Statistically, North Dakota has ranked as one of the least visited states year after year. That’s only because people don’t know about all the amazing things here! Many times, people who have the goal of visiting every state tend to visit our state last, but we know that they’re just saving the very best for last – and they find that out when they finally visit, too.
We have so many great places that the rest of the world still doesn’t know about. They might be obvious to us, but to everyone else, they are hidden gems. Here are the 10 of the best:
1. Icelandic State Park
Believe it or not, this picture of a lush green forest isn't from a state like Washington. North Dakota has been called one of the most "treeless" states before, but the Icelandic State Park says otherwise - and you can see the proof here.
2. Fort Abercrombie
As far as historic forts go, North Dakota has quite a few. Fort Abercrombie (in Abercrombie, ND, of course) is one of them, and it is quite unique and fascinating.
3. Downtown Fargo
Our city scene isn't usually in the spot light, but the downtown areas of Fargo could rival even the biggest cities on the east coast in unique shops, theater, restaurants, and hotels like the HoDo. It's all of the thriving urban feel while only being a short drive out of it to the open fields and farms.
4. On-a-Slant Village
North Dakota has a rich Native American heritage, and the On-a-Slant Village in Mandan is a great way to learn and experience it up close. These lodges built into the earth along the beautiful Missouri River are a perfect view into this history of the area.
5. Sheyenne River Valley
The Sheyenne River creates a stunning natural surrounding area that includes places like the Sheyenne National Forest, Fort Ransom State Park, and goes through places like Valley City, and resulted in the city being named the "City of Bridges" due to all the bridges made crossing it.
6. Lawrence Welk Birthplace
Not many people know that one of the biggest show hosts from the 20th century was from North Dakota, and you can visit his birthplace today. Located near Strasburg, ND, this charming homestead was where Lawrence Welk, famed for the Lawrence Welk Show, began his life.
7. International Peace Gardens
This seems like a no-brainer to most of us North Dakotans. It is, after all, our state nickname. But not many people actually remember this place is here, and it is considered one of the most underrated attractions. Both important for its symbolic nature and just simply beautiful, this huge garden is a great stop.
8. Lewis & Clark Riverboat
When people think of states popular for their riverboats, North Dakota probably doesn't come to mind. We do have a riverboat - named after the famous explorers who, by the way, spent more time in our state than anywhere else during their travels - and it takes daily excursions onto the Missouri River near the capital city Bismarck. Not only can you take a lovely afternoon ride on it, you can even have a wedding or event on it. Now THAT would be a memorable wedding!
9. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
North Dakota's only national park is also one of the least visited national parks in the entire country, and that's a shame! The unusual landscapes here are absolutely breathtaking to behold.
10. Little Missouri National Grassland
The badlands extends past the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. One of the best ways to experience the natural prairies and rolling hills of North Dakota is to take a drive through the Little Missouri National Grassland. It is a true testament to the state's original landscape.
Which one is your favorite? Have any others you would include on the list? I personally love the Icelandic State Park myself. Did you know there is a unique nature preserve that is part of it?
You can read more about it here.