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9 Ideal Destinations in North Dakota for a 3-Day Weekend in 2024

Not only is North Dakota the largest producer of honey in the country! It's also the perfect destination for a quick three-day weekend to escape the daily grind and take advantage of a holiday where you don't have to work. Whether it's family fun or a romantic getaway for two, this state offers plenty of opportunities to create lasting memories. From wild horses to golf courses, the memories awaiting you in these nine cities are sure to blow visitors away and keep them coming back for more.

Medora

Overlooking the town of Medora, North Dakota, outside Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Start your three-day weekend in Medora with a visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where you can spot bison and wild horses and take peaceful hikes. The Medora Musical, a Broadway-style outdoor show, offers nightly entertainment under the stars and showcases the spirit of the American West. Delve into local history at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and learn about the area's ranching heritage. For a breathtaking drive, the Scenic Loop offers unparalleled views of the infamous Badlands. Golf enthusiasts can challenge themselves at Bully Pulpit Golf Course, known for its rugged terrain and spectacular views. Visitors can stay at the Rough Riders Hotel, which offers a family-friendly western restaurant. Finally, a stroll through historic downtown Medora with a visit to Chateau de Mores will round out your visit with a glimpse into 19th-century aristocratic life.

The Devil's Lake

Downtown Devils Lake, Montana
Downtown Devils Lake, Montana

In Devils Lake, fishing enthusiasts can fish on North Dakota's largest natural lake, known for its walleye. Those who prefer to stay on land can go hiking and birdwatching at Grahams Island State Park, where you can enjoy nature at your leisure. History buffs can explore Fort Totten State Historic Site, a well-preserved 19th-century military base. Those looking for something more modern can find gambling and live entertainment at Spirit Lake Casino and Resort, as well as convenient lodging that allows visitors to dive straight out of bed into the fun. Water sports are available just a stone's throw away at Lakewood Park, where visitors can participate in a variety of water sports or relax on the beach. To learn about the region's heritage, a visit to the Lake Region Heritage Center is a must, with exhibits on local history and culture.

Jamestown

Aerial view of Jamestown, North Dakota, along Interstate 94.
Aerial view of Jamestown, North Dakota, along Interstate 94.

Jamestown is home to the world's largest buffalo statue at Frontier Village, a quirky landmark that makes for a great photo opportunity. Nearby, the National Buffalo Museum offers insight into the life of the American bison. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy fishing, boating and hiking at Jamestown Reservoir, a perfect spot for nature-based activities. History is reflected at the Stutsman County Courthouse, a listed historic site, and art lovers will appreciate the Arts Center, which hosts local exhibits and performances. For a bit of high-speed excitement, Jamestown Speedway offers thrilling races that make for an exciting afternoon. For lodging, My Place Hotel offers modern suites equipped with kitchenettes, so you don't have to get up early to take advantage of the hotel's breakfast hours, maintaining the atmosphere of a relaxed duty-free weekend.

Williston

Aerial view of Williston in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.
Aerial view of Williston in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.

Visitors get a real feel for Williston by delving into local history at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, which offers fascinating insight into the fur trade era. For further historical perspective, the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center features exhibits on the region's early explorers and Native American tribes. Travelers can spend a day fishing or boating on Lake Sakakawea, a massive reservoir known for its excellent recreational opportunities. Golfers will appreciate a round at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, with its well-manicured course and stunning views. Art lovers can visit the James Memorial Art Center, which hosts local exhibits and workshops. Visitors can book a restful night at the Grand Williston Hotel & Conference Center, which features a large indoor pool and waterslide. Finally, the Upper Missouri Valley Fair offers a fun mix of rides, games and live entertainment, making it a perfect family outing.

Dickinson

Downtown Dickinson, North Dakota.
Downtown Dickinson, North Dakota.

In Dickinson, visit the Dickinson Museum Center and the Badlands Dinosaur Museum to explore local geology and see impressive dinosaur exhibits. Nature lovers will enjoy a picnic or hike at Patterson Lake Recreation Area, a popular place to get active and stay fit. With so many popular chain hotels, including The Holiday Inn Express and The Hampton Inn & Suites, comfortable and family-friendly lodging is always available in Dickinson. For an unexpected experience, visit the Ukrainian Cultural Institute, which showcases the rich heritage of Eastern European immigrants, or take a tour of Prairie Outpost Park to see historic buildings and learn about the pioneer era. Finally, downtown Dickinson offers a variety of shops and restaurants, perfect for a leisurely stroll and a good meal.

Valley town

Hi-Line Railroad Bridge.
Hi-Line Railroad Bridge.

Known as the “City of Bridges,” Valley City invites visitors to spend a weekend strolling across the historic Hi-Line Railroad Bridge, which offers fantastic views of the city. At Medicine Wheel Park, astronomical displays and walking trails make for a tranquil and educational experience. Lake Ashtabula is a haven for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and hiking. The Barnes County Historical Society Museum is a must-see to learn more about the area's history. The GrandStay Hotel & Suites offers comfortable, modern rooms, complimentary breakfast and outdoor seating. Attending a concert or event at Valley City State University, where local and touring artists regularly perform, is a complete getaway. Veterans Memorial Park is perfect for a contemplative stroll honoring the service of military personnel while admiring the well-preserved memorials and gardens.

Wahpeton

Aerial view of downtown Wahpeton, North Dakota, in summer.
Aerial view of downtown Wahpeton, North Dakota, in summer.

In Wahpeton, visitors can visit the Chahinkapa Zoo, which houses a diverse collection of animal species, including rare and exotic animals. They can fill their social media pages with photos of some of the wonders of nature. Then, delve into local history at the Richland County Historical Museum, where exhibits showcase the area's past. For outdoor fun, spend a day at the Kidder Recreation Area, which has plenty of space for picnics, walking trails, and playgrounds for the kids. Fishing and boating enthusiasts will enjoy the Red River, known for its numerous fishing opportunities. Art lovers shouldn't miss the Wahpeton Sculpture Park, which features various sculpture installations by local artists. For overnight accommodations, consider the Fairview Bed and Breakfast, which offers many large, comfortable rooms with beautiful views of the countryside right outside the windows. To finish off the trip, golfers can play a round at the Bois de Sioux Golf Course, a scenic course that spans two states, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Grafton

Scenic street in downtown Grafton, North Dakota. By Andrew Filer - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons.
A picturesque street in downtown Grafton, North Dakota. Image credit: Andrew Filer via Wikimedia Commons.

Start your Grafton adventure by exploring the Heritage Village, where historic buildings and artifacts offer a glimpse into the town's past. Leistikow Park offers numerous outdoor activities, including hiking trails, sports facilities, and picnic areas. The annual Grafton Summerfest is a highlight, with live music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities. Fishing and boating on the Park River make for a relaxing afternoon, with plenty of spots to catch local fish. You'll feel the spirit of Grafton in every moment by booking a few nights at the AmericInn by Wyndham hotel, whose rustic decor perfectly matches the scenic area. Art lovers will appreciate the Grafton Arts in the Park event, which runs parallel to the Fourth of July celebrations and showcases the work of local artists. The Walsh County Historical Museum is another must-see, presenting exhibits on the area's heritage and notable figures.

Bottineau

Downtown Bottineau, North Dakota. Photo credit: Jimmy Emerson DVM via Flickr.com.
Downtown Bottineau, North Dakota. Photo credit: Jimmy Emerson DVM via Flickr.com.

Bottineau is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs. Start your visit by skiing or hiking at Bottineau Winter Park, a year-round recreation destination. The North Dakota State School of Forestry campus features an impressive arboretum, perfect for leisurely strolls among diverse plant species. Lake Metigoshe is a popular spot for fishing and boating, offering calm waters and scenic views. There are also an abundance of overnight options at lakefront cabins like the Morning Sun Cabin on Lake Metigoshe. Discover the area's history at the Bottineau County Museum, which houses artifacts and exhibits on local heritage. The annual Bottineau County Fair is a fun event with rides, games and agricultural displays. Finally, no weekend trip to this city would be complete without relaxing at Tommy Turtle Park, where you can enjoy nature, playgrounds and picnic areas.

These nine Midwestern cities offer plenty of activities for the whole family, from exciting water sports and wildlife viewing to quirky sightseeing. These cities bring people together and create memories that won't soon be forgotten. Book a long weekend and explore North Dakota's small towns and fun activities away from the crowded big cities. No matter which city you're in, you're sure to enjoy your three-day trip!

Anna Harden

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