30 Must-See Places in North Dakota
Fill your itinerary with more than two dozen things to see and do in a tour of North Dakota. From classic airplanes to tigers and forts on the prairies, the attractions are as diverse as the regions in which they are found. Click here for a printable version.
Fort Buford State Historic Site
A military post at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, Fort Buford was a supply depot for the U.S. Army during the Indian wars. It's the site of Sitting Bull's surrender in July 1881. Sitting Bull, a Sioux Indian, was imprisoned here, as was Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe.
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Home to John Jacob Astor's powerful American Fur Company, Fort Union Trading Post dominated the fur trade on the Upper Missouri River between 1829 and 1867. It's where Indians and fur traders co-existed in peace before the great Indian wars. Today, you can see museum exhibits in the Bourgeois House and shop for gifts and souvenirs in the reconstructed Indian Trade House.
Three Tribes Museum and Four Bears Bridge
See artifacts relating to Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribal history at Three Tribes Museum, where you can find traditional American Indian arts, crafts and books. Don't miss the nearby Four Bears Bridge. Named for 19 tribal chiefs of the three tribes, it's the longest bridge in North Dakota, spanning nearly a mile of Lake Sakakawea.
Scandinavian Heritage Park
See a typical Norwegian house and a Norwegian stabbur (storehouse) at this park paying tribute to Scandinavian and American heritage. Among other attractions, there's a Danish windmill, 30-foot-tall Dala horse (the national symbol of Sweden) and a Nordic-style visitors center.
Lake Sakakawea and Garrison Dam
The largest lake in North Dakota and the largest manmade lake within one state, Lake Sakakawea is 609 square miles of water behind Garrison Dam. It's named for the young Indian woman who accompanied Lewis & Clark on their expedition. Daily tours of the Garrison Dam powerhouse are conducted.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Visit the 1804 meeting place of Sakakawea and Lewis & Clark. On the ruins of an ancient Indian village last occupied in 1845 today sits a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to preserving the culture of the Plains Indians. A reconstructed earthlodge contains artifacts from the Plains culture.
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan
Stop into this world-class interpretive center along the very route Lewis & Clark traveled. Exhibits focus on artifacts from every tribe the explorers encountered, showcasing the culture of the Mandan Indians and the winter of 1804-05. Fort Mandan is two miles west of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Daily tours are available of the reconstructed fort.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
At Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, history goes back 300-plus years to when it was home to the Mandan Indians. Today it's a 977-acre park on the banks of the Missouri River, and its exhibits relate to the life of the Mandans and the military history of the fort (in the mid- to late 1800s, it was the site of a military garrison). Tour the home of General George and Libbie Custer and the 7th Cavalry.
North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum
The collection of Plains Indians artifacts found here is second only to the Smithsonian's. You can also see displays on the state's rich military and agricultural history, and shop for local arts and crafts in the museum gift shop.
612 E. Boulevard Ave. Bismarck, ND 58505
Dickinson Museum Center
Don't let the life-sized Triceratops and Pachycephalosaurus outside the entrance scare you away. Real skeletons excavated from the area are found inside, in addition to a Triceratops skull named "Bill" and a collection of minerals from all over the world. Stop into the gift shop for such unique souvenirs as insects in amber, and casts of dinosaur teeth and claws.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Unit
Get spectacular views along the 14-mile scenic drive, which features turnouts with interpretive signs. Self-guided nature trails take you through coulees and breaks. Visit the prairie dog town, Oxbow Overlook and the Edge of Glacier Pullout.
Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site
Last remnants of the 321st Missile Wing. It tells the story of the Cold War years in North Dakota. Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility is the underground launch site and November-33 Launch Facility is a silo.