This post has been sponsored by North Dakota Tourism, but, of course, all words and opinions are my own.
When you think of North Dakota, you probably think of Fargo and maybe Teddy Roosevelt. But did you know that North Dakota is home to some of the best biking, hiking, fishing, and boating in the country?
It’s true that the state is the least visited in the U.S., but it also may be the most underrated. Here’s a list of ten awesome things to do in North Dakota. And bonus, as the least visited state, you probably won’t have to fight tourists and crowds on your adventures.
Trek to the top of Crow Flies High just west of New Town, and see the same view that William Clark saw when looking out for Meriwether Lewis. At 2,086 feet above sea level, onlookers will have a postcard-like view of Lake Sakakawea, the Four Bears Bridge and when the tides are low, the ruins of Sanish (the old town was flooded after the completion of the Garrison Dam). While there are no defined trails on Crow Flies High, hiking to the top is very easy, as the terrain is mostly grass.
Located near Bismarck, Hawktree is an 18 round links-style design golf course. The course utilizes the natural terrain and native grasses in its design, providing breathtaking views at every hole. Hawktree is open to the public and boasts a wonderful restaurant so you can relax and enjoy a meal after the round.
Located in the southwestern part of the state, the Enchanted Highway features a collection of the world’s largest scrap metal structures. Each larger-than-life structure has a car pull-out and some have picnic areas. The highway, conceived by artist Gary Greff, stretches 32 miles between the towns of Gladstone and Regent. And if you’re wanting the full Enchanted Highway experience, stay for a night at The Enchanted Castle in Regent.
Located in the heart of North Dakota’s badlands, the Maah Daah Hey Trail at Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a hidden gem and a biker’s dream. Biking through the park is a great way to see all the park has to offer. In addition to the trail, all paved roads in the park are open to bicycles, and there are many pull-outs for bikers to stop, rest, and enjoy the sights of the Badlands (but watch out for bison!). Dakota Cyclery in Medora is a great starting off point and also provides tours and bicycle rentals.
Covering over 200,000 acres, Devils Lake is the largest natural body of water in North Dakota. High populations of Walleye, White Bass, Northern Pike (sometimes as large as 2 feet!) and Perch can all be found in Devils Lake. The lake also provides excellent winter ice fishing and there are many guides nearby to give you the best fishing adventure.
Paddling down the free-flowing Missouri River is a great way to spend the day. Paddle from town to town, bird watch, enjoy the sun and stop at one of the many landings or sandbars for a picnic lunch. However, the river can be swift at times so caution must be exercised. Many local companies also offer guided paddle tours for all levels.
The field (formally known as “The Nest”) is located on the campus of North Dakota State University and is home to both the North Dakota State Bison and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. Taking in a game is a great way to spend the day (especially on a sunny day) and tickets, food and drinks are reasonably priced (compared to big league parks). Plus, the atmosphere is unbeatable and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Also, while you’re there, check out “Big Bruce,” the world’s largest baseball bat.
Many cities and towns in North Dakota host a weekly farmers market. This is an excellent way to meet the growers, learn about local foods and prices are more competitive without the “middle man.” See the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association for more info on dates and locations of farmers markets.
Learn more about North Dakota’s Scandinavian heritage with replicas from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Here you can tour a Stave church, a grass roof Stabbur and a 25 foot tall Dala Horse! The park is free to tour and the grass offers a perfect setting for a picnic.
10. Hike White Butte
At 3,506 feet above sea level, White Butte is the highest point in North Dakota and the 30th highest summit in the United States. The hike itself is fairly easy and is about a two-hour round trip. White Butte is actually on private property owned by the Dennis family and there is a donation box at the trail head to help with the upkeep of the trail. Hikes on the private land can be arranged by calling the Dennis family at 1-701-879-6310.
Traveling to North Dakota
Getting to North Dakota is very easy. North Dakota is served by five international airports (Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, and Williston). There are also eight Amtrak stations in North Dakota. And if you’re into road trips, North Dakota is easily accessible by freeway.