Experience the best and most fun things in North Dakota! This unnassuming midwestern state is full of incredible sights and attractions not to overlook!
North Dakota has a wide range of activities and excursions, ranging from museums to roadside attractions, to the stunning scenery of the rural landscape that is the stuff of dreams.
North Dakota has it all for you, and visiting the state means embarking on a tour and travel trip that you won’t soon forget!
Thinking of planning a North Dakota adventure? Check out some North Dakota attractions in this list of the best things to do in North Dakota!
Table of Contents
- List of the best things to do in North Dakota
- 1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- 2. Salem Sue
- 3. Badlands Overlook
- 4. Scandinavian Heritage Park
- 5. The Enchanted Highway
- 6. Sandy – The World’s Largest Sandhill Crane
- 7. World’s Largest Buffalo
- 8. North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum
- 9. Fort Totten State Historic Site
- 10. Fargo Air Museum
List of the best things to do in North Dakota
1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Address: North Dakota, United States
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Exploring the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is among the best things to do in North Dakota, for the park offers an array of exciting and engaging outdoor adventures and savage, frontier beauty.
The breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring outdoor recreation options are just a few of the highlights of the park.
You can tour the park at any time of day or night throughout the year, though the visitor center operations may vary based on the season.
Campgrounds, on the other hand, are open throughout the year. There are also periodic road closures due to snow and ice during the winter months.
There are no restaurants or motels in the park, but food and housing can be found in the surrounding settlements nearby.
You are good to take your pet pooch to the national park if it remains on a leash and does not venture off the paths.
The fun things to do in the national park are family-friendly activities such as the Junior Ranger Program, hiking, horseback riding and other ranger-type activities.
You can also behold the overlooking views of Badlands from the Visitor Center of Painted Canyon; check out Teddy Roosevelt’s Maltese Cross Ranch Cabin and 36-mile Scenic Loop Drive.
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2. Salem Sue
Address: New Salem, ND 58563, United States
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Salem Sue is a gigantic Holstein cow statue in the charming town of New Salem, North Dakota. The sculpture of Salem Sue was constructed in 1974 to honor the dairy industry.
The old girl cost approximately $40,000, funded by contributions from local farmers and citizens and sponsored by The New Salem Lions Club.
The sculpture is recognized as the World’s Largest Cow, and it is New Salem’s pride. It has become a famous landmark in town and a popular destination for travelers throughout North Dakota.
The fiberglass cow sculpture is visible for miles and large enough to amaze even next door neighbor Paul Bunyan! Sue sits 38 feet in height and 50 feet in length atop the School Hill on the outskirts of New Salem.
Regarding big animal statues, Salem Sue exceeds in height and weight Pettibone’s bull, Bottineau’s turtle, and Dunseith’s turtle.
To check out the towering cow sculpture is among the best thing to do in North Dakota.
You won’t just be astounded with the Cow’s vastness but you’ll also be presented with picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.
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3. Badlands Overlook
Address: Medora, ND 58645, United States
Rating: 4.9 out of 5
If you’re seeking a scenic destination to visit, Badlands Overlook is the perfect location for you to visit. It provides the opportunity to take in spectacular views of the landscape. Badlands Overlook is located in the fascinating town of Medora, in the state of North Dakota.
The Badlands Wall, an erosional structure that extends from near the village of Kadoka on the eastern side to the Wall on the west located in the eastern region of the Badlands, is among the most specular views in the state.
This magnificent scenic area in North Dakota is a very popular tourist destination. Additionally, Theodore Roosevelt National Park provides a view of the Badlands.
On clear days in the site, the Eagle Nest Butte can be seen on the southeast horizon, adjacent to Wanblee, South Dakota.
This is another great destination in North Dakota to view the harsh charm that characterizes much of the state.
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Address: 1020 S Broadway, Minot, ND 58701, United States
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Scandinavian Heritage Park is a unique park in Minot’s Upper Brooklyn district in North Dakota and is open to the public.
If you are interested in uncovering fun and engaging outdoor leisure, this park is the ideal destination to blow off some steam.
The park’s unique attractions included the Gol Stave Church Museum, a Finnish sauna, and a Danish windmill.
There are monuments copied from each of the five Scandinavian and Nordic countries, namely Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Swede, and the park is the first outdoor museum in the world to do so.
Other attractions include a Norwegian log house about 240 years old and a copy of stabbur, a Swedish Dala horse about 27 feet tall.
For those looking for a taste of Northern Europe, outdoor activities, a mini getaway holiday with the family, the park also has a picnic shelter, hiking trails, and gift stores where they can pick up themed gifts.
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5. The Enchanted Highway
Address: 607 Main St, Regent, ND 58650, United States
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Enchanted Highway is a series of the world’s biggest scrap metal statues, and it is located in the town of Regent, North Dakota.
32 miles of two-lane roadway from Gladstone to Regent were set aside for a collection of unique, scrap metal sculptures, spaced at regular intervals.
Take a trip down the Enchanted Highway to peek at classic roadside artworks, which among the one-of-a-kind things to do in North Dakota.
Driving the highway is a travel adventure not to miss, for it provides scenic landscapes as well as the art. Best of all the road leads you to the Enchanted Castle, which is one of the most popular and fascinating attractions in Regent.
Notable sculptures to see on the way on the Enchanted Highway are World’s Largest Tin Family, Geese in Flight, Deer Crossing, Teddy Rides Again, The Fisherman’s Dream, Grasshoppers in the Field, and Pheasants on the Prairie – each a metal masterpiece!
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6. Sandy – The World’s Largest Sandhill Crane
Address: 255, 299 5th St NE, Steele, ND 58482, United States
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
North Dakota has an almost limitless number of roadside attractions, particularly along Interstate 94, surely designed to entice unsuspecting motorists to pull over and snap a few photos! One such attraction is Sandy, the world’s most giant sandhill crane, the world’s largest bird of prey.
This lanky rolled steel Sandhill Crane is the tallest crane in the world. The sculpture is one of Steele’s most well-known and often visited attractions.
The sculpture stands around 40 feet tall, weighing approximately 4.5 tons. It was constructed between 1998 and 1999 by James Miller, a self-taught ironworker. Not bad work James, not bad at all!
The Sandhill Crane has some significance in North Dakota, and may be found in North Dakota’s wetlands, farms, and plains.
If you’re taking a road trip through North Dakota, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Sandy and snap photographs with Sandy.
Ok, world’s largest cow? Check. World’s largest sandhill crane? Check. World’s largest…?
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7. World’s Largest Buffalo
Address: 404 Louis Lamour Ln, Jamestown, ND 58401, United States
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
…Buffalo! Well, bison.
What’s the difference between a buffalo and a bison? Well, you can’t wash your hands in a buffalo.
Did you know there are no buffalo native to North America? That means Buffalo Bill slew the grand total of zero buffalo during his career; American Bison on the other hand…
Among North Dakota’s is rich bevy of spectacular natural beauty and gigantic sculptures, is the World’s Largest Buffalo, which is located in the state’s capital…and despite the name, is a bison.
At the Frontier Village in the old town of Jamestown, North Dakota, there is an enormous artwork depicting an American Bison that is easily the most notable sight in the town.
The World’s Largest Buffalo (bison) sculpture can be seen from Interstate 94, which runs over the James River valley and provides a panoramic view of the city. See what I mean about I-94?
The Buffalo (Bison) is about 26 feet in height, and it weighs approximately 60 tons and was created by artist Elmer Petersen in 1959.
The World’s Largest Buffalo (*sigh* Bison) is also known locally as Dakota Thunder, which is about the coolest nickname ever nicked. A visit to this hefty artwork is a must for people interested in these noble beasts, because it is also close to the National Buffalo Museum and Frontier Village, making it an excellent stopover.
Did I mention it was a bison?
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8. North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum
Address: 612 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND 58505, United States
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
The North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum is a fascinating museum that serves as North Dakota’s official history museum, found in the charming city of Bismarck, North Dakota. It is also recognized as the largest museum in the state.
The museum contains four museum exhibits that trace the state’s long heritage from its oldest geologic development 600 million years ago to the present day.
There’s a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton on display at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum which is definitely one of the most impressive displays to see. There are also displays of Mars mission spacesuits and other displays that are more historically oriented.
The museum’s tractor cab simulator, which you can use to get a personal experience of farming, and the world’s largest gigantic fossil of a squid are two of the highlights to look forward to in the museum.
In addition to the exhibits, the museum has a gift shop and café where visitors can purchase souvenirs and refuel before or after visiting the exhibits.
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9. Fort Totten State Historic Site
Address: 417 Calvary Cir, Fort Totten, ND 58335, United States
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Fort Totten State Historic Site, situated in Fort Totten in North Dakota, is one of the best-preserved border military installations in the United States.
Although the fort was constructed between 1868 and 1873 as a military base, it spent most of its time as a boarding school for Native Americans.
Fort Totten is a widely regarded, well-preserved base with 16 of its original structures still surviving. These structures served as officers’ headquarters, dormitories, and more. Also, the historic site includes a museum that is housed in the historic hospital building.
The fort was built on the southeastern bank of Devil’s Lake to defend the Totten Trail and the road that ran throughout Dakota Territory. Moreover, the fort was responsible for controlling and protecting the Indian Reservation in Totten.
The structures were used as a health care institution and Native American boarding school until 1959. For historical purposes, the Bureau of Indian Affairs handled most of the fort site to the state. In 1971, the landmark was added to the National Register of Historic Sites.
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10. Fargo Air Museum
Address: 1609 19th Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102, United States
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Whether or not you’re an aircraft enthusiast, visiting the Fargo Air Museum is one of the best things to do in North Dakota. It is a fascinating museum located in the northern portion of Fargo, near Hector International Airport.
The aviation museum houses numerous vintage aircraft, 90 percent of which are still in airworthy condition thanks to dedicated, expert restoration, and maintenance.
The aircraft on display, range from vintage to contemporary. You can see the Wright Brothers’ Flyer exhibit, which was the world’s first successfully powered aircraft.
There are military aircraft from the history of the North Dakota Flying Aces and the Air National Guard, and has exhibits on cloud manipulation and agricultural aviation.
Besides being a family-friendly attraction, the museum also welcomes visitors with dogs and cats!
As you take a stroll through the museum’s displays, you can choose to explore on your own with the assistance of an audio guide or to tour the Fargo Air Museum with a tour guide.