5 Quirky Things to Do in North Dakota

Posted by - June 22, 2015 | Category: Escapes, United States

North Dakota conjures images of frozen landscapes and quirky accents (let’s all thank the movie Fargo for that), but the state has a lot to offer for visitors as well – especially those on the lookout for unique attractions and activities. Here are 5 of the quirkiest things on offer in North Dakota:

Norsk Høstfest

Started in 1978, Norsk Høstfest has grown into North America’s largest Scandinavian festival with tens of thousands visitors annually.  The festival celebrates the Scandinavian heritage of each of the five Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland. Visitors can expect to be treated to concerts, authentic national cuisines, handcrafted Nordic merchandise, and even a fine dining establishment featuring guest chefs. The festival is held in Minot, N.D. every fall.

Ice Fishing

Blessed with an abundance of lakes and a relatively small population, North Dakota offers the budding angler plenty of opportunity to try his or her hand at ice fishing. Since many lakes don’t tend to get overcrowded like some other states, the probability that you’ll walk away with plenty of walleye, pike, or yellow perch are pretty high.  If you’re hesitant about heading out onto the lake on your own, many operators offer one- and two-day ice fishing packages for anglers of all levels. Some of the recommended ones are Woodland Resort, Lakeview Lodge, and McQuoid Guides.

North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame

North dakota cowboy hall of fame Medora North Dakota

Image: jimmywayne via Flickr

Opened in 2005, the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora, N.D. is the only facility in the state dedicated to recognizing and honoring North Dakota’s western heritage and culture. Using the horse as the central theme, the center documents the deep-rooted cowboy traditions of North Dakota ranchers as well as state’s indigenous Native American people.

The Cowboy Hall of Fame hosts a number of events throughout the year, including a National Day of the Cowboy event, Day of the Great Plains Horse People, and even an Old-Fashioned Cowboy Christmas. The center also operates trail rides from time-to-time.

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READ MORE:  101 Best Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Wanderlust


Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site

If you’ve got a hankering for the good old cold war days, then you should definitely check out the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site in Cooperstown. Home to the Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility and the November-33 Launch Facility, tours of the site offer visitors the opportunity to see up close how personnel on the front lines of the United States strategy of nuclear deterrence lived during the cold war.

These two sites were integral in the nation’s anti-nuclear defense initiative and offer the rare chance to see a decommissioned nuclear missile launch facility.  Just don’t push any buttons okay?

Roadside Attractions

Salem Sue World s Largest Holstein Cow North Dakota quirky unique unusual things to do

Image: amanderson2 via Flickr

North Dakotans like their odd roadside attractions, so to get the most of bang for your oddity buck, it’s best to rent a car and take a road trip. Some of the highlights include “Salem Sue” — the world’s largest Holstein cow in New Salem, and “W’eel” – the world’s largest manmade turtle, fashioned out of 2,000 used tire rims in Dunseith, N.D.

What are your favorite quirky things to do in North Dakota?

This post has been sponsored by North Dakota Tourism.


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15 comments - add one
  1. Here are a few more:

    1. The Enchanted Highway (Exit 72 on I-94, goes for 30 miles)

    2. World’s Largest Buffalo (Jamestown, ND)

    3. Running O’ the Green (event in Jamestown, ND where you dress up in green the Saturday before/after St. Patrick’s Day and run down a snow covered hill to start off a pub crawl for charity) — just check Youtube for videos!

    Thanks for the article — enjoyed reading!

  2. Just have to say I never see or use the word “quirky” much, but this week, you and I both wrote a blog post with the word “quirky” in it! You have a great list of odd (and interesting) things to do!

  3. Okay, so we have to tell you, we know nothing about North Dakota – except what you’ve written. Crazy that it hosts a huge Scandinavian festival! In the Yukon north of us, there’s a little community called Atlin that’s really popular with Germans. And so is the interior of British Columbia. We understand they love the vast uncrowded landscapes.

  4. Cool pics!! Did you know Dakota in kannada language means waste!! such an irony. We live in a world with so many differences but it’s always good to know about each others world. Thank you for sharing

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