Top 10 Best Day Trips from North Dakota

Nguyen Kieu Trang 11 0 Error

The rugged badlands, lush woodland settings, and water-fed natural features of North Dakota provide seemingly endless landscapes to explore. As well as ... read more...

  1. Fort Ransom State Park is surrounded by the scenic landscape of the Sheyenne River Valley. This state park is a popular destination for outdoor recreational activities such as camping and hiking along the trails. During the summer, horseback riding and camping are favorite activities, while cross-country skiing is a popular winter sport. A farmstead within the park is the setting for the annual Sodbuster Days celebration. Other activities such as bird watching and fishing are also available here. The fort hosts yearly Sodbuster days, a celebration featuring pioneer homestead exhibits and homestead life demonstrations.

    Visitors to this park can extend their stay by choosing from a variety of lodging and camping options. You can even rent the historic Bjorne house, which was built in 1879. This home has modern conveniences while still retaining its rustic charm. Yurts with heating and air conditioning are also available for rent. The yurts are close to major trailheads. Guests are required to bring their own bedding and towels. Check-in is at 4 p.m., and check-out is at 12 p.m. Fort Ransom State Park in North Dakota is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors.

    • Google Rating: 4.8/5
    • Admission: Fort Ransom State Park Daily : $5.0, Fort Ransom State Park Annual : $25.0
    • Opening Hours: Daily 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: 5981 Walt Hjelle Pkwy, Fort Ransom, ND 58033

  2. When dreaming of a trip to North Dakota, most people plan a visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is split up into three separate units that include a combined total of over 70,000 acres of land. There are very few places you can see the remains of a prehistoric forest in the way you can see one in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There is a specific trail in the park you can take to see the enormous petrified tree stumps. Petrified trees are created from trees that lived and existed on the land hundreds of thousands of years ago that mineralized into hard rock over time.

    This prairie landscape is full of hundreds of plant types, including trees such as juniper, cottonwood, and elm. There are large swaths of grassland with many types of sagebrush, native grasses, and more. Along with all those plants, there are tons of animals that can be seen in the park as well.

    Bison and wild horses are the two most popular wildlife to view at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but those aren't the only animals that can be seen here. Bighorn sheep, elk, deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs are just a few of the others. There are also hundreds of birds and a handful of reptile species that call this place home. It is the most popular spot to view wildlife in North Dakota!

    The park is known for its uniquely shaped landscape, but it also has unusual formations hiding in it you might not know about: cannonball concretions. These perfectly round, smooth natural rock formations are quite impressive and almost hard to believe, but they exist! They are formed in a very specific way over thousands of years and have been slowly revealed underneath the sediment as natural erosion occurs. You can view them at places like the Cannonball Concretion Pullout in the park.

    • Google Rating: 4.8/5
    • Admission: $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, and $15 per person
    • Opening Hours: Daily
    • Website:
    • Address: 208 Scenic DriveWatford City, ND 58854
  3. Devils Lake was named after its status as North Dakota's largest natural body of water. The Great Spirit, according to Sioux legend, drowned a war party returning across the lake from a forbidden night attack. Following that, the Sioux avoided the lake, naming it Minnewaukan Seche, or "Spirit Waters." Later, white settlers interpreted this as "Lake of the Evil Spirit," which was then shortened to its current name.

    The lake is a large recreation center with two units. The largest, Grahams Island State Park, is located off SR 19. The second unit, located on Black Tiger Bay, serves primarily as a boat launch. Because of its location on a major waterfowl migration flyway, the lake is a popular hunting destination in the fall, and fishing is popular all year.

    Several buildings from the early settlement period can be found in the downtown historic district, including a Gothic Revival-style church made of native fieldstone, an 1885 lodge hall, and the 1906 Burlington Northern Railway depot. The Lake Region Heritage Center is housed in the Federal Building at 502 4th St. N.E., a neoclassic limestone structure with marble trim.

    The Devils Lake area was part of the national Chautauqua movement, which began in 1874. These massive educational and recreational gatherings ended in 1929, but they are remembered from mid-June to mid-September during the North Dakota Chautauqua art shows, plays, classes, and workshops.

    • Google Rating: 4.5/5
    • Admission: Resident – $13, Resident Sr. Rate – $3, Non-Resident – $16, Res. Bus Pass – $16, Non-Res. Bus Pass – $20, Hourly Pass – $5
    • Opening Hours: Daily 6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: 1905 Schwan Ave NW Devils Lake, ND 58301
  4. The magnificent Dickinson Museum Center is one of the must-see destinations for your day trips from the city, offering glimpses of local history and pre-history. It’s a 12-acre complex with four main sections housing themed exhibits: the Badlands Dinosaur Museum, Joachim Regional History Museum, the Pioneer Machinery Hall, and Prairie Outpost Park. The most famous one is the Badlands Dinosaur Museum, beloved for the life-sized dinosaur exhibits dominating the interiors.

    While the displays emphasize the intimidating creatures, the museum also houses minerals, rocks, and other items related to natural history. Inside the Joachim Regional History Museum, you’ll find history exhibits and local artworks, including a Western art gallery and a dollhouse.

    Pioneer Machinery Hall focuses on the agricultural heritage of Stark County, featuring farming implements and equipment used in the bygone eras. The Prairie Outpost Park is not a single building compared to others, composed of several structures that showcase life in Dickinson during its early days. So you’ll find a train depot, a church, a general store, and even European buildings in Dickinson Museum Center.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Admission: $6 Adults ⋅ $5 Seniors (65 and older) ⋅ $4 Children (3-16) · Free for Children 2 and under
    • Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Sun 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: 188 Museum Dr E, Dickinson, ND 58601
  5. Constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park is located in a beautiful wooded valley along the meandering Turtle River. The park features year-round recreational activities, including camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and sledding. Anglers can also practice their fly fishing techniques in the trout-stocked river. The dam is stocked with trout and younger visitors can borrow equipment at the park office.

    Woodland Lodge, with its kitchen and dining hall, is popular for family reunions. Sleeping cabins with bathrooms and bunk beds but no cooking facilities can also be rented by groups or individuals during the summer. The park features 10 miles of trails carved through its forested hills and along the river.

    Specific trails have been established for nature walks and hiking, while mountain bikers will find challenging single tract trails. In the winter, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the park for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. You can try cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Established in 1934, Turtle River State Park was one of a number of new parks built in North Dakota under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal" programs.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.0/5
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Mon 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Tue - Thu 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM, Fri - Sat 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Sun 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: 3084 Park Ave NE, Arvilla, ND 58214
  6. Sullys Hill National Game Preserve, one of the best day trips from North Dakota, is located in Benson County on the south shore of Devils Lake, near the town of Devils Lake. It is one of four refuges managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for American bison and elk, with 1,674 acres of wooded hills and open meadows.

    Sullys Hill has a rich natural and cultural history. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that Sullys Hill was a popular hunting and camping spot for indigenous Indian tribes. The preserve's largest hill is named after General Alfred Sully, who led the expedition into the region in 1867. In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt designated Sullys Hill as a National Park, and in 1917 and 1918, bison, elk, and deer were reintroduced to Sullys Hill, establishing the big game herds. Sullys Hill was transferred from the National Park Service to the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1931.

    Bison, elk, white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, turkeys, waterfowl, and other native wildlife thrive in the wooded, glacial moraine hills and native grasslands. Visitors are welcome to use the nature trail, visitor center, and classrooms all year. The auto tour route is open from 8 a.m. until posted times May through October. Visitors can enjoy two cross country ski trails when snow is present. There is a four-mile driving tour through the park and a small but useful interpretive center can be found at park headquarters.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    • Website: N/A
    • Address: St Michael, ND 58370
  7. There is a rich Scandinavian heritage in North Dakota. You can see a Finnish sauna, a Danish windmill, several statues, and a flag display at this heritage center. A large granite map is located at the entrance to the park with the 5 Scandinavian countries: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

    The best place to start a visit to the park is by touring the Scandinavian Heritage Center. The center is home to a tourist information center as well as a gift shop with a wide range of books and Scandinavian-inspired gifts and souvenirs.

    The displays include items from each country, including a 25-foot Swedish Dala Horse, a replica of a Scandinavian Stave Church, a grass roof Stabbur, and much more. There are memorials to Scandinavian ancestors as well as a flag display that honors each of the countries as well as Canada and the United States.

    The most notable building within the park is the Gol Stave church museum. This is a full-size replica of a Norwegian church, and the intricate details of the building were handcrafted with the help of Wisconsin woodcarvers Philip Odden and Elsa Bigton. If you need a place to sit down outside, head to the Nordic Pavilion. The arts in the park summer concert series is held annually at this pavilion by the local Scandinavian community members.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: 1020 S Broadway, Minot, ND 58701
  8. Lewis and Clark Riverboat is a tour company operated by The Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation. The company offers daily cruises on the Missouri River. Public cruises spend 1-2 hours cruising the river and taking in the sites and sounds of the waterfront.

    The pearl white, authentic steamship is a merry ship that looks like it came straight out of a history book. The ship cruises along the Missouri River, showing passengers the many beautiful sights along the way! Adventure tours are available from May through September, and the ship is also available for private events like weddings, family reunions, and business events. Reservations for public cruises can be made on their website or by calling the company. There are also special cruises available, like the brunch cruise, the sunset cruise, and many more.

    Guests have the option to purchase meals, snacks, and beverages aboard the boat, but outside refreshments are not allowed. There are daily regular trips as well as more elegant and upscale evening dinner cruises. The riverboat is available for private charter and event use. Tours operate seasonally.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.0/5
    • Admission: Adult $14 - $50 and Child $14 - $32 based on your options
    • Opening Hours: Mon - Tue 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Wed - Sun 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: N, 1700 River Rd, Bismarck, ND 58503
  9. The International Peace Garden (IPG), nestled in the Turtle Mountains since 1932, has been one of the continent's most symbolic and scenic attractions for your day trips. Thousands of tourists visit this one-of-a-kind tribute to peace and friendship between the peoples of the United States and Canada.

    The garden spans 2,300 acres of natural beauty, including two pristine freshwater lakes, scenic hiking and driving trails, wildflowers, waterfalls, and a wide range of North American birds and animals. There are both modern and rustic camping options available, as well as facilities for hosting weddings, conventions, and reunions. Last but not least is the magnificent Formal Garden.

    Words cannot express the beauty, pride, and peace that many people feel as they gaze over this impressive garden of more than 155,000 flowers in displays tucked into the terraces and walkways. Throughout the garden, the therapeutic sounds of flowing water can be heard in various capacities. The American and Canadian floral flag displays are the only two floral displays in the garden that remain the same year after year.

    Peace rings in the IPG every inch of its being, it is "Like No Other Place on Earth," a perfect and memorable retreat, where people and nature meet. Children of all ages and abilities will be able to have a hands-on experience in the new Children’s Nature Play Area.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.0/5
    • Admission: Daily Admission Costs $25 or An Annual Membership $40
    • Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: 10939 Highway 281, Dunseith, ND 58329-9445
  10. Located southwest of Medora, this site memorializes the life and activities in North Dakota of Antoine de Vallombrosa, the Marquis de Mores, who arrived in 1883. Among his enterprises were a beef packing plant, a stagecoach line, a freighting company, refrigerated railway cars, cattle, and sheep raising, land ownership, and a new town which he called Medora, in honor of his wife.

    Chateau de Mores is a 26-room, two-story frame building that was built in 1883 as the summer residence of the Marquis's family. The Chateau is now a historic house museum and contains many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the de Mores family.

    The rustic two-story frame frontier house that the de Morèses built does not fit the conventional notion of a French chateau. The exterior walls of milled siding are painted gray with slate-gray trim, and a covered veranda is supported by milled timber posts. The shingled gable roof and window shutters are red. The interior of the house, however, is extravagantly furnished with the decor of the finest materials and genteel comfort.

    Many of the items were imported from Europe and the metropolitan trade centers of the East Coast. The site also frequently hosts temporary exhibits. Additionally, the historic site shows a film to orient and introduce visitors to the site.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Daily 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
    • Website:
    • Address: 3426 Chateau Rd, Medora, ND 58645

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