What are the best things to do in Medora, North Dakota? What is good in this small city? Well, this piece strives to explore every part of the city to find out. Stick around to learn more.
Sometimes, life in the big cities can get quite overwhelming. And, the only thing that seems to excite you is a few-days vacation to some cool, remote, not-so-busy place.
But do you have a place in mind? How about we suggest Medora, North Dakota?
This small city, nestled in the Badland hills in the western region of North Dakota, is certainly an excellent place to take that break.
The city is pretty small, with a population of just over 129 people, according to World Population Review. However, it oozes numerous tourist attractions, ensuring that your stay here is fun and relaxing.
If this feels like the place for you, here are some of the fun things to do in Medora to keep your days all lit.
But, ensure you’ve first done your research on the best places or hotels to stay in before starting your trip.
Table of Contents
- Best Things to do in Medora, North Dakota
- 1. A Visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- 2. Medora Musical & Pitchfork Steak Fondue
- 3. Biking
- 4. Enjoy the Rich History
- 5. Go Golfing
- 6. North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame
- 7. Makoshika State Park
- 8. Enjoy Some Delicious Meal
- Where to Stay in Medora, North Dakota
- 1. The Rough Riders Hotel
- 2. Badlands Motel
- 3. AmericInn Lodge & Suites
Best Things to do in Medora, North Dakota
The truth is Medora offers numerous exciting things to do for anyone visiting. But if you are unsure what to do in Medora, here is a list of the best places to explore and activities to do while there.
1. A Visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park
A tour to Medora would never be complete without visiting its most iconic place – Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This is the first place most people visiting Medora, North Dakota, head to.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a unit of the United States National Park Service (NPS), located in three sections of western North Dakota. This national park was named after former US President Theodore Roosevelt, who had a great love for the badlands and was instrumental in their conservation.
As you drive into the park, you’ll see some pretty unique landscapes with beautiful formations that will take your breath away. The best way to experience all that the park has to offer is by embarking on a hike or scenic drive.
For instance, a hike through the Wind Canyon Trail leads you all the way up to the bluff overlooking the Little Missouri River.
As for the wildlife, the park is home to bison, elk, pronghorn, and wild horses. You might also spot some of the more than 185 bird species that live or pass through the park.
The best thing about this park is that it has relatively low traffic. This ensures that you experience all its beauty in peace and quietness.
With all these, visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park should certainly be on the top of your things to do in Medora list.
2. Medora Musical & Pitchfork Steak Fondue
Almost every night in Medora is made special by the Medora Musical. This usually takes place at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre, which can hold up to 3000 people.
The musical is a two-hour, family-friendly show that celebrates the spirit of the Old West. It features live horses, can-can dancers, and some of Medora’s best cowboys and cowgirls. Also, it showcases some of North Dakota’s most beautiful sceneries in the background.
If you’re looking to enjoy some of the region’s best cuisines, then you should attend the Pitchfork Steak Fondue. It is a great outdoor cookout for those who don’t wish to set their own campfire cookout.
During the event, huge slabs of steak are cooked on pitchforks and dipped in 400-degrees hot oil. Your accompaniments will include baked potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans, and salad. And after your meal, you can enjoy a taste of Medora’s world-famous chocolate or mint fudge.
The event is usually held every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from mid-June to early September.
If you are staying for a few days, you certainly should explore Medora’s terrain. And biking is one of the best ways to do this. Whether you are an experienced cyclist or a beginner, you’ll find some great trails to explore.
One of the most popular biking trails is the Maah Daah Hey Trail. This trail is 144 miles long and takes you through some of North Dakota’s most stunning landscapes. The place is simply breathtaking, from beautiful rivers and valleys through the badlands and prairies.
Another great option is the Little Missouri National Grassland. This one is ideal for beginner bikers as it is relatively flat and easy.
However, don’t be fooled by this and think the trail is less scenic. You will still enjoy some of the region’s most stunning outdoors while at it.
The best time to go biking in Medora is late spring to early fall. This is when the weather is ideal, and you’ll avoid the winter snow and mud.
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4. Enjoy the Rich History
Like many other towns and cities, Medora has rich history and heritage. So, if you are interested in learning more about the place, there are several options available.
You could start with a visit to the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site. This is the site of the former summer home of Marquis de Mores. De Mores was a French aristocrat who came to Medora in 1883 with grandiose plans to establish a cattle empire.
The Chateau de Mores is now a museum that tells the story of de Mores and his family. It is one of the most visited historic sites in Medora. And while at it, you can also visit the Marquis de Mores Memorial, a granite monument erected in De Mores’ honor.
Maltese Cross Cabin is also among the best history museums you can visit here. It is the first cabin built by Theodore Roosevelt in the badlands, showing his love for the region and the people. The cabin tells the story of Roosevelt’s time in Medora, North Dakota, and local history.
Lastly, if you are interested in the area’s Native American history, then you should visit the Knife River Indian Villages. This is the site of three former Hidatsa villages, located just 2 hours from Medora.
The Knife River Indian Villages was designated as a national historic site in 1974. It is open all year round, and there is no admission fee.
5. Go Golfing
Do you love golfing? This is another interesting thing you can do in Medora.
For starters, the town is home to the beautiful Bully Pulpit Golf Course. This course has been rated as one of the best public courses in North Dakota.
It is situated in the scenic North Dakota badlands and offers a challenge to even the most experienced golfers. The course is open from mid-May to mid-September.
And it’s not the only course here. The Little Bully Pulpit Mini-golf Course is also a great place for you and your family. It is an 18-holes, Medora-themed mini-golf course that is great for all ages.
Adding these golf courses to your itinerary is a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors and have some fun while in Medora.
6. North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame
This is usually a tribute to the ranchers, cowboys, and rodeo stars that have shaped the history of North Dakota.
The Hall of Fame is located in the heart of Medora, and you’ll undoubtedly find something interesting here. You can learn about the state’s cowboy culture and see some fascinating exhibits. This includes cowboys and Native American clothing, art, and other cultural items.
Established in 1995, the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame helps in preserving North Dakota’s history. It’s also meant to promote the areas’ culture and the cowboy way of life. You’ll learn something about the Native Americans, as well as the rodeo and ranching communities.
If you are visiting Medora, this is a place you wouldn’t want to miss. It gives visitors a real taste of this small city and its colorful heritage.
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7. Makoshika State Park
While it’s not exactly in Medora, this amazing park is just 1 hour 10 minutes away from the city. This means that you can still access the park and go back to Medora for your night stay.
Makokisha State Park is undoubtedly the largest state park in Montana. It covers an area of more than 11,000 acres and is home to some fascinating hiking trails.
The park also boasts of spectacular badlands and dino fossils. In fact, if you’ve wanted to see these ancient animals’ fossils, this is the place.
In 1997 explorers Bob Harmon and Jack Horner discovered the remains of a Thescelosaurus. And you will also get to see the remains of Triceratops.
Also, if you are a birds lover, Makoshika State Park offers you excellent bird watching opportunities. It is home to some of the most amazing birds, including prairie falcons, turkey vultures, and eagles.
Lastly, the small visitors’ office in the park is also worth visiting. You’ll find fascinating displays about the area’s natural history, geology, and some local fossils. Typically, there is no shortage of things to see in Medora.
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8. Enjoy Some Delicious Meal
When it comes to belly matters, Medora has more than enough to offer. The city has some excellent restaurants that serve a variety of foods, taking you back to the areas’ old days.
You’ll find everything American that you’ve longed for. There’s also a good selection of vegetarian options if that’s what you’re looking for.
Some of the best eateries here include;
Boots Bar and Grill
Have you ever tasted an elk or buffalo burger? This is the best place for that. You can also enjoy a delicious ribeye steak, one of the best options for dinner in town.
The Grill is also a great place to enjoy some live music and dance the night away. And the hand-brewed beer from Beaver Creek Brewery is also worth trying.
The Farmhouse Café
This rustic restaurant is another excellent place to have a tasty meal or snack. From the hearty omelets, Croissant French Toast (deep-fried), badlands pizza, and North Dakota sausages, you’ll leave the place yearning for even more.
Therefore, after your long day on the trails or the park, an evening snack at the Farmhouse Café will be worth it.
Theodore’s Dining Room
Theodore’s Dining Room is located in the Rough Riders Hotel and was once home to Teddy Roosevelt and his men. The place oozes history, and you can feel it as soon as you step in.
If you want the authentic taste of the American West, this is where to find just that. Whether it’s the tasty bison steak or a sweet walleye, you have more options than you can imagine.
The Brew is just 40 minutes from Medora, in Dickinson. However, what you get here is worth every minute on the road.
For starters, the Brew is an 1887 church converted into a cafe. Also, the booths here are built from original pews, giving the place a great antique look.
So, as you enjoy the locally inspired sandwiches or the tasty brewed coffee, you’ll certainly be thinking about your next visit here.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in the Midwest
Where to Stay in Medora, North Dakota
Looking at the best things to do in Medora isn’t enough. You also need to explore some of the best places to rest your head. You’ll enjoy staying in one of the following places;
1. The Rough Riders Hotel
As we mentioned earlier, this hotel was once home to Theodore Roosevelt and his men. It is now a national historic landmark that offers excellent accommodation and dining experiences.
The rooms here are comfortable and reasonably priced, making the hotel a great option for budget travelers. If you want to enjoy luxury blended with the old west charm, this is the hotel.
Check-in to the hotel is at 4:00 pm, while checkout clocks at 11:00 am – Mountain Time. There is a fitness center on the first floor, and all other essential amenities are present.
2. Badlands Motel
The Badlands Motel is another excellent accommodation option in Medora. The rooms here are clean and comfortable, perfectly fitted with western-themed furnishings.
You’ll also find an outdoor pool, which is a great place to relax after a long day of exploring the town. Plus, the motel offers excellent views of the beautiful North Dakota landscape.
And to crown it all, this motel is located close to most attractions in Medora, making it easy to explore the city. If you’re traveling with your family, the motel also has some great family rooms.
3. AmericInn Lodge & Suites
The hotel is conveniently located just a few minutes from the Medora Musical. So, if you’re planning to catch a show, this is where you want to stay. It’s also close to two of the main Medora attractions, Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Little Missouri National Grassland.
As for the rooms, they are pretty spacious and come with all the modern amenities. For instance, they come with;
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free Parking
- Fitness Center
- Free Breakfast
You’ll also find an indoor pool and hot tub, which is perfect for relaxing after a long day. Therefore, after enjoying some of the great Medora attractions, your night sleep will be as good.
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