11 Interesting And Beautiful Places To Visit In North Dakota

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The United States simply feels more wide open in North Dakota. Often overlooked, North Dakota is a hidden gem of adventure, culture, and history worth experiencing for yourself! 

From its sprawling badlands and picturesque plains to its hardy and supportive people, North Dakota has so much to offer the curious traveler ready to explore.

If you’re making plans to see North Dakota, check out our list of 11 interesting and beautiful places to visit before you go! Adventure awaits!

1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Located in far west North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is famous for its beautiful backdrop of rugged badlands and up-close encounters with wildlife. Plus, the area once played a pivotal role in the life of one of the USA’s most famous presidents, Theodore Roosevelt.

Divided into three distinct sections, visitors to this national park will love its scenic drives scoping out the rocky formations of the badlands. Be on the lookout for herds of wild buffalo and wild horses, and if you’re lucky, some sightings of petrified trees. 

Full of adventure and history, you’ll catch an up close and personal glimpse of this unique season in Theodore Roosevelt’s life. He once said he would not have been president if it weren’t for his experiences in North Dakota, and when you go, it’s easy to see why this land made such an impact.

The expansive badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

2. Downtown Fargo – Fargo, ND

While much of the state is rural, you can experience North Dakota’s fun city scene in Fargo, the state’s largest city. When you go, be sure to spend time in Downtown Fargo, especially along Broadway Drive.

Full of lively shops, breweries, and restaurants, it’s a great place to engage the city’s culture. The jaunt is even more fun at night, where you can see the historic Fargo Theatre lit up in its full neon glow. 

A visit to nearby North Dakota State University’s campus is a fascinating excursion as well, where you’ll see firsthand one of college football’s greatest dynasties up close. 

Walking along Broadway in Downtown Fargo

3. International Peace Garden – Dunseith, ND

Often nicknamed the Peace Garden State, North Dakota is famous for its unique landmark on the Canadian border, the International Peace Garden

With one half in the United States and the other half in Canada, you’ll want to make the trek up to the border to experience 2,400 acres of serene and beautiful garden landscapes. 

Founded in 1932, the International Peace Garden was built as a symbol of peace and friendship for nations everywhere. Today, you’ll feel inspired by the garden’s hiking, birding, scenic drives, waterfalls, and over 150,000 flowers on display.

4. Enchanted Highway – Regent, ND

With North Dakota so spread out, you’ll likely spend a lot time on the road while you explore, so why not make it fun? Consider making the detour down the Enchanted Highway, the ultimate roadside attraction. 

Stretching for 32 miles between Interstate 94 and the town of Regent, the Enchanted Highway contains the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures, including the largest verified by the Guinness Book of World Records at 90 feet high. 

Each was sculpted by a local retired school teacher and depicts scenes from life in North Dakota. Get your cameras ready for this offbeat experience!

5. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

North Dakota has a rich Native American history, and many Native Americans still call the state home today. An excellent place to relive this history is Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.

Visitors can immerse themselves in a reconstructed North Plains Indian Village and its distinctive earthlodges. Once there, it’s easy to imagine yourself wandering through a major Native American trade center while stepping back in time a few hundred years.

A fascinating museum onsite allows guests to see artifacts and exhibits featuring the Hidatsa people who lived in the area. In addition, you’ll want to check out the hiking trails along the Upper Missouri River for scenic views and birding opportunities.  

6. Pitchfork Steak Fondue – Medora, ND

One of my favorite experiences in North Dakota, Medora’s Pitchfork Steak Fondue really captures the essence of the state’s culture well. 

Located in the tourist-friendly town of Medora (which is worth exploring as well!), the Pitchfork Steak Fondue is just as it sounds, a chance to eat a fresh steak fondued by—you guessed it, pitchfork—but in a lively outdoor community atmosphere with sweeping views of the badlands!

There’s really nothing better than eating a tasty steak with all your friends (or friends you’ll soon make) in the great outdoors. Be sure to stay for some excellent sunset photos!

Steaks ready to be fondued

7. The “Center” of North America – Rugby, ND

In 1931, the US Geological Survey determined that the geographical center of North America was near Rugby, ND, and the town has embraced it ever since. 

Today, the precise location is up for debate (other towns nearby have staked their claim), yet Rugby continues to draw tourists seeking to say they’ve been to the “center” of North America. During your North Dakota visit, you’ll want to join in on the fun and do this yourself!

Be sure to stop by the famous town monument marking the spot to snap a coveted selfie so everyone knows you’ve been there—and grab a t-shirt, magnet, or other souvenir to take home. 

8. National Buffalo Museum – Jamestown, ND

The one animal that symbolizes North Dakota best is the American bison, AKA buffalo. To properly get to know this state symbol and American icon, you’ll want to make a visit to the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown. 

Here you can experience interactive exhibits that tell the story of the buffalo, its history, and its cultural impact. You’ll also learn about all the efforts to save the buffalo from near extinction and get to see these animals firsthand through the bison herds the museum maintains.

In addition, be sure to visit the nearby World’s Largest Buffalo Monument, a massive 60-ton buffalo statue, to see the magic of this animal on a grand scale. 

North Dakota Buffalo

9. Scandinavian Heritage Park – Minot, ND

Many North Dakotans today have Scandinavian roots from settlers who came to the area within the last 200 years. A great place to experience the Scandinavian heritage and culture of the area is the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot.

The park provides an immersive outdoor museum with life-size exhibits dedicated to the five Scandinavian countries. Visitors can walk inside a replica Norwegian stave church, see a giant Swedish dala horse, admire a Danish windmill, and experience a Finnish sauna. 

10. Medora Musical – Medora, ND

Located in the remote North Dakota badlands near Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the famous Medora Musical in Medora is a theatrical spectacle you won’t want to miss on your North Dakota vacation.

Performed in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater with the badlands as its backdrop, the long-running Medora Musical provides spectacular song and dance entertainment while weaving in the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s time in the state. 

Full of inspiring and patriotic routines, fireworks, action, comedy, and horseback riding, this family-friendly show will stir your excitement and leave you cheering for more after the show ends!

The Medora Musical stage with the badlands in the background

11. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

Along the state’s western border, the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site invites North Dakota visitors to enjoy a unique period in the area’s history—fur trading between Native Americans and European settlers.

Active from 1828 to 1867, Fort Union was the most important trading center in the area and a place of peaceful cooperation. Over 25,000 buffalo robes and other goods were exchanged each year.

When you go today, you’ll want to make time to connect with the living history interpreters to get a real sense of what this once booming place was like, as well as take a scenic hike along the Missouri River Trail. 

Did we miss any of your favorite places in North Dakota?

Let us know in the comments if there are any more places in North Dakota that you would add to our list!

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