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8 Best Towns in North Dakota to Visit in 2024

by Staff

The International Peace Garden, located at the US-Canadian borders of North Dakota and Manitoba, is a perfect symbol of what the Sioux word “Dakota” embodies—“friend” and “ally.” In the state of North Dakota, there are many friendly places that capture the American wilderness and Americana charm. From a town like Medora, which even President Theodore Roosevelt adored, to unusual settlements with unique quirks like Jamestown and New Salem, you will not rue or retreat from adventure in the dynamic landscapes of North Dakota. Give yourself a much-needed vacation from the hectic bustle of other populous states by visiting the best towns in North Dakota this 2024.


“Tommy Turtle” symbol of Bottineau, North Dakota. Image credit Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The town of Bottineau is rightly called “The Four Seasons Playground.” All year round, from the vibrancy of spring to the chill air of winter, one can experience different moments of merriment at the foot of the Turtle Mountains. The many lakes of the area—Lake Metigoshe, Lords Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and Pelican Lake—are among the many playgrounds you can enjoy. In your adventure through Bottineau, you might come across the Mystical Horizons, the “Stonehenge of the Prairie.”

Since Bottineau is near the US-Canadian border, travelers from two different countries are first greeted by Tommy the Turtle, a gigantic turtle statue riding a snowmobile. And while you are roaming about, why not buy refreshments at the Pride Dairy, the last small-town creamery in North Dakota? Lest you forget, remember to book rooms at the Turtle Mountain Inn or Cobblestone Inn & Suites.


The World's Largest Buffalo, can be seen from I-94, and is nicknamed Dakota Thunder. It is located in Frontier Village in Jamestown, ND
The World’s Largest Buffalo, in Jamestown, North Dakota. Image credit Daniel M. Silva via Shutterstock

Jamestown, known as “The Pride of the Prairie,” is the perfect town to appreciate the ferocious landscape of North Dakota. In the valley where the James and Pipestem rivers meet, visitors are treated to the spectacular sights of the thunderous buffalos. While exploring Jamestown, you might encounter Dakota Thunder, a 26-foot-tall buffalo monument that many people know as the World’s Largest Buffalo.

You can learn more about these titanic beasts at the National Buffalo Museum. During the windy month of June, the yearly Kite Fest celebrates Jamestown’s festive atmosphere, while the James River Rodeo in July offers wild performances and shows. Situated between Fargo and Bismarck, discover more of what this awesome town has to offer, and find good accommodations at the Gladstone Hotel.


Scandinavian heritage park in Minot, North dakota
Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, North Dakota.

Less than two hours away from Devil’s Lake, the town of Minot is a place capturing the magnificence of the US air force and Scandinavia. Concerning the latter, the Scandinavian Heritage Park contains several architectural landmarks of Nordic design. For instance, one can find a Danish windmill, a Norwegian stabbur (storehouse), a Finnish sauna, and a Swedish Dala horse.

As for Minot’s former homage, visitors can marvel at America’s aviation legacy at the Dakota Territory Air Museum, where World War II aircraft represent the Allies’ dominance in the skies. For accommodations, look to the Sierra Inn, the Hotel Revel, and Hyatt House to have your needs met.

New Salem

Salem Sue, the World's Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem.
Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, North Dakota. Image credit JWCohen via Shutterstock

On the road 30 miles west of Bismarck, a giant cow can be seen gazing but not grazing out from a hillside. This cow is none other than “Salem Sue,” a 38-foot-tall Holstein cow statue that acts as New Salem’s iconic mascot. Salem Sue characterizes the town’s dairy-producing heritage, and inquisitive travelers can learn more about this milky past at the Custer Trail Museum.

Although the beautiful and big bovine is New Salem’s most obvious attraction, visitors can enjoy fishing and boating at Gaebe Pond, or a local event called the “Cow Town Hoe Down” in July. So try not to spill milk as you stay a while at Arrowhead Inn.

Devil’s Lake

The National Register listed Locke Building in downtown Devils Lake, North Dakota, United States.
The National Register listed Locke Building in downtown Devils Lake, North Dakota. Image credit Publichall, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite the diabolical name, Devil’s Lake is far from being a hellish, unwelcoming pit of brimstone. Rather, there are plenty of opportunities for fun fishing and pristine boating on Devil’s Lake’s waters and on Creel Bay. In the White Horse Hill National Game Preserve, tourists can enjoy the sights of roaming bison and elk, while the Grahams Island State Park is riddled with various hiking trails and exploratory routes.

The nearby Fort Totten stands as a historic landmark illustrating the pioneers of the Lake Region. At the Lake Region Pioneer Daughter’s Museum, one can learn more about the pioneering and military legacy of Devil’s Lake from the various articles and military attires on display. When it comes to lodgings, the Devil’s Lake Sportsmans Lodge, Devil’s Lake Inn, and Fort Totten Trail Inn are there for you.


The Main Street in the historic town of Medora, North Dakota.
The Main Street in the historic town of Medora, North Dakota. Image credit EQRoy via

On the Little Missouri River is a town called Medora, what President Theodore Roosevelt once called “the romance of his life.” These unforgiving badlands are home to Roosevelt’s Maltese Cross Cabin—a ranch where Roosevelt raised cattle—and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where bison, wild elk, and adorable prairie dogs graze.

Beyond what Roosevelt influenced and adored, Medora boasts a handful of unique attractions, such as the Perception House, an edifice filled with illusions, and the Von Hoffman House, which has historic connections to Medora’s founders. If you truly want to understand how Roosevelt learned to love all things American, then spend your time at Medora, particularly in rooting-tooting lodgings like Rough Riders Hotel, Hyde House, and Wooly Boys Inn.


Downtown street in Walhalla, North Dakota
Downtown street in Walhalla, North Dakota. Image credit In memoriam afiler, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lounging on the soothing banks of the Pembina River, and about an hour and a half away from Devil’s Lake, the town of Walhalla beckons visitors with the natural splendors of the gorgeous Pembina Gorge. At the Gingras Trading Post State Historic Site, visitors can admire an 1840s trading post that once belonged to Antoine Blanc Gingras, a Métis legislator and businessman. Close at hand, the Kittson Trading Post served as a vital source of commerce and trade for Norman Kittson, an American Fur Company agent in 1843. If you desire more experiences and explorations in Walhalla’s sublime surroundings, consider trekking through the Tetrault Woods State Forest and the Tetrault State Forest Lookout Point. But if you require rest and relaxation, seek accommodations at the Moose Creek Lodge or the Forestwood Inn.

Valley City

Bridge over the valley in Valley City, North Dakota.
Bridge over the valley in Valley City, North Dakota.

Approximately 60 miles from Fargo, the opulent Valley City sits at the heart of the Sheyenne River Valley. Camp Sheardown State Historic Site and Fort Ransom State Park combine the history and present beauty of Valley City. The Barnes County Museum elaborates on the town’s pioneering and agricultural contributions to North Dakota, in addition to Gundy the Triceratops welcoming visitors to this unique town.

Elsewhere, the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway offers 63 miles of stellar spots for photographing. The federal fisheries of Lake Ashtabula, for example, are excellent attractions to memorialize in your cameras, while the Baldhill Dam—controlling the flow of Lake Ashtabula and Sheyenne River—creates a harmony between man-made and natural. If you ever get tired, recharge at the AmericInn, Grand Stay, or Three Oaks Guest Inn.

As the number one producer of honey for the whole US (a whopping 90% of the land is dedicated to agriculture), North Dakota is a bountifully sweet state that offers many delightful amenities. The best small towns in this wild and liberal land are prime examples of how enchanting and lovely North Dakota can be. Whether you are sightseeing a miniaturized version of Scandinavia in Minot, admiring the giant cow of New Salem or giant buffalo of Jamestown, or appreciating the lakes and lands of Devil’s Lake, you will not be exhausted from all your explorations of this honeyed region. Instead, you will feel as right as rain thanks to the best towns in North Dakota to visit in 2024.

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