North Dakota Road Trip

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Summer is the time of year for the classic road trip.  Whether you pack up the family car, RV, or score a discount car rental, a road trip screams out to get away from the crowds and try something new.  For me, a road trip would be to places that I haven’t been before, so let’s spin the map of the U.S. and see what we can come up with.

How about North Dakota?  It’s a state that I haven’t been to, somewhat obscure in the travel promotion department, and it just seems like the kind of place that would make for a good road trip or family vacation.  Now, what’s there to do or see?

According to North Dakota Tourism, I’ve been missing out on a lot, as the state is Legendary (their tourism slogan).  Here are 10 reasons to take a road trip to North Dakota:

  1. Agriculture – Learn about flowers, farming, spinning wool and and making wool products, and how to run a cold climate winery.
  2. American Indian Studies – Learn about the tribes in North Dakota and how their histories and language differ from one another.  There are some great tours and museums are available.
  3. Art – See the landscapes that have been the inspiration for so many artists, or learn stain glass, glass fusing, or Ukrainian egg painting.  There are lots of ways to be artistically involved, depending on your interests.
  4. Birding – With over 400 species spotted in a single year, it’s no wonder that birding packages to the state are so popular.  Lake Sakakawea, Cross Ranch State Park, and along the Missouri River are just a couple of the hot spots for birding.
  5. Crafts – Needlework, quilting, scrapbooking, spinning, weaving, and more tell the history of this part of the U.S.
  6. Culinary – The diverse immigrant cultures found in North Dakota, as well as a commitment to organic farming, have made the area an interesting culinary experience.  And don’t forget, they have wineries.
  7. Cultural – With large immigrant populations from the Ukraine and Norway, you can get a taste of the exotic side of North Dakota.  Discover how ethnic art, food, and culture thrive on the prairie.
  8. History – Discover and learn about the earth lodges in Mandaree, as well as other living history programs available throughout the state.  There are plenty of forts and historic sites, and don’t pass up the opportunity to learn about how things were done back in the “olden days.”
  9. Paleontology – Long believed to be the playground of prehistoric creatures, there are fossil digs near Marmarth, Rhame, and Medora.
  10. Photography – Beautiful scenery will make this an easy way to spend some time.  Explore on your own or join up with other photographers for a tour.

With all of these ideas, plus the fact that North Dakota is very affordable, means you need to put in your road trip list.  With a goal to eventually get to all 50 states, I know I do!

Have you been to North Dakota?

Photo credit:  Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism

NOTE:  This post was sponsored by USave


Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

2 Responses to “North Dakota Road Trip”

  1. July 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Planning a trip to ND later this summer. It’s one of the 4 states I still have to mark off my list. Thanks for the overview.

    • July 12, 2011 at 7:06 pm #


      It’s one of those that I haven’t gotten to yet, either. I need to do a road trip myself.,

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