I have been to 45 of the 50 United States and it’s my goal to visit all 50. I haven’t yet been to North Dakota, but it’s high on my list. This state is full of interest when it comes to American history and is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. When I do make it, these are the top 5 things I want to do while I’m there:
1. Hike the Lewis and Clark Trail
Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson following the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark, was a journey of US Army volunteers across the newly purchased territory. Starting near St. Louis, they traveled west, through North Dakota to the Pacific Coast to explore and map the new land. The expedition started in May 1804 and ended in September 1806. Today, visitors to North Dakota can explore various portions of this historic trek on guided tours, whether by hiking, cycling or riverboat.
2. See the Northern Lights
Did you know that you can see the Northern Lights in North Dakota? Neither did I! But now that I know, you can bet it’s one of the top things I want to do there. Of course, this means visiting during the cold winter months, but if you’re not afraid of a little wind and snow, you’ll be able to witness this phenomenon, plus partake in all kinds of fun winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, skating and snowmobiling.
3. Fish in North Dakota
My brother is the fisher in our family. And while I don’t go fishing with him often, when we do, I’m always reminded how much I enjoy it – being out on the water, under the warm sun. It’s peaceful and relaxing … and North Dakota is a fisher’s haven. There are countless State Parks and fishing sites across the state and you can expect to find perch, pike or walleye, among other things. The Baukol-Noonan Trout Pond and Campground, for example, is a great site that has a picnic area, restrooms and camping (with or without electricity, depending on how much you like to rough it!) The pond here is home to trout, perch and bluegills and they say you’re guaranteed to catch fish here!
4. Explore Native American Culture
The Native American tribes of North Dakota play an important part in the state’s past and present and there are lots of opportunities to explore the reservations and learn more about Native American culture. The Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, for instance, is an area that was occupied by Native Americans for more than 11,000 years and visitors can see the remains of three villages here. Nearby, you can also enjoy Native American music performed by traditional artists.
5. Visit the International Peace Garden
Established in July 1932, the International Peace Garden represents the peaceful relationship between Canada and the United States and is situated on the border between the state of North Dakota and the province of Manitoba. Each year, over 150,000 flowers are planted here! Visitors can enter the park from either country, crossing the international border without restriction and without passing through customs, but there are customs stations just outside the park grounds in both countries.
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