Williston is a city of about 12,500 people in Williams County, on the Missouri River, near the northwestern corner of North Dakota. It is about 230 miles northwest of Bismarck - the state capital - by car. Williston is the county seat.
Williston was founded as a Northern Pacific Railroad stop in 1887 and named for Daniel Willis James. It was chosen over the nearby town of Buford as the site of a turntable which led to its early growth. In 1951, oil was first discovered in the Williston Basin. Williston experienced rapid growth during its first oil boom in the 1980s. After the boom died down, the population shrank to about 13,000. Geologists recently discovered 4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Bakken Formation. The Three Forks Salish Formation also contains recoverable oil. With these recent discoveries, Williston is experiencing another oil boom and has rapidly increased in size. While the rest of the country remains in a recession, Williston boasts a strong economy, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, plenty of jobs, and the highest wages in North Dakota.
Despite the recent growth, Williston still maintains a small town atmosphere. Most residents are friendly and will happily give visitors directions.
Cut Bluff Overlook - a historic sight located about two miles (3 km) east of Williston on the south side of Highway 1804. Commemorating Lewis and Clark's campsite near Cut Bluff on the south banks of the Missouri River.
Writing Rock State Historic Site, (12 miles northeast of Grenora, ND), ☎ 701-572-9034, . The site of two granite boulders carved with petroglyphs of thunderbirds, mythical Native American creatures. Dates between 1000-1700 AD. edit
Lewis and Clark State Park, 4904 119th Road NW Epping, ND 58843 (About 20 miles east of Williston on Hwy 1804), ☎ 701-859-3071, . A beautiful park situated between rugged bluffs on the shore of Lake Sakakawea. edit
Gaming, Williston State College Foundation Gaming located at DK's Lounge, The River's Edge, The New 4-Mile Bar, Travel Host Lounge, Super 8 Lounge, Whispers, P-Nuttz and The Sports Den.
Skunk Hollow Shooting Range, (drive 5 miles south of Williston on Hwy 85, turn left onto gravel road and follow signs). Well-known by the locals, Skunk Hollow not only offers a rarely crowded shooting range, but also excellent hiking, hunting, and fishing opportunities. 2 miles from Cut Bluff, the site of a campsite used by Lewis and Clark. edit
Catch the latest movie at Grand Theatre, 211 Main Street, ☎ 701-572-2232. edit
Lake Park Drive-In Theatre, Highway 85 North, ☎ 701-572-9137. One of the few drive-in theaters remaining in America. Shows begin at dusk. edit
Little Muddy Canoe Trail, (east of Williston & North of 1804), ☎ 1-800-615-9041. Thompson site and White Bridge are the access points. The trail is six miles long and travel time is 1.5-2 hours. edit
Million Dollar Lanes Bowling, 1804 2nd Ave. W, ☎ 701-572-3344. edit
Spring Lake Park, North on Highway 85, ☎ 701-577-5141. Enjoy swinming, fishing, playground equipment, walking trails, and fireworks on the 4th of Julyedit
Thunder Valley Go-Cart Track, (west of town on Highway 2), ☎ 701-770-0222. edit
Williston Skate Park, Corner of 2nd Ave. & 11th Street (located in Harmon Park), ☎ 701-577-5141. Skateboarding, rollerblading, and bikingedit
Williston Municipal Golf Course, (west of Williston on 26th Street), ☎ 701-774-1321. 9 hole course featuring a clubhouse, practice range, and trap range.edit
Eagle Ridge Golf Course, (north of Williston on Highway 2), ☎ 701-572-6500. Featured in the top 100 golf courses of America, this 18 hole course boasts a clubhouse, practice range and Italian restaurantedit
78th Annual Band Day, Main Street. May 8th, 2010. Parade starts at 10:00am with bands from all over. Concerts and vendors are set-up in Harmon Park for an afternoon of music enjoyment and family fun.edit
Downtown Williston offers many shopping opportunities.
Hedderich's, 122 Main St, ☎ 701-572-1412. Offers antiques, locomotive sets, Native American artifacts, and a large selection of used books edit
Books on Broadway, 12 1/2 W Broadway, ☎ 1-800-815-2665. Full Line Bookstore, Gift Items, Greeting Cards, Mail Service, Special Orders, Specializing In Regional History & Unique Children's Books & Toys, Coffee Baredit
JCPenny Department Store, 403 Main Street, ☎ (800) 222-6161. edit
Second Page Books, 501 Main Street Suite #3, ☎ 701-770-0968. Tues-Sat 10am-5pm. Almost-New Books: Classics, Fiction and Non-fiction, Large Print, Children's, Audiobooks on Tape & CD, Textbooks and Home School Materials. Where Every Good Book Deserves A Second Look!edit
Hansen's Unlimited Ceramics & Gifts, 113 1st Ave. E., ☎ 701-774-3966. Paint your own pottery to display or use!!edit
Castle Gift Shop, 313 Main Street, ☎ 701-572-6722. Fenton Art Glass, Crystal, & giftsedit
Cedar Chest, 201 Main Street, ☎ 701-572-5977. Gifts and items for country-style decoredit
Collector's Corner, 109 Main Street, ☎ 701-577-5252. Oak Furniture, Parlor Stoves, General Antiques, Collectibles, Furniture Stripping & Refinishingedit
Judy's Cupboard, 224 Main Street, ☎ 701-572-0616. Kitchen items, Dakota made prducts and gift registry availableedit
Larry Lynne Antiques, 10 West Broadway, ☎ 701-572-3586. Hours: Monday-Saturday 11a.m. to 5p.m. or by appointment Quality antiques at affordable prices. A general line of furniture, glassware, pictures, etc. edit
The oil boom in Williston has resulted in a severe housing shortage. Many oil companies have contracted with area hotels to provide rooms for their workers, leaving little to no availability for travelers. Any attempts to book a hotel room in Williston on short notice will prove to be difficult or impossible.
Best Value Inn, 213 35th St W,. Tel: (701) 572-4242
Country Garden Bed & Breakfast, 805 1st Ave West, Tel: (701) 774-9643
North Dakota has one of the lowest crime rates in North America, and Williston has one of the lowest of North Dakota. Most residents do not lock their doors, and in wintertime many people leave their cars running in parking lots as they run their errands.
Violent crime and rape are rare, and usually occur due to the influence of alcohol. However, women should use common sense when walking alone near bars at night. Most residents and police officers will pull over and offer rides to people walking at night or in the winter. The biggest threat are drunk drivers. If needed, the police can be reached at 701-577-1212.