Planning a road trip in North Dakota? Want ideas of where to visit? Looking for the best North Dakota road trip ideas and places to add to your itinerary?
From awe-inspiring landscapes to quirky roadside attractions and immersive cultural experiences, the carefully curated trips showcase some of the best routes throughout the state.
North Dakota Tourism has compiled a list of 10 Legendary Road Trip experiences that can be enjoyed in the state, with LegendaryRoadTrip launched to help travellers plan epic road trips throughout the state.
“We encourage travelers to follow their curiosity, not the crowds,” said North Dakota Tourism and Marketing Director Sara Otte Coleman.
“With plenty of uncrowded, wide-open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities, North Dakota offers travelers unique road trip experiences filled with new memories that will be appreciated for years to come.”
10 North Dakota Road Trip Ideas
Maah Daah Hey Trail
Designated an EPIC trail by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the Maah Daah Hey Trail will leave you breathless with jagged peaks, and its majestic views of the North Dakota Badlands.
With 144 miles of rugged single-track trail, which traverses all three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Maah Daah Hey is worthy of its own road trip for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Stop in nearby Medora or Watford City to round out your experience on one of the best North Dakota road trip ideas.
Native American Cultural Immersion
Where better to immerse yourself in Native American culture than the former home of Sakakawea (Sacagawea) and see the remains of three Hidatsa villages during a visit to the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. Journey on to be the guest of the three tribes of the Upper Missouri River Valley – the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes – at the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and the new MHA Interpretive Center in New Town.
Dinosaur enthusiasts will love this family-oriented trip to discover the nation’s prehistoric past. Roadtrippers can join the North Dakota Geological Survey on an expert-led paleontology fossil dig to discover dinosaurs, sea creatures, early mammals and more. Then hit the road to enjoy North Dakota’s “Great Eight” dinosaur and fossil attractions and other sites across the state.
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Enjoy the ultimate family getaway at one of North America’s most symbolic and peaceful locations – the beautiful International Peace Garden. Nestled in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota and Manitoba, the park was created as a tribute to peace and friendship between the people of the U.S. and Canada. Don’t miss the stunning landscape driving along the Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway.
North of Normal in Fargo
Fargo, known for being a bit “North of Normal,” bustles with the energy of a vibrant downtown several times its size. Part college town with North Dakota State University and part technology hub, Fargoboasts a burgeoning arts and culture scene. Visitors can fill a multi-day trip with stops to take in the art galleries; browse eclectic boutiques and antique shops; dig in at local restaurants and wash it all down with brews that will have you coming back for more.
Traverse the Trails
Start at the iconic Theodore Roosevelt National Park to fully immerse yourself in the one-of-a-kind terrain that mesmerized our nation’s “conservation president.” Follow up with a visit to the old western town of Medora to catch the outdoor Medora Musical complete with a Pitchfork Steak Fondue dinner on a terrace overlooking the majestic North Dakota Badlands. After Medora, head east along I-94 to explore even more Legendary parks including Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Next, head northbound to the shoreline of Lake Sakakawea at Fort Stevenson State Park.
See the Northern Lights
Experience not only some of the darkest skies in the U.S., but some of the nation’s best views of the spectacular aurora borealis also known as Northern Lights. Camp under the stars at Lake Metigoshe State Park in Bottineau and stop at the Northern Lights Tower and Interpretive Center dedicated to the dancing night skies in Rugby. For more on catching this bucket-list phenomenon during your road trip, check out our Northern Lights Guide.
Fields of Sunflowers
North Dakota raises nearly 40 percent of all sunflowers in the United States so it’s no wonder this off-the-beaten-path destination is home to hundreds of beautiful fields on family farms. The stunning fields of sunflowers reach their peak in early August with thousands of acres in picture-perfect condition. For more on planning your trip to the sunshine-hued fields, check out our guide here.
Golfing Road Trip
North Dakota natives love to golf year-round and with more golf courses per capita than any other state it’s easy to understand why. Grab your clubs for a Legendary golf trip with stops at award-winning courses – The Links of North Dakota, Hawktree Golf Club and, of course, Medora’s Bully Pulpit Golf Course, which is built into the North Dakota Badlands and offers exceptionally stunning views. Want to challenge your putts? Head to Point to Point Park to play a round of mini golf at Little Bully Pulpit.
This Legendary adventure features jumbo Perch, trophy Walleye and monster Pike with one of North Dakota’smost iconic winter adventures – ice fishing. Bundle up and head out on a two-day ice fishing excursion in Devils Lake where crews in North Dakota keep the fish houses on the best bite. Don’t miss the opportunity to team up with Perch Patrol for a guided fishing experience designed to suit your needs.