Welcome to America’s heartland, home to the Great Lakes, a rich Native American culture and dinosaur fossils alike. Whether you’re in the mood for metro or you’re looking to get away from it all, these itineraries are packed with something for every member of your road crew. Click through the gallery to find your new favorite journey.
Cowboys & Culture: Fargo to Medora, North Dakota—328 miles
Your Neighbors to the North
South Dakota gets a lot of the glory but its northern neighbor is one of our favorite destinations for family travel. In North Dakota, you’ll still find rich landscape and heritage along plenty of kid-approved roadside attractions, minus some of the big crowds. Start your trip in Fargo at the Fargo Air Museum, home to historic aircraft across the ages and interactive exhibits for children. Kids will also enjoy the Red River Zoo—where cold-climate loving animals are bred and cared for, including the Red Panda, the Gray Wolf and the Pallas cat. Little sluggers will want to make a stop at the Roger Maris Museum, a free museum located at West Acres Shopping Center dedicated to the legendary Fargo baseball player, Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961. For accommodations, try the Holiday Inn with Shipwreck Bay—an indoor waterplay area with five slides into a pool and nearby hot tubs for mom and dad.
Make Your Bismarck
As you head west out of Fargo toward Medora, make a pit stop at Bonanzaville. 15-acres of historic buildings, antique cars, planes, farm equipment and more, harkens back to the 1800s settlers days. About halfway between Fargo and Medora, you’ll find the charming town of Bismarck. Located on the Missouri River, you can indulge your inner explorer with a riverboat cruise on a 100-foot paddle-wheeler with Lewis and Clark Riverboat company. In Bismarck, you’ll also find the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. Head west over the river to Mandan and grab a bite along the water at the Rock Point before you hop on the Fort Lincoln Trolley to Fort Abraham Lincoln. Visit the park’s reconstructed earthlodges in On-a-Slant Indian Village, a recreation of the way Mandan Indians traditionally lived along the Missouri River.
Home on the Range
Hit the highway and make your way to the charming village of Medora, home to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. From June 2–Sep. 9 you can catch the world famous Medora Musical—a Western-themed, Broadway-style variety show. Medora has endless wild-west themed lodging—from camping to cabins to upscale ranches. If a pool is your main priority, try the Badlands Motel for an outdoor pool or the AmericInn, which has an indoor pool. Medora—and the entire town is nestled on the edge of Teddy Roosevelt National Park. You can eat, play and stay cowboy style. Learn more about Medora here.
Insider tip: Check the KP index before you go to see if Northern Lights will be active during your visit!
photo: North Dakota Department of Toursim
What’s your favorite Midwestern road trip? Tell us about it in the comments section below!