Renowned for its Old West history and spectacular, picturesque vistas, North Dakota, though one of the most rural states in the U.S., offers a wide range of things to do. Travel to North Dakota presents numerous opportunities for exciting outdoor adventures. Visitors can explore sweeping landscapes through a variety of activities. Though vast and widespread, this region is anything but desolate. Throughout the pristine regions of North Dakota, unique attractions spot the landscape and make exploration a truly exciting experience for visitors.
Exploring the Badlands, located in the southwest area of the state, is one of the choice things to do in North Dakota. Travel to North Dakota would not be complete without a trip to perhaps the most famous attraction. History abounds in the Badlands, where exquisite rock features carved by ancient rivers create a breathtaking panorama.
Red River Valley
Outdoor enthusiasts relish the abundant opportunities to enjoy North Dakota activities in the beautiful Red River Valley—a nature lover’s paradise. The valley is ideal for watching wildlife, kayaking, hiking, canoeing, and camping, presenting plenty of things to do in North Dakota.
For more than a century, Medora North Dakota has been a favorite family destination. Many families travel to North Dakota to spend their vacations solely in Medora, where the famous Medora Musical, performed at the historic Burning Hills Amphitheater, is a top attraction. Fantastic scenery, outdoor adventures, dining, shopping, and entertainment combine to create a premier tourist destination. Great sights to explore in and around Medora include the southern section of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Maah Daah Hey Trail, Harold Schafer Heritage Center, and Chateau de Mores Historic Site.
History buffs delight in tours of the North Dakota state capitol building and grounds. Guided tours of the state capitol offer insight into this intriguing, Great Depression-era building, also called the Skyscraper on the Prairie. Exploring the parks, statues, trails, and memorials nearby is one of the most popular things to do in North Dakota. The area also encompasses the Liberty Memorial Building, the ND Governor's Residence and the ND State Heritage Center Museum.
The Enchanted Highway was created along a mesmerizing stretch of road through Regent, North Dakota, home of the mastermind behind the incredible, mammoth metal sculptures. The highway is a rare attraction that should not be missed when visiting North Dakota.
Wildlife Refuges and Parks
Created to protect large numbers of animal species, wildlife refuges, and parks in North Dakota are a keen point of interest for those interested in both nature and animals. Home to more wildlife refuges and parks than any state in the U.S., North Dakota has ample opportunities for hiking, photography, and wildlife-watching.
State parks, grasslands, recreation areas, and national parks offer some of the best North Dakota activities in the great outdoors. From moderate to difficult, there are a wide variety of excellent trails to hike, many featuring magnificent scenery, for all levels and ages.
Deserted and desolate, ghost towns are another of the top attractions during travel to North Dakota. These state gems illustrate history at its finest, back when the pioneers’ arrival in North Dakota sparked thriving communities across far-reaching prairies. Old remnants now stand in places where life once flourished, telling fascinating stories of the lives of North Dakota's early settlers.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The massive chunk of land comprising Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of the most impressive examples of the striking natural beauty of the Badlands. Both north and south units include interesting heritage centers, hiking trails, scenic lookouts, campgrounds, and a host of some of the best North Dakota activities.
The Dakota Zoo's history is a long and impressive one built on ambition and love. From its beginnings as a modest farm belonging to two devoted animal-lovers, the Dakota Zoo's humble beginnings led to its being one of the finest zoos in the state, supported and managed solely on momentous fund-raising efforts.