Summer in North Dakota is a magical time. Whether you want to take in the state’s majestic natural beauty or take part in one of its many festivals and events, there is much to do while the sun shines brightest. Whether you’re a North Dakota native or you’re just visiting, check out these 10 great summer activities in the state!
Labeled the “Greatest Show in the West,” the Medora Musical has been a summer tradition for decades. The two-hour event recreates former President Teddy Roosevelt’s adventures while exploring the state. Set on an outdoor stage in the beautiful Badlands, the musical is a must see for anyone interested in witnessing the “rootin'-tootinest, boot-scootinest show in all the west.”
Summer at the International Peace Garden is truly a site to behold. Over 150,000 flowers are planted each summer, making the location one of the most beautiful in the state. Created to symbolize friendship between the U.S. and Canada, the Peace Garden is the perfect spot for a relaxing picnic, an invigorating hike, or some quiet meditation.
With a surface area of 368,000 acres and a length of 178 miles, Lake Sakakawea is one of the largest man-made structures in the United States. During the summer, the state park offers a plethora of activities, including swimming, boating, scuba diving, fishing, camping, and hiking.
If you are interested in seeing the natural beauty North Dakota has to offer, a trip to Killdeer is in order. Included in the byway are the Lake Ilo Natural Wildlife Refuge, Little Missouri State Park, the Four Bears Museum, and the Crow Flies High Butte. In addition, the byway includes Medicine Hole, one of North Dakota’s few caves.
North Dakota is home to four excellent zoos, each of which provides visitors with the opportunity to get up close and personal with both exotic animals and those native to the state. The summer is the perfect time to visit. Check out the Red River Zoo in Fargo, the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, and the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton.
For the past 48 years, the Fort Seward Wagon Train has given participants the opportunity to experience life on the prairie as it was two hundred years ago. The week-long family wagon train begins at the Fort Seward Military Post in Jamestown and includes nature discovery, history talks, and camping. Participants can ride saddled horses, travel in the wagon, or walk alongside.
There are many fishing tournaments throughout the state during the summer, but Devils Lake is home to the longest and most competitive. Up to 250 teams can participate and compete for prizes in categories that include most walleye caught and largest walleye, as well as largest one day catch, largest perch, northern pike and white bass.
Jamestown is home to the National Buffalo Museum and a herd of roaming buffalo, which includes White Cloud. The albino buffalo is considered sacred among Native Americans and is thusly honored annually by the city of Jamestown. The White Cloud festival includes a kids' carnival, wild west shoot-out, car show, parade, street dance, and a pancake breakfast.
Fargo’s Downtown Street Fair is the biggest in the state. Vendors of all types take over Broadway and provide visitors with a plethora of shopping opportunities. A variety of food vendors and food trucks will also be present during the two-day event.
The North Dakota State Fair is a week-long event that features excitement of all types. Whether you are a daredevil who will give any ride a whirl, a curious soul who will revel in the many exhibitors and booths, a concert goer with a vast taste in music, or a people watcher who simply loves to be around other folks, you will have plenty to do at the fair.