Summer is coming and for us, that’s family travel season. In our family, one of our travel goals is seeing as much of the United States as we can. My daughter has been to 28 states and we are eager to make it to more states. One of those on the top of our list is North Dakota.
“What is there to do in North Dakota?” my teen asked when we were talking about possible destinations.
Turns out that there is a lot to do there! There is something in North Dakota for everyone.
Do your kids love adventure activities?
Summer in North Dakota is particularly well suited for tweens and teens who love being active in the great outdoors. From mountain biking to hiking. There’s also kayaking and canoeing. Don’t forget about horseback riding. Some kids love the fossil digs, which is a unique hands-on opportunity.
Your whole family can have a ball doing a favorite activity or trying out something new.
If adventure in the water is more your kids’ speed, consider the fun waterparks. Check out Raging Rivers in Mandan or Davies Waterpark in Fargo. There are also several hotels with large indoor waterparks and recreation centers with awesome features like Flow Riders. (Fear not, parents, there are lazy rivers, too!)
Do your children love animals?
There are more wildlife refuges here than any other state. There are also four zoos. You may not think that you’d find penguins in North Dakota in July, but it’s possible! From antelope to zebras, and yes, penguins, you’ll enjoy a wild and beautiful menagerie of animals in North Dakota’s zoos, including the Dakota Zoo, which 600 animals including mountain lions, moose, grizzly bears and river otters, call home.
Another must-see is the National Buffalo Museum with live herd with albino bison. I bet no one else is Instagramming that!
Is your tween or teen a history buff?
North Dakota has tons of history to explore.
At the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, visitors learn about the state’s agrarian history and military history. However, it is probably best known for its collection of Plains Indians artifacts, which is second only to the Smithsonian’s.
The Fort Buford State Historic Site is a military post at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. It was a supply depot for the U.S. Army during the Indian wars. It was the site of Sitting Bull’s surrender in July 1881. He was imprisoned here, as was Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe.
Fort Mandan is also worth a stop and is significant because it was where Sakakawea met Lewis & Clark in 1804. Now, the site is home to an interpretive center and museum dedicated to preserving the culture of the Plains Indians.
Another option is the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site in Medora and take a tour of this 26-room home built in 1883 by the town’s founder. (And your kids thought cleaning their home was a big task!)
If you’re in the northeastern corner of the state, head to the Pembina State Museum. You’ll find exhibits that highlight specific topics in the state’s history. You can also get a stunning view of the Red River Valley from the top of an observation tower.
Have an aviation aficionado?
Your family can visit the Minot Air Force Base, home to the 5th Bomb Wing. Advance reservations are available for step-on guides, so plan ahead. Drive-on tours are also available.
Then fly on over to the Fargo Air Museum, where you’ll find historic flyable airplanes, including P-51 Mustang, Duggy – “Smile in the Sky” airplane, L Birds, Wright Flyer replica and more.
Don’t forget the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, which offers an inspiring look at the history of aviation or the Hatton-Eielson Museum showcasing one of the greatest pilots in aviation history, Carl Ben Eielson.
Are you the parent of a budding artist?
Located in historic downtown Fargo, the Plains Art Museum includes a renowned contemporary Native American Art collection. The North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks features contemporary, international art in all media from the early 1970s onwards.
Are you a parent who wants to spend quality time as a family away from the usual routine but without spending a fortune?
Then you’ll love a North Dakota vacation!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by North Dakota Tourism but all opinions are my own, and my teen really did want to know what there is to do in North Dakota.
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