North Dakota’s vast size holds countless places to bring out the explorer in you. From the expansive prairie fields and farmlands, to the forests and rivers, the jagged badlands, the small towns, and the busy cities, there is just so many places to check out and experience for yourself and maybe discover a thing or two at. The following 10 places should be at the top of your list; they’re right there waiting for you to explore!
1. Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge
North America's largest pelican migratory and breeding grounds are located in the heart of North Dakota on Chase Lake, which is protected as a national wildlife refuge. The gorgeous lake is a great place to see pelicans as well as many other types of birds that also call the place home. It is a one of a kind experience you won't find anywhere else, and there is so much to see and explore.
2. Petrified Forest
Looks sort of like a rock, right? Not so much - this is petrified wood, North Dakota's state fossil. Thousands of years ago, this was the base of a massive tree that grew in the land we now call North Dakota. Over time and in the right conditions, many of the trees solidified into what you see here. The petrified forest has trails through it you can explore and discover the fascinating history of the region, like a literal forest trapped in time (and minerals).
3. Dakota Zoo
The Dakota Zoo in Bismarck is one of North Dakota's best zoos. Over 600 animals are kept there, including this tiger. The beautiful grounds and location make it the perfect place to stop by for an afternoon and see everything it has to offer.
4. Turtle River State Park
This forested valley located around Turtle River is loaded with sights, wildlife, and plenty of trails. It's beautiful no matter the season and open year round. Fishing here is great, so if you go, consider bringing some gear and enjoying the water and sunshine.
5. Downtown Fargo
If you like urban exploration, just want to see the sights, or shop around, then the heart of downtown Fargo is the place for you. Many small shops you wouldn't find anywhere else are located there, plus tons of local history and historical buildings like the Fargo Theater shown here. There are plenty of hidden gems to find and you'll have no trouble staying busy. Boredom doesn't exist here!
6. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
This is by far North Dakota's top tourist destination and for a good reason. Both the North Unit and South Unit are just loaded with amazing natural wonders to explore. This one will take more than one day to fully experience and it is totally worth every minute. This should be on everyone's North Dakota bucket list.
7. Lewis and Clark State Park
One of the best ways to experience North Dakota's largest body of water is through this state park. Breathtaking and jagged buttes surround the massive lake. There is a ton of things to explore, and awesome stuff to do around or on the water. Make this one of your top summer destinations!
8. Valley City
The City of Bridges is great for bridge enthusiasts and non-bridge enthusiasts alike. There is a lot to see and plenty of beautiful views of the river that winds through the city. It's a perfect stop for any trip.
9. Chateau des Mores
Dive into the history of North Dakota's top tourist town and its founders at this historic house. The view around it is spectacular; distant canyons of the badlands and hills surround it. The interior of the house itself is also amazing and there is so much to see and learn about.
10. Audubon National Wildlife Refuge
Audubon is great for bird watchers, nature lovers, or anyone, really. The prairie fields, wetlands, and the lake that the refuge encompasses are just packed with wildlife to see. The perfect way to experience North Dakota's outdoors is right here.
How many of these places have you been to yourself? Have any stories or pictures to share?