North Dakota is one of those states that flies under the radar. If you asked people from around the country what they’d do on a visit to North Dakota, many of them probably wouldn’t know how to answer that question. North Dakota is one of the country’s least visited states and one that many people only visit in pursuit of their goal to visit all 50 states. And North Dakota actually leans into that fact and the state tourism board has created the Best for Last Club.
What is the Best for Last Club?
The tourism board of North Dakota encourages people visiting all 50 states to make their state the final one. To save them for last for your 50 state travels. If you visit all 49 other states, saving North Dakota for last, you can join the Best for Last Club. If you qualify to join the Best for Last Club in North Dakota, be sure to stop by the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center when you finally travel there to claim your official certificate and Best for Last t-shirt and take your picture by the sign!
What To Do in North Dakota – 25+ Things To Do in North Dakota
Whether you’re driving through North Dakota on your way somewhere else, celebrating your Best for Last trip, or visiting family or friends in the area, here are more than 25 things you can do in the country’s least visited state.
Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center – Housed in a grain elevator, this visitor center will give you all the information you need to enjoy your visit to Fargo, ND or Moorhead, MN! Fans of the Fargo movie can’t build a North Dakota travel itinerary without stopping to see the famous woodchipper Fargo movie prop!
Bonanzaville – With over 20 buildings, this pioneer village and local history museum is the place to learn about early American life in the west, from barbershops to railroad travel.
Hjemkomst Center – Learn about the Norwegian culture at this beautiful museum centered around a replica viking ship and wooden stave church.
Fargo Air Museum – Aviation fans will certainly want to stop and see the vintage and modern aircraft housed here.
Roger Maris Museum – This museum commemorates the famous NY Yankee outfielder Roger Maris, who grew up in Fargo.
Red River Zoo – Fargo’s 34 acre zoo houses many animals, including red pandas, and is also home to a beautifully restored Allen Herschell carousel.
Red River Market in Fargo – If you visit Fargo during the summer or fall season, visit the Red River Market on Saturdays to shop for local artisan-crafted gifts, baked goods, flowers, and produce and enjoy goodies from the numerous food vendors. A farmer’s market is also a great travel itinerary stop, because you can sample local foods and ask the locals for recommendations on what to do in North Dakota.
The Dakota Zoo – This zoo houses 600 animals on its 90 acres.
North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum – A FREE history museum covering the state’s early and modern history. They even have a dinosaur exhibit! This was one of our favorite stops on our North Dakota travel itinerary.
Lewis and Clark Riverboat – Book a dinner or daytime cruise along the Missouri River.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park – This recreated fort is located just outside of Bismarck and educates visitors on the Mandan tribe and the old fort.
North Dakota’s Gateway to Science – If you have kids, this museum is a must-stop! Learn about electricity, robotics, and more!
Dickinson Museum Center & Badlands Dinosaur Museum – Home to both a multi-building Prairie Outpost Park and a dinosaur museum. There’s also a Pioneer Machinery building with historic wagons, carriages, and farm equipment. It’s three museums in one!
Ukranian Cultural Institute – Learn about Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian immigrants who settled in North Dakota. In the spring, you can take a Pysanky (Easter Egg) decorating class and many beautiful eggs are on display at the center.
Medora town – The historic buildings of this downtown are worth an afternoon of exploring all on their own! Take a wagon ride, get some ice cream, and enjoy yourself!
Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Take a scenic drive through North Dakota’s badlands and learn more about the US President who helped preserve our first national parks.
Maah Daah Hey Trail – This extensive trail system has 8 unique segments and is great for biking, hiking, and equestrian use.
Old Town Hall Theater – Hosts a Teddy Roosevelt Show and a variety of other entertainment throughout the year.
North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame – Learn more about the old West and the culture of the cowboy.
Medora Musical – This live summer musical celebrates the badlands, western heritage, and Teddy Roosevelt, finishing with a fireworks finale.
Other Places to Stop in North Dakota
National Buffalo Museum – Learn all about the You’ll also find the North American Buffalo (or bison). World’s Largest Buffalo statue here as well as a Frontier Village.
Salem Sue – This giant cow statue can be viewed from the highway or you can turn off and park at the base of the hill for a closer look.
Enchanted Highway – Take a detour off of Interstate 94 for a scenic 32 mile drive stopping at roadside art pieces.
Scandinavian Heritage Park – This beautiful park contains replicas from the five Scandinavian and Nordic countries. See a 25 foot tall Swedish Dala Horse. Tour a full size replica of the Gol Stave Church in Norway. See a Danish windmill, a statue of Icelandic explorer Leif Erickson, and a Finnish sauna. And that’s just a few of the exhibit pieces you’ll find!
Fort Union Trading Post – Run by the National Park Service, this historic site was once an important fur trade post on the Missouri River.
Devils Lake State Parks – Two state parks that share Devil’s Lake.
4 Day North Dakota Road Trip Travel Itinerary
Here’s our East to West travel itinerary for a road trip across North Dakota:
Kick off your 4 day North Dakota travel itinerary with a stop at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center. If this is your final state in the US to visit, be sure to get your Best for Last t-shirt!
Spend the morning learning about Norwegian Culture at the Hjemkomst Center and the afternoon exploring the Pioneer Village at Bonanzaville.
Spend the night in West Fargo.
Drive about 3 hours to Bismarck, ND. Spend most of the day at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. My kids loved the agricultural and oil drilling exhibits and of course the dinosaurs. My favorite parts were the Indigenous history and the Scandinavian cultural items.
Take an evening cruise on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat. Or if it’s available during your visit, book a brunch cruise for day 3!
Stay overnight in Bismarck.
Head just out of town to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and tour the recreated fort.
Then drive the 1 hour and 45 minutes to Dickinson, stopping to see Salem Sue and the Enchanted Highway on the way. Note that including the entire Enchanted Highway drive and not just the Geese in Flight sculpture along Highway 94 will add approximately an hour to your drive not accounting for any stops to take pictures.
Head to the Dickinson Museum Center & Badlands Dinosaur Museum for the rest of the afternoon. Since you’ve already toured a pioneer village, focus on the dinosaur exhibits and anything else that jumps out at you.
Stay overnight in Dickinson.
On your last morning of your 4 day North Dakota road trip, drive about half an hour to Medora, ND. There’s so much to do here, you’ll need to prioritize your time. I’d recommend taking 2 hours to drive through Theodore Roosevelt National Park and reserve tickets for the Medora Musical in the evening, spending your free time exploring the town of Medora. If you want to enjoy the Maah Daah Hey Trail, you’d probably want to set aside a full day just for that.
Total drive: 350 miles and about 5.5 hours.
To add a day and take a 5 day road trip across North Dakota, stop in Jamestown at the National Buffalo Museum on day 2 in the middle of your drive to Bismarck and enjoy Bismarck the next day.