NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Summer is finally here and finding new things to do can be a pain.
Even if you’re not leaving the state for a vacation, there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy.
Some things are good for a little weekend, others may require a little bit more time than a weekend, and some are good for even just a day trip.
Visit a Fort
Fort Abraham Lincoln in Mandan
This fort is located in the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, which is the oldest state park in the state. When visiting, you can see the old military fort and On-A-Slant Indian Village from the Mandan tribe. To this day, you can still go to see six reconstructed Earthlodges. The military fort came around about a century after the village and was built on a bluff above the village’s ruins. When you visit the fort now, you can see the reconstructed Commanding Officer’s Quarters, Central Barracks, Granary, Commissary, and Stables.
Fort Stevenson in Garrison
At Fort Stevenson State Park, there are several activities to partake in like fishing, boating, and camping. It’s located on the bluffs of the north shore of Lake Sakakawea. There’s a park museum you can visit to learn about its military past or you can attend the Frontier Military Days event on June 24 and 25 where you can experience what life was like in the 1870s fort.
Fort Totten State Historic Site in Fort Totten
Fort Totten started off as a fort in 1867, then became a boarding school for Indian children in 1890. After the school ended in 1935, it became a Tuberculosis Preventorium for four years. When that program ended, it went back to being a Community and Day School for the Reservation. In 1960, Fort Totten became a North Dakota State Historic Site and the buildings are now used for museum exhibits.
North Dakota State Parks have 43 different options of cabins across the state. You can find full-service cabins, rustic cabins, and simple camping cabins. Cabins can be found in Cross Ranch State Park, Lake Metigoshe State Park, Beaver Lake State Park, Lake Sakakawea State Park, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Fort Stevenson State Park, Grahams Island State Park, and Lewis & Clark State Park.
The Parks and Recreation Department also has a wide variety of camping sites from primitive to modern, some even accommodate large groups or those with horses. Campsites can be found in Cross Ranch State Park, Lake Metigoshe State Park, Beaver Lake State Park, Lake Sakakawea State Park, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Fort Stevenson State Park, Grahams Island State Park, Lewis & Clark State Park, Little Missouri State Park, and Sully Creek State Park.
If you’re looking for something new and different, you could always try sleeping in a yurt. Cross Ranch State Park has four yurts to reserve and Lake Metigoshe has one yurt and dorm-style group housing.
By car or motorcycle, these scenic drives are the key to the state’s best experiences. People are encouraged to get out and explore. Take a drive along any of these roads:
- Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge Scenic Backway
- Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway
- Sakakawea Scenic Byway
- Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway
- Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit
- Turtle Mountain Byway
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit
- Enchanted Highway
- Devils Lake Loop
Byways are paved surfaces while backways are generally gravel and dirt roads.
Fishing is huge in North Dakota, and these six locations are the best spots, according to North Dakota Tourism. Walleye fishing is one of the best but there are other whoppers out there like northern pike, bass, perch, and even catfish.
- The Upper Missouri River
- Lake Sakakawea
- Logan & Mcintosh counties
- Lake Oahe
- Devils Lake
- Lake Metigoshe
North Dakota State Fair
The North Dakota State Fair is probably the biggest event of the entire year that’s held in Minot from July 21-29. There are a ton of vendors and exhibitions and events planned for the week. Here are the popular things that are happening:
- Friday, July 21: Ludacris & T-Pain concert
- Saturday, July 22: Jelly Roll concert
- Sunday, July 23: Eric Church concert
- Monday, July 24: Demolition Derby and Bull & Bronc Riding
- Tuesday, July 25: MHA Indian Horse Relay and Bull & Bronc Riding
- Wednesday, July 26: Rodeo, Joe Nichols concert
- Thursday, July 27: Rodeo, Whiskey Meyers concert
- Friday, July 28: Five Finger Death Punch concert
- Saturday, July 29: Brad Paisley concert
See the Medora Musical
The Medora Musical is a high-energy, country-western variety show. They have special promotions for kids where kids under six are free every Wednesday and Sunday for the entire summer; from July 1-8, kids are free; and new this year, kids will also be free from June 7-21. They also have Veterans Appreciation Day on July 9 for all current and former military members.
Shows start on June 7 and go through September 9 every day except Mondays. You can view that full schedule and admission fees on their website.
Go to the Zoo
The Dakota Zoo in Bismarck first opened its door in 1961 with 15 acres of land. They had 75 mammals and 23 birds. Since then, it has grown to have 90 acres of land with 600 animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Summer hours will be starting on April 29.
The Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot is home to 135 mammals and birds. They offer a summer zoo camp for kids as young as two years old up to eighth grade, the camp is one day at a time starting on June 5 and going through August 1.