North Dakota is a state in the Great Plains of the United States. It is bordered on the west by Montana, on the east by Minnesota, on the south by South Dakota, and on the north by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. North Dakota, the 39th state, was admitted to the Union in 1889. The year 2005 marked the bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition which began in Illinois and passed through North Dakota on the way to the Pacific Northwest, with help from a Shoshone Indian girl, Sakakawea, as their guide. North Dakota's 53 counties cover approximately 70,655 square miles (183,000 sq km) and has a population of 672,591 in 2010 census.
Williston - The biggest city on the upper Missouri, and ground zero of the state's current oil boom
North Dakota is a large, sparsely populated state. It was settled mainly by farmers of Scandinavian and German descent. North Dakota's population has scarcely changed since 1915, but its urban-to-rural ratio has changed dramatically over the years. One-sixth of the people in the state live in Fargo, and that figure is growing all the time. The state's economy is based on its agriculture, food processing, mining, tourism and machinery.
North Dakota is the least-visited state in the union, not surprising given its location. But there is something to be found for those willing to venture into the unknown. North Dakota is living proof that there is much to see and do off the beaten tourist path and in small towns. Outdoor activities abound year round: hiking, biking, camping (tent and RV), boating, fishing, sailing, tubing, birding, photography, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, archery, and more. If you fancy disc golf, there are fourteen regulation courses in the state. Or you can simply take a scenic drive through hills and lakes, badlands, or plains. Military buffs will enjoy visiting the old frontier forts. Nature lovers can see hundreds of species of birds, animals, fish, and wildflowers. Geological formations of almost every type are here. You can dig for fossils or hunt for unique mineral specimens.
North Dakota is a signifigant state to Native Americans. It holds many holy-sites that are important to Native American History, and Spirituality. It has been reported that many of these holy sites have been abused by tourists. Some reports include tourists using the Native American's holy sites as restrooms. North Dakota is known to be untouched, most of these holy sites are yet to be discovered. When visiting these Native American holy sites, it is recommended to NEVER take an object off the ground especially if it resembles Native American art, these objects are hopefully going to continue being undisturbed in the vast graveyard known as North Dakota.
Famous North Dakotans include: former CBS newsman Eric Sevareid (Velva, ND), actress Angie Dickinson (Kulm, ND), "Fever" singer Peggy Lee (Jamestown, ND), "bubbling machine" bandleader Lawrence Welk (Strasburg, ND), and author Louis L'Amour (Jamestown, ND).
Scheduled airline service is available in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot, and Williston.
Delta Air Lines  offers daily flights to all destinations.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, (North Unit entrance is by Watford City, South Unit Entrance is by Medora), ☎ +1 701-623-4466, . year-round. The park has two units, the North Unit and the South Unit, both distinctly different.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, (1/2 mi N on Co Rd 37), ☎ +1 701-745-3300, . Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day, 8AM-6PM, rest of year, 8AM-4:30PM. Established as a National Park Service (NPS) site in 1974. This is the only NPS site that preserves and protects the Northern Plains Indian Heritage. The Native Americans have occupied this area for over 11,000 years. There are the remains of three Hidatsa village sites within the park boundaries. The Big Hidatsa site has 110 depressions, the Sakakawea (Awatixa) site has 60 depressions and the Lower Hidatsa site has 40 depressions. This was once a thriving civilization situated along the Knife River. Sakakawea lived at the Awatixa site when she met Lewis and Clark at Fort Mandan. A state of the art museum dedicated to preserving the cluture of the Hidatsa, Mandan and Arikara tribes is located at the visitor center. A 15-minute video about village life can be viewed in the visitor center theater. A full-scale reconstructions of a Hidatsa earthlodge features autthentic furnishings. Programs in the earthlodge are conducted during the summer months. Free.
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Near Williston (25 mi SW on Hwy 1804), ☎ +1 701-572-9083, . Summer 8AM-8PM, rest of year, 9AM-5:30PM. Largest fur trading post on the upper Missouri River from 1828-1867. Trading headquarters with American Indians. Reconstructed Bourgeois House contains museum exhibits. Replica trade goods are available for purchase in the reconstructed Indian Trade House.
International Peace Garden, Near Dunseith, . 24/7 Depending on what you want to see and do. You may self-register after gate hours. The International Peace Garden is a 2,339-acre botanical garden commemorating peace between the United States and Canada along the world's longest unfortified border. It blooms with more than 150,000 varieties of flowers and showcases the Peace Chapel. It is also home to the International Music Camp, Friday night concerts in June and July, and interpretive center, floral clock and souvenir shop. RV-friendly campground.$10 per vehicle.
Beaver Lake State Park, Near Napoleon (17 mi S of Napoleon), ☎ +1 701-452-2752, . Year round. Beaver Lake State Park provides an escape from the rigors of everyday life, offering a relaxing atmosphere in a secluded outdoor setting next to lake offering a full array of water recreational activities. The park is located in south central North Dakota on the west shore of Beaver Lake, 17 miles southeast of Napoleon. Comprising 283 acres, the park provides modern and primitive camping opportunities along with three camping cabins for those wanting to get away from it all. $5 daily pass, $25 annual pass, $15 camping full service, $10 camping primitive.
Cross Ranch State Park, Near Washburn (12 mi SE of Hensler), ☎ +1 701-794-3731, . Year round. Cross Ranch State Park is located along some of the last free-flowing and undeveloped stretches of the Missouri River. A boat ramp and canoe and kayak rentals are available for those wishing to explore this scenic segment of the river, while anglers will find walleye, trout, catfish, salmon, pike and bass in its waters. An extensive trail system can be explored either on foot or on cross-country skis during the winter months. The trails allow access to a 5,000-acre nature preserve with mixed grass prairie, river bottom forests and wood draws. Campers can use either the park's primitive campground or hike to their camping spot in a backcountry area.The park is also well known for its bluegrass music festival held in June. $5 daily pass, $25 annual pass, $12 camping electrical spot, $10 camping primitive.
Doyle Memorial State Park, ☎ +1 701-269-2116. Doyle Memorial Recreation Park is located on Green Lake, seven miles southwest of Wishek. There is great fishing for perch, walleye and northern pike on Green Lake. The park has a fish cleaning station, bathrooms and shower, play ground for kids, and a new boat ramp and dock. $15 for camping with power, $8 for camping without power.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Near Mandan, ☎ +1 701-667-6340, . May tours 9AM-5PM, Memorial Day-Labor Day tours 9AM-7PM, Sep tours 9AM-5PM, 1-11 Oct tours 1PM-5PM. General George Custer's last home is reconstructed, as are the central barracks, granary, commissary and a stable. Tours take visitors back to 1875, the year before the 7th Cavalry rode to the Little Bighorn. Museum and tour of On-A-Slant Indian Village's five reconstructed earthlodges. $5 per vehicle state park fee; $6 per adult, $4 per student interpretive fee.
Fort Ransom State Park, (1 mi N of Fort Ransom), ☎ +1 701-973-4331, . Year round. Fort Ransom State Park, which takes its name from an 1860s military fort, is located in the midst of the scenic and heavily wooded Sheyenne River valley. The river provides abundant opportunities for canoeing, fishing and bird watching, while within the park can be found a short segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail. During the summer picnicking and camping are favorite activities, while cross-country skiing is a popular winter sport. A farmstead within the park is the setting for the annual Sodbuster Days celebration, with demonstrations and exhibits of homesteading life. Fort Ransom State Park's natural areas provide an important link in the protection of the remaining Sheyenne River Valley ecosystem. $5 daily pass, $25 annual pass, $15 daily camping full service, $10 daily camping primitive.
Fort Stevenson State Park, (3 mi S of Garrison), ☎ +1 701-337-5576, . Year round. Fort Stevenson State Park, located on Lake Sakakawea's north shore, was named for the late 1800s for that served as a supply depot for other military posts in the Dakota Territory. Boaters will find excellent facilities, including boat ramp access, marina, fishing boat rental and boat storage. The North Dakota Governor's Cup Walleye Fishing Derby, as well as a variety of other events is held here annually. Other amenities include camping and picnicking facilities, sleeping cabins, visitor center, arboretum and hiking trails. $5 daily pass, $25 annual pass, $15 daily camping full service, $10 daily camping primitive..
Icelandic State Park, (5 mi W of Cavalier on Hwy 5), ☎ +1 701-263-4651, . Year round. Situated on Lake Renwick's north shore, Icelandic State Park offers water sports like boating, swimming and fishing. The park also is the site of the Pioneer Heritage Center, which features restored historic buildings providing a glimpse of North Dakota's Homesteading heritage. An early homestead preserves the state's pioneer spirit, while the Gunlogson Nature Preserve, a 200-acre natural wooded area along the Tongue River provides a sanctuary for plants, birds and wildlife. Nearby attractions include a golf course, Pembina Gorge, Pembina County Historical Museum, Pembina State Museum, snowmobile trail, Frostfire Mountain Ski Resort and Summer Theatre and a state scenic byway.$5 daily pass, $12 annual pass, $15 daily camping full service, $12 daily camping primitive.
Lake Metigoshe State Park, (16 mi N of Bottineau), ☎ +1 701-263-4651, . Year round. Nestled in the scenic Turtle Mountains along the U.S./Candadian border, Lake Metigoshe is one of the most popular year-round vacation spots in North Dakota. The small lakes within the park provide opportunities for fishing, canoeing, boating and swimming. A multitude of trails attract hikers and mountain bikers. Winter bring snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, sledders and ice fishing enthusiasts. The Lake Metigoshe area was home to several Native American tribes, including the Blackfoot and Hidatsa, and later the Assiniboine and Chippewa. The lake takes its name from the Chippewa phrase, "metigoche washegum," or clear lake surrounded by oak trees. Of all of North Dakota's state parks, Lake Metigoshe contains the greatest acreage of land remaining in its natural condition. The park's woodlands and wetlands are uncommon finds for visitors accustomed to North Dakota's expansive prairie vistas. Aspen and oak woodlands, as well as wetlands, cover much of the park and provide habitat for a wide variety of plant, animal and bird species seldom seen elsewhere in North Dakota. $5 daily pass, $25 annual pass, $15 daily camping full service, $10 daily camping primitive.
Lake Sakakawea State Park, (1 mi N of Pick City), ☎ +1 701-487-3315, . Year round. One the south shore of Lake Sakakawea, adjacent to Garrison Dam, Lake Sakakawea State Park offers a wide range of water-based recreational activities and facilities. The park has a full-service marina including boat rentals, convenience store, fishing guide services, and boat and camper storage. Boat ramps in the park offer deep water access to some of the best fishing on Lake Sakakawea. The park also features modern camping and picnicking facilites. Hikers enjor a segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Sleeping cabins are avialble during the summer months. $5 daily pass, $25 annual pass, $15 daily camping full service, $10 daily camping primitive.
Lewis and Clark State Park, (19 mi SE on Hwy 1804), ☎ +1 701-859-3071, . Year round. Situated on one of the upper bays of Lake Sakakawea, the rugged buttes of the North Dakota Badlands display a towering backdrop to one of the state's best recreation areas. The park is named for the Corps of Discovery explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The expedition camped nearby on April 17, 1805, and an interpretive trail marker has been placed within the park to commemorate their historic journey through North Dakota. Two rare fish species, the pallid sturgeon and the prehistoric-looking paddlefish, can occasionally be found in the lake's western reaches. A self-guided nature trail allows visitors to become acquainted with the natural communities associated with the park, which is home for many wildlife species including white-tailed deer, mule deer, ring-necked pheasant, porcupine, sharp-tailed grouse and chipmunks. $5 admission to park, $8 primitive camping fee, $14 moderate camping fee.
Little Missouri State Park, (19 mi N of Killdeer), ☎ +1 701-794-3731, . Year round. Little Missouri State Park contains some of the most rugged, picturesque Badlands terrain in North Dakota. Most of the park is accessible only by horseback or hiking. Numerous wildlife species frequent the park, including mule deer, coyote, fox, bobcat and golden eagle. $5 daily entrance pass, $25 annual pass, $12 camping with electrical hookup, $8 camping primitive.
Sully Creek State Park, (2 mi S of Medora), ☎ +1 701-623-2024, . Sully Creek provides primitive camping and related facilities for trail riding, canoeing or hiking. Located in the heart of the North Dakota Badlands, the area is just minutes away from the historic town of Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Turtle River State Park, (22 mi E of Grand Forks on Hwy 2), ☎ +1 701-594-4445, . Year round. Constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park is located in a beautiful, wooded valley along the meandering Turtle River. $5 daily pass, $25 annual pass, $15 daily camping full services, $10 daily camping primitive.
Adventure Activities: Turn off that reality TV and visit a place with real life adventure: North Dakota. When it comes to outdoor activities, North Dakota is hard to beat. Golf the Lewis & Clark Trail, sail across Lake Sakakawea. No matter if it's bicycle or binoculars - an adventure awaits you. Search for activities like hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, boating, skiing, snowmobiling, golfing, wildlife viewing and horseback riding. From serene to extreme - North Dakota has it. Don't let all that fresh air go to waste, go out and have some fun!
Agri-tourism: In North Dakota, one may answer a lot of questions about agriculture - like "Where does milk come from?" and "How do you make spaghetti?". Here, you can live out a real ranch vacation, become a cowboy, even get your hands dirty with some of the best soil in the world.
An Education Vacation in agriculture is one recommended way to experience North Dakota Agri-Tourism.
Discover North Dakota's Ranches, Farms & Gardens, see it all from the seat of a saddle, or just stop and take a moment to appreciate the waving greens, the golden amber waves of grain, and the immense modern farm equipment.
American Indian Experience: They are the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, the Yanktonai, Sisseton, Wahpeton, Hunkpapa and other Dakotah/Lakotah (commonly known as the Sioux) Tribes, along with the Pembina Chippewa, Cree and Métis.
Though the individual tribes have distinct and different origins, histories and languages, Plains Indians are united by core beliefs and values that emanate from respect for the earth and an understanding of humankind's relationship with nature.
Visitors are welcome to explore the reservations and discover the beauty of Indian culture.
Archaeology and Paleontology: Millions of years before North Dakota was a state, prehistoric creatures were living out their legendary adventure. Today, you can visit - and excavate at - fossil-bearing sites ranging in age from 30-years to 73-million years.
Arts and Entertainment: Concerts, festivals, galleries and more abound in North Dakota. See top-name acts at a casino, or at one of the larger venues, like the FargoDome, Bismarck Civic Center, Minot all Seasons Arena or Grand Forks’ Alerus Center, Ralph Englestad Arena and Chester Fritz Auditorium. Art, created by or simply appreciated by North Dakotans, can be experienced in many ways. Check out the North Dakota Council on the Arts for a good overview. You’ll also want to visit the North Dakota Museum of Art, Plains Art Museum, and the many art and craft fairs you’ll find on the local CVB Web sites.
Biking: North Dakota’s varied topography offers mountain bikers many choices for riding. From the one million acres of rugged buttes in the Little Missouri National Grassland to the rolling hills of the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota has many areas for mountain biking, including the Maah Daah Hey Trail waiting to be discovered.
Birding: nearly four hundred species of birds inhabit or visit North Dakota.
Boating: North Dakota’s lakes and rivers are well equipped with boat landings and great reasons to get out on the water, like legendary fishing.
Camping: Whether you're traveling by luxury RV or with a pup-tent in the back of the pick-up, camping adventure awaits you at 1,300 North Dakota campsites.
With 17 State Parks and Recreation Areas and countless local camping facilities, North Dakota is a great place to camp. There is abundant activity available in every park. Pack the s'mores, sing some campfire songs, and keep an eye towards the sky in case the Northern Lights join your party.
Canoeing/Kayaking: North Dakota’s canoeing waters are as diverse as the state itself. Whether canoeists prefer the scenery presented by agricultural plains, rugged Badlands, thickly wooded slopes or gentle river bluffs, North Dakota’s rivers offer a challenge to beginners and experienced paddlers alike.
Casinos/Gaming: You'll find fun and excitement throughout the year in North Dakota's casinos. Enjoy a variety of gaming experiences, fine dining and accommodations. Visit casino Web sites for concert and event listings.
Education Vacation: One of the fastest growing travel trends is in education vacations. This is an opportunity for visitors to customize their North Dakota experience - have fun and learn new skills - in a variety of areas, including:
•American Indian Studies
•ND Immigrant Cultures
Energy: When you drive to the store or flip on a light switch, the energy has to come from somewhere. See how energy is produced in North Dakota by visiting the energy related attractions.
Family Fun: Building memories - that's what family fun is all about. In North Dakota your family can follow the trail of Lewis & Clark, dig for fossils buried for millions of years, splash down at a water park, tell ghost stories around a campfire ... and that's just the first day!
Fishing: Fishing is good, but let's be honest. Every one of us would rather be catching. Fortunately, North Dakota is famous for its productive fisheries. Our plentiful lakes and rivers are teeming with game fish like northern pike, walleye, perch, trout and bass. Water levels, species diversity, fish sizes and populations are up. So, if you're up for more action, more trophy catches and more fun, North Dakota is your fishing hotspot.
Forts: Experience North Dakota's legendary military history through a visit to a fort or state historic site. As settlers pushed west, forts were established to provide protection and central meeting places. The North Dakota State Historical Society operates most historic forts in the state.
Geocaching: high tech treasure hunting with the help of a Global Positioning System (GPS), provides another opportunity for outdoor adventure the whole family can enjoy. The North Dakota State Parks System offers a wide variety of natural and historic settings, landmarks and architectural works, to make this state a great getaway for an enjoyable geocaching experience. Come explore the state parks of North Dakota and test your cache seeking skills in some of state’s most scenic and historic settings.
Golfing: North Dakota has more golf courses per capita than any other state in the nation, almost 100 courses total.
Hiking: Public lands in North Dakota, including state parks, wildlife management areas and refuges, grasslands, national parks, historic sites and recreation areas are open for day hiking of various lengths. Hiking sites include trails with historic or natural features specifically marked for self-guided interpretive walks. These short hikes are excellent for individuals, families or large group learning experiences.
Horse and Auto Racing: If you have a need for speed, there's nothing like a Friday night spent cheering for your favorite driver - or horse. The North Dakota Horse Park opened in 2002, in Fargo. Catch thundering action on eight weekends in 2007.
Hunting: One of the problems hunters face here is the many options in fall. Making a choice is tough. Hunters can decoy ducks or geese in the morning, chase pheasants in the afternoon and be back in their decoy spread again for the evening flight. Or they can bowhunt for pronghorn and mule deer in the drop-dead gorgeous Badlands. North Dakota is known as the duck factory in the lower 48 states, boasting some of the best duck hunting in the country for birds raised within its borders – and some of the best hunting for birds making southern migrations from nesting grounds in Canada. Upland hunters come from around the country for a shot at ring-necked pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge. Big-game hunts are available, too. Record numbers of deer licenses have been issued in recent years. More often than not, hunters go home not only with game, but wonderful stories to share for years to come.
Lewis and Clark Trail: Captain Meriwether Lewis called them "the handsomest plains I ever beheld." North Dakota still boasts breathtaking scenery and its hospitality continues to leave a lasting impression on visitors. Lewis and Clark did all of the hard work, charting and exploring the West, and now you can have all of the fun! Take your own journey to a powwow, drape yourself in a buffalo robe or meander through remains of the home of Sakakawea, the Lewis & Clark Expedition's legendary Indian interpreter and guide.
Motorcycling: There is nothing quite like motorcycling in North Dakota. Great highways dissect 70,000 square miles of rural bliss and take riders effortlessly between the state’s larger cities. You won’t find a lot of things here that you do elsewhere: smog, crime, traffic, headaches. But you will find things here you won’t find anywhere else: the nicest people, the North Dakota Badlands, Pembina Gorge, rolling hills and grasslands and the wide open farmland of the Red River Valley.
RVing: On highway, there are 350 miles of scenic byways and backways to lead you to some of our favorite “hidden gems.” Create your legendary adventure by way of national park sites, state parks, city and county campgrounds, prairies, Badlands, grasslands and valleys. There are How about discovering a museum made out of rock; or hike into a petrified forest; or discover a young Teddy Roosevelt’s cabin.
Scenic Drives: take a break from it all and cruise on one of North Dakota's many scenic drives.
Sporting Teams: Be a part of the action in North Dakota. Pound on the glass, feel each step before the slam dunk, hear the crack of the bat and ready your glove for the pop fly. Here you can enjoy minor league baseball, basketball and hockey and never have to worry about the nose-bleed section. Teams include: •Northern League Baseball RedHawks Baseball - Fargo, •NBA D-League Basketball Wizards Basketball - Bismarck, •NAHL Hockey Bobcats Hockey - Bismarck, •USHL Hockey Fargo Force - Fargo
Western Experience: North Dakota is often known as the place to visit for a "Real American" experience. In fact, it's why North Dakota is frequently ranked in the Top Five for U.S. destinations by international guests.
Wineries: North Dakota is home to four wineries and one vineyard, and the popularity of North Dakota wines is growing. From pumpkin to rhubarb, apple to honey - there's a variety to excite the palate. Tours and tasting is available at all locations.
Industrial oil development, mainly taking place in the area between Minot, Williston, and Dickinson, has made most highways unsafe for bicyclists. Crime has significantly increased, especially in Williston, which has doubled in size in a few short years.
The venomous rattlesnake can be stumbled on by mistake. Rattlesnakes should be avoided and never disturbed. Cougars or Mountain Lions are found in Central and Western North Dakota, occasionally even inside city limits. Never wander into remote places in North Dakota without a defensive weapon or plan in case of a cougar attack, which they will do. Bison may be beautiful but a male bison can run faster than you can and may trample or maul if it feels threatened. Always maintain a safe distance (30 yards or more) from large animals. Coyotes have been known to venture into campgrounds and can have rabies. Otherwise coyotes won't threaten humans. Pets should be brought indoors at night. A dog can become a snack to a group of coyotes, especially small dogs. Deer are known to cross roads all over North Dakota so drive aware of deer crossings, especially in the early morning or dusk hours.
Never forget that North Dakota's peaceful valleys can give way to challenging ravines and trenches, raging rivers and clay roads, cactus and thorns. A walk around Lake Sakakawea's beautiful shores can turn into a rescue mission, since lakes are deep shorelines are sometimes unsteady. Rivers can be unforgiving; a child left on a sandbar playing might wander into the swift currents of the Missouri. Lifejackets are a must. In winter people have frozen to death by getting lost on snow-covered fields or roads. Lakes can ice over in the winter, but be sure you know the thickness and quality of the ice before venturing out. (Ask a local if unsure.) Never explore North Dakota in the winter without proper gear. Blaze orange clothing during deer season is a must.
Much of North Dakota's most beautiful scenery is untouched. You are likely to be perfectly safe in North Dakota's cities and on highways. But when you travel away from the highways to reach the great scenery North Dakota has to offer, be sure to have a travel companion (or notify a trusted person of your travel plans) and plenty of supplies in case you become stranded. Since North Dakota is one of America's least populated states, there is a lot of untouched land for you to explore.
Minnesota - Known for cold winters and its ten thousand lakes, North Dakota's eastern neighbor is an ideal destination for wilderness enthusiasts and shoppers destined for the Twin Cities and Mall of America.
Montana - North Dakota's western neighbor is often called Big Sky Country for its famed big, blue skies, but the amazing natural landscape varies from the flat regions to the East and the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the West.
Saskatchewan - Located to the northwest of North Dakota, the southern portion of Saskatchewan is predominantly prairie (with a reputation for being very flat) known for its seemingly endless fields of wheat.
Manitoba - Sharing a border in the northeast of the state, Manitoba is known for its lakes, prairies, agriculture, culture and history.
This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!