North Dakota is one of the least visited states, and that is truly a shame. We have so many unique and interesting places, many of which can rival those in other states. There is also more in North Dakota than just the popular tourist attractions like Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park or the buffalo museum and Frontier Village in Jamestown. We have plenty of other underrated places that more people should know about and visit, and here are just a few of them:
1. Chahinkapa Zoo - Wahpeton
You wouldn't expect a smaller town zoo to be more impressive than some of the big city zoos out there, but Chahinkapa Zoo goes above and beyond. The beautiful zoo has a variety of native and exotic animals that are loved and adored by the keepers and locals alike, and it shows in their exceptional care. Not only that, but the zoo also has historical significance, and includes a restored, working carousel from a long time ago. Though small, it leaves a lasting impression for everyone who visits!
2. Cross Ranch State Park - Hensler
Visit the only remaining 7 miles along the Missouri River that is still free flowing and undeveloped at this stunning state park. They keep the land as untouched as possible to preserve the natural beauty of the area. It is also connected to the Cross Ranch Nature Preserve, which includes over 5,000 acres of natural land. Plenty of hiking trails, camping and fishing opportunities await you here!
3. The town of Walhalla
With a town motto of the "Heart of the Rendezvous Region," it is true to its name and has been for decades. It is the second oldest town in the state and was where the very first European settlers began to come through, later giving the area the name of the Rendezvous Region. Today, with a population just under 1,000, Walhalla boasts a few awesome places. The Gringas Trading Post is one, which is the oldest still standing trading post in the entire state, and another is the Frost Fire Skiing. Yes, you can ski in North Dakota, and this is the best place to do it! With the rest of its small town charm, this place is a lovely destination for all.
4. Fort Ransom State Park - Fort Ransom
This stunning park lies in the densely-forested rolling hills surrounding the Sheyenne River. The valley around the river is full of unique and beautiful plants and animals, and the river itself is great for canoeing, kayaking, and more. It's gorgeous year round and makes a perfect place to just unwind and immerse yourself in the natural outdoor landscapes of North Dakota.
5. International Peace Garden - Dunseith
The International Peace Garden should be very known, but unfortunately isn't. It has been named the most underrated place in America before, and that rings fairly true. The expansive gardens are meticulously kept in delightful arrangements. The grounds also include many monuments and other features of importance. This place is both significant to our country as well as beautiful, and deserves way more visitors.
6. Plains Art Museum - Fargo
Experience the talents of the Great Plains artists in the unique Plains Art Museum. What used to be a factory for International Harvesters, now turned into a hub of great works of art from both local and regional artists depicting North Dakota in many mediums and styles. This place is full of pieces to be discovered and enjoyed, so if you get a chance to go, do it!
7. Chateau de Mores - Medora
Though the main attractions of Medora are usually the town itself and the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, there are other highlights near it that are equally worth the trip, two of which we are highlighting here. First is Chateau de Mores, the huge 19th century mansion of the man who founded Medora himself and attempted to revolutionize the cattle industry - the Mariques de Mores. He certainly had expensive tastes and you can see that fully by taking a tour through this giant home, perfectly restored and kept in its original state with everything inside. It's a trip back through time and also a hugely important part of history.
8. Sully Creek - Medora
Our next Medora highlight is Sully Creek State Park. While the Teddy R. National Park is the biggest attraction and is indeed impressive in its own way, Sully Creek deserves recognition of its own for the sheer beauty held within it. The buttes of the badlands surround this gorgeous valley and there are tons of opportunities for spotting the wildlife that live within it. Wild horses, bighorn sheep, and bison are just a few of the animals you can see here in their natural habitat.