Photo credit to North Dakota Tourism
So you’re coming to North Dakota and you’re looking for what to do and see while you’re here? We’ve mapped out the perfect road trip itinerary to see all of the best spots to stop along the way.
A little bit North Dakota (Fargo), a little bit Minnesota (Moorhead), and a whole lot of good times! With 60+ hotels, 450+ restaurants, and endless things to do, a night in Fargo is a must in this itinerary (although, we may be biased).
Start your visit in Fargo at the Visitors Center where you can get information on all of the fun things to do as well as take a photo with the infamous Woodchipper prop from the movie Fargo. Then head to the Downtown Fargo area where great restaurants, public art, and local shops line Broadway. This is also where the nightlife comes alive.
For more information on what to do in Jamestown, check out Discover Jamestown’s website.
North Dakota’s capital city has no shortage of history. Start your visit here with a trip to the North Dakota Heritage Center (a free museum!) and wander through the galleries to get a better understanding of the history of North Dakota.
Right next door, the capitol building stands as the tallest building in North Dakota, they offer tours every hour on the hour (this is suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19).
Bismarck has much more to offer, check out on their website.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Take a quick (but very historical) trip north on Highway 83 for about 45 minutes to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Here, you can step back in time to learn about Lewis and Clark’s stop in North Dakota. These explorers spent the first winter of their expedition in Fort Mandan, here, you can see a full-scale replica of this fort where they met and befriended Sacagewea and continued on their way through America.
Next, after traveling through the remainder of North Dakota on I-94 with stops at Salem Sue (the world’s largest Holstein Cow) and maybe a trip down the Enchanted Highway, you’ve made it to Medora, ND!
Medora is one of North Dakota’s biggest tourist attractions with the beautiful Theodore Roosevelt National Park within North Dakota’s Badlands (ND’s only National Park), the Medora Musical, and Bully Pulpit golf course. Medora is a great place to stay with a few options for campgrounds as well as hotels.
Check out Medora.com for some more options for things to do in this country-western town.
Watford City & Williston
To see the remainder of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit and the Little Missouri National Grasslands, travel north on Highway 85. These views of the bluffs cannot be beat and you’re sure to see some wildlife along the way.
Once you’ve made it to Watford City, a stop at the Long X Visitor Center should be on your docket! This museum/visitor center not only has information about the area attractions but also has North Dakota’s largest fossil.
Next, we recommend a stop at the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center. Located in Williston where the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers meet, this center tells the story of the confluence of these mighty rivers as well as provides stunning views.
Finally, stop by the Fort Union Trading Post, the most important stop for fur traders on the Upper Missouri River during much of the 1800s. Close by, you’ll also find Fort Buford which is where Sitting Bull surrendered in the 1880s.
While you’re in Minot, don’t miss the opportunity to stop by the Scandinavian Heritage Center where they celebrate the Scandinavian culture that runs deep in North Dakota. The full-scale replica of the Gol Stave Church is open for visitors to tour as well as the Scandinavian Heritage Center and Visitors Center.
For more things to do while you’re in Minot, check out their website.
Cruising along highway 2, you’ll head to Rugby, ND. Sure, Rugby may be a small town, but it has a lot to offer, including Geographical Center of North America! That’s right, you can stop and take your picture in the center of the north American Continent.. if that’s not worth the stop, we don’t know what is!
For more things to do in Rugby, ND, click here!
Known for the largest natural lake in North Dakota, Devils Lake, this small town welcomes thousands of visitors each and every year for outdoor adventures like fishing and hunting.
Must-see spots in Devils Lake include Fort Totten, which outlines the history of the Lake Region pioneers settling in the area in the late 1800s and the White Horse Hill National Game Preserve which has beautiful overlooks of Devils Lake, as well as hiking and nature walks with interpretive stops.
If you’re in the mood for some fishing, Devils Lake is one of the best spots in North Dakota to catch walleye, perch, pike, or bass. Learn more about fishing in Devils Lake and other things to do there on their website.
Grand Forks is known for its nationally competitive University of North Dakota men’s hockey team as well as being “simply grand.” Visit the stunning Ralph Engelstad Arena for a tour, or better yet attend a hockey game if you’re here during the season.
For an outdoor adventure, The Greenway has over 2,000 acres lining the Red River just asking to be discovered. Play some disc golf, let your pup run loose in the dog park, or even hop on a kayak on the river in this park. Downtown Grand Forks is also a great area for some local shopping, restaurants, and of course, nightlife.
Lastly, a trip to Grand Forks wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Red Pepper. This (usually late-night) favorite has the best grinder sandwiches topped with their secret creamy white sauce.
Head South for about an hour and you’re back in Fargo! This trip should take you about 15 hours drive time, but we recommend taking your time and enjoying all that North Dakota has to offer.
Here’s the Google Map overview of the route we have laid out, use it to help you come up with the route that works for you.