peace Garden on the border of the U.S. and Canada symbolizes peace between the two neighbors. During spring and summer, the gardens bloom with thousands of flowers surrounding rolling woodlands, two lakes and hiking and biking trails.
Wherever you go, you’re sure to find satisfying dining, inspiring local and regional arts, exciting events and more.
North Dakota Highlights
Don't leave without tasting...
Juneberry Pie from Lund’s Landing (in the town of Ray); Knoephla soup (chicken and potato soup with dumplings) from Kroll’s Diner (Mandan); Chippers (chocolate-covered potato chips) from Carol Widman’s Candy (Fargo); Lefse (a Scandinavian flat bread made from potatoes) from Freddy’s Lefse (West Fargo).
Put these events on your calendar
- Fargo Marathon (May)
- North Dakota State Fair (July)
- United Tribes International PowWow (September)
- Norsk Hostfest (September).
- North Dakota’s Badlands
- Sunsets anywhere in the state
- Camping under star-filled skies
- Buffalo roaming next to your bike on the Maah Daah Hey.
Top photo opportunities
- White buffalo at the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Enchanted Highway sculptures.
- The wood chipper used in the film Fargo, now on display at the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau
- International Peace Garden.
Want to stay up late?
You’ll want to go to Hodo in Fargo, Toasted Frog in Grand Forks, Peacock Alley in Bismarck, 10 North Main in Minot or Boots in Medora.
Your child will always remember...
Going on stage at the Medora Musical and dancing with Teddy the Bear.
Don't overlook this...
The International Peace Garden in Dunseith.
History happened here
Fort Mandan, where they met their Shoshone guide, Sakakawea. General Custer departed from Fort Abraham Lincoln to look for gold (he found it) in the Black Hills; he was also at Fort Abraham Lincoln before his ill-fated expedition to Little Big Horn. Last but not least, President Theodore Roosevelt came to Medora to find himself after personal tragedy, and he found in himself the man that would lead the country. Their stories are told around the state at many attractions.
Made in the state
- A Touch of Honey, in Linton, uses honey from their apiaries to produce liquid and creamed honey. It also sells body-care products such as lotions and creams, lip balms and shower gels
- Tama Smith’s Prairie Fire Pottery is prized by collectors for its rich glaze colours, reminiscent of the western North Dakota landscape. Tours of the studio and kiln room, located in downtown Beach, are available upon request.
The North Dakota Badlands are best seen from the saddle of a horse, the seat of a mountain bike or by hiking. The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a dirt single-track trail—not open to motor vehicles—that runs through the badlands and parts of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Wooden posts mark the trail and campsites can be found along the way. Wildlife you might see here includes: mule deer, coyotes, golden eagles, prairie falcons, bighorn sheep and elk.
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