North Dakota June 26, 2017
9 Things Longtime North Dakotans Wish They Could Tell Newcomers
North Dakota is one of the fastest growing states out there. Since 2011, it has had the highest percentage of growth out of all of the states. With all these newcomers, some of us old timers wish we could tell them a few things. If you’re a newer resident to the Peace Garden State, here are a few pieces of advice and other pointers about living here. Take them as you will!
1. To start off, you might need to lower the population count of your idea of a big city.
If you're coming from a city with over a million people, or even a state with over a million people, you need to remember that North Dakota's largest city has just over 100,000 residents. It's also important to remember what might be a small town to you could be a fairly sizable city here.
2. You may have heard rumors about never ending winters, but don't discard all of your shorts. Summers get HOT!
Sure, we can have pretty drawn out and cold winters, but we do actually get different seasons here. Summer is certainly a thing and temperatures can get well into the 80s and 90s. To top it, off there is usually some humidity to go with it. If you don't have shorts or a good A/C unit, you'll be sweating all summer.
3. And when it is winter, it's not the snow you should be overly concerned about - it's the wind.
When roads get closed here in winter, it's usually because of low visibility from the wind whipping snow across them. The wind chill is also a major problem. The temperature may have already dipped below zero but the windchill could be another ten or so degrees lower than that. Brrrr!
4. Traffic isn't usually a problem here, but you do have to be on the lookout for animals on the road.
Unlike other places where you have to plan around rush hours to skip standstill traffic, North Dakota has much less crowded roads. They are, however, busy with crossing critters, especially in summer. Deer, raccoons, rabbits, birds, and more. Unless you never leave the city or town you're in, it is highly likely you'll have a few close calls (or direct hits) with these guys.
5. There's a lot more to North Dakota than just Fargo and Medora.
Fargo and Medora are the most visited places by tourists in the entire state, but there is so much more in between those two places. We've got a ton of beautiful state parks, attractions, and towns across all regions.
6. When it comes to the regional foods, don't knock it till you try it.
If you've never heard of some of our favorite foods - knoephla, kuchen, and lefse for example - then you might be a little put off by the unusual names. Trust us, though, once you try them you'll understand why people love them so much. You can skip the lutefisk, though, we know that one is more of an acquired taste.
7. Be prepared for summer storms.
North Dakota's summer storms can be quite the spectacle (and many of us enjoy standing out on the porch to watch them roll in). You do, however, need the know how and what to do when they get nasty. Tornadoes are definitely a known thing here to be prepared for.
8. And if the tornado sirens go off and it's a Wednesday, don't be surprised when no one else bats an eye to them.
It's likely just a test, which usually happens on Wednesdays at noon in most small towns throughout summer. Most people here are so used to them that they barely notice they're going off on that day.
9. You're going to have to deal with out-of-staters asking questions about misconceptions and stereotypes about the state.
"Isn't it winter all the time there?" "Do people live in igloos there?" "Do you live near Mt. Rushmore?" "Does North Dakota even exist?" The list goes on, but these are all questions that have been asked before. Seriously. When they say "Legendary," apparently it means there are lots of urban legends about it!
What other things would you like to say to newcomers to North Dakota?
If you’re the newcomer, here’s a good introduction on things to do and what to see:
North Dakota’s Very Best Day Trips!