As we took a summer road trip from one end of the state to the other, we made sure to stop at as many North Dakota tourist attractions as time allowed.
Our ultimate goal was to visit Fargo, North Dakota’s biggest city. We found so many fun things to do in Fargo and many interesting stops along the way.
We loved the time we drove across Washington’s Highway 2, stopping at roadside attractions, and wanted to emulate that with our North Dakota road trip.
I am listing these North Dakota roadside attractions from west to east along Interstate 94. If you are coming from the east, read from the bottom up.
North Dakota Tourist Attractions Along Interstate 94
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Exits 24 or 27
Start at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) Visitor Center for information and souvenirs and then drive into the park. Take the gorgeous 36-mile Scenic Drive, stopping often in designated pullouts to soak in the view. There are several short trails – Ridgeline Nature Trail (0.6 mile), Coal Vein Trail (0.8 mile), Wind Canyon Trail (0.4 mile), and Buck Hill (0.1 mile).
Exits 24 or 27
Medora is a small town of pizza places, coffee shops, burger joints, ice cream parlors, and tourist attractions that serves as the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Medora is well known for the Pitchfork Steak Fondue and Medora Musical. The Medora Musical is a spectacle of colorful costumes, singing, dancing, patriotism and is one of the things to see in North Dakota that you really need to experience to understand.
White Butte, the Highest Point in North Dakota
This is a bit of diversion as it is 50-miles each way from Interstate 94, but there are few states in which you can get to the highest point so easily. We added this to our North Dakota points of interest because my son aims to get to the highest points of all (or most) of the U.S. states, and we couldn’t pass this opportunity to get started.
Follow directions on Google Maps to “White Butte Trailhead” and you will arrive at a parking area on private land. Leave a donation in the red cylinder for the land owner who maintains this place and allows public access.
There is an obvious trail at the south side of the parking area that leads 3/4 of a mile to the top of the butte and a 360-degree view of the High Plains. The white clay will be extremely slippery in wet weather.
The Enchanted Highway
For North Dakota sightseeing at its best, take a 30-mile (one-way) detour along the Enchanted Highway. The Enchanted Highway is a collection of the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures spread out along 100 1/2 Ave SW between Gladstone and Regent.
All the sculptures were dreamed up and constructed by Gary Greff to bring life back to his little town of Regent.
You can see “Geese in Flight” from I-94 and pull off Exit 72 if you only have time for one. It was certified by Guinness as the World’s Largest Outdoor Sculpture.
Salem Sue, World’s Largest Holstein Cow
Of all the “World’s Biggest” North Dakota attractions, Salem Sue is the largest animal scuplture. This cow sits above the town of New Salem and can be seen from the highway for miles before getting there. Sue is 38 feet high, 50 feet long, and made of six tons of reinforced fiberglass. Salem Sue was built as a tribute to the dairy industry. Be sure to take the obligatory photo of someone milking her.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and On-A-Slant Indian Village
On your way into Bismark, stop at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park to see the replica Mandan On-A-Slant Indian Village and reconstructed military buildings including the Custer House. In summer there are guided tours and people in period costumes. You can go inside some of the dwellings.
Bismarck is a stop on the Lewis and Clark Trail (see all the Lewis and Clark Trail in Montana) and you can see a 55-foot full-scale replica keelboat like the one used by Lewis and Clark at Keelboat Park. Plus, there are trails and walking paths to stretch your legs. The Thunderbird sculpture created by United Tribes Technical College students is another draw to the park.
If you have time, the Lewis and Clark Riverboat has daily cruises (May-Sept) on the Missouri River, including a dinner cruise.
Sandy – The World’s Largest Sandhill Crane
Sandy stands 40-ft. high and was built in 1998-99 by self-taught ironworker James Miller. In addition to the giant bird, there is a nice park and interpretive signs about birding and the area. You’ll be sure to get a good photo of this “world’s largest” North Dakota sights as there is a designated photo spot.
World’s Largest Buffalo
Another of North Dakota’s famous landmarks is the World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown. The buffalo is made of steel and covered in concrete. It is 46-feet long, 26-feet tall, and weighs 60 tons.
You can see the bison from I-94, but you really need to wind through Jamestown to get a decent look at it. While you are there you can explore the adjacent Frontier Village and the National Buffalo Museum, which has a herd of much smaller, more real bison.
Kindred Area Sunflower Fields
Exit 328 (GPS: 46.846508, -97.26403)
Sunflower fields are one of the North Dakota tourist attractions that you won’t want to miss if you can time it right. The photos of people standing in the fields are gorgeous. But more than just getting that perfect Instagram shot, the thousands of cheery, yellow sunflower heads will bring a smile to your face.
You can find a map to North Dakota’s sunflower fields and weekly updates on where the best blooms are. There are fields all along Interstate 94 to view sunflowers.
There is a lot to see and do in Fargo. So much, in fact, that I wrote another post just for that.
Have you toured the best North Dakota tourist attractions along Interstate 94? I know there are more, so leave a comment about the ones we need to see next time!