Touring the Great Plains of North Dakota
With summer coming upon us, more people than ever are packing up their RVs to travel and explore wherever the road takes them. Naturally, this includes some of the beautiful areas in the northern areas of the United States, which are typically a bit too cold to visit in the late fall, winter and early spring. These include the states of the “True North,” as some may say, such as Montana, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Minnesota, and Michigan. North Dakota in particular is home to beautiful farmlands and agricultural areas, as well as stunning natural areas such as grasslands, plateaus, and badlands. In fact, when asked about the state where he had spent so much of his young life, Teddy Roosevelt once said, “I never would have been president if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.”
In addition to beautiful geographical areas, North Dakota also offers the interesting cities of Dickinson, Bismarck, and Fargo, as well as numerous unique Harvest Hosts locations. Buckle up, grab your Harvest Hosts membership, and let’s take a tour of North Dakota to see what this awesome state has to offer.
1. Phat Fish Brewing
Located in the heart of Dickinson, North Dakota, Phat Fish Brewing is a family-friendly Brewery and Pizzeria with unique offerings created just for the area. They pride themselves in making everything in-house, from the beer in your glass to the pizza on your plate. In addition to pizza, they also serve a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, desserts, and more. These are available for both dine-in and take-out, with take-and-bake pizzas available, as well. There are happy hour specials every day between 4pm and 6pm, with tastings available and occasional festivals throughout the year. They are a newer host location, but the guests who have stayed so far have really enjoyed the experience. Currently, they are offering two pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
2. Fluffy Fields Vineyard & Winery
Also located in the town of Dickinson, Fluffy Fields Vineyard operates as a year-round, full-service winery. They offer craft beers, canned beers, and a full menu of food options. These include appetizers and dips, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, entrees, and desserts. The overall relaxing environment has made this a top Harvest Hosts location, with so many guests enjoying their time here. Keep in mind that their small operation sometimes makes it difficult for them to answer the phone or reply to emails quickly. Be sure to speak to an employee directly and confirm your stay before planning your trip here. They have two pet-friendly spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length available.
No trip to the Dickinson area would be complete without visiting the city itself. Dickinson, North Dakota, is a fun, historic city, located on the westernmost-edge of the state, near its southern border. This small yet exciting city offers tons of opportunities for a variety of activities, with something for every member of the family to enjoy. Activities include hiking, biking, golfing, shopping, thrifting, horseback riding, hunting, visiting museums and historic sites, and so much more. Those wanting to stay in the area for a bit longer can check out some of the nearby campgrounds or even the boondocking located outside of the nearby national park.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Before you leave the area, be sure to pay a visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The name of the park honors the twenty-sixth US president and his time spent bison hunting in this particular area of North Dakota. The strenuous experiences and raw landscapes he experienced here helped to form the conservation policies of his presidency, and he went on to designate many places as federally-protected areas during his two terms.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is divided into two main areas: the Elkhorn Ranch Unit, the North Unit, and the South Unit, with the South Unit being the most popular. In this park, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including biking, boating, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, wildlife viewing, scenic driving, and cross-country skiing in the winter months. There are two campgrounds within the north and south units of the park, each with dry camping sites offered on a first-come, first-served basis. This beautiful park offers stunning views of a unique plains and badlands landscape and is not to be missed.
Little Missouri National Grassland
Visitors to the area can find Little Missouri National Grassland just north of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. With over one million square miles, this is the largest grassland in the country, The stunning mix of landscapes features colorful badlands, rugged structures, and seemingly endless prairies, encompassing four nearby counties. Here, visitors can enjoy many of the same activities as they can in the national park, just with fewer crowds and less overall development. Be sure to stop by before leaving the area and moving further east.
3. Happy Rock Farm
Just about fifteen minutes east of the Dickinson area, Harvest Hosts members can visit Happy Rock Farm. Here, they raise alpacas for their fiber, with a herd of about thirty total. The fiber is then woven into products such as hats, gloves, mittens, socks, boot inserts, and yarn, which is then sold in their farm store, along with a variety of other local products, including home decor, cards, pictures, ornaments, salsa, jams, spices, goat soap, and much more. In addition to their on-site store, they also grow fresh flowers for bouquets in the summer as part of their Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. They offer tours by appointment, and the property itself has a picnic area and WiFi available for visitor use. They offer two spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length. Please note that they are not a dog-friendly location, with respect to the alpacas’ safety.
4. Dakota Territory Air Museum
Continuing about two-and-a-half hours north to the town of Minot, RVers will find the Dakota Territory Air Museum. Founded in 1986, the Dakota Territory Air Museum has proudly evolved into a significant historical depository that honors the people and machines that have impacted the longstanding history of aviation. Through displays and events that inspire, educate and entertain, the museum has become a viable and important historical resource for this particular region and for the state of North Dakota as a whole. This location is open from mid-May through mid-October each year and charges a reasonable admission fee to see the museum. They also have a gift shop available. The parking area is peaceful, pleasant, and very level, which makes for an enjoyable night’s stay. They offer two reservable, pet-friendly spaces for RVs under forty-five feet in length.
5. Prairie Village Museum
Traveling another hour east, North Dakota travelers have the opportunity to visit and camp at another awesome museum. The Prairie Village Museum consists of over twenty historic buildings that were moved to the site to create a turn-of-the-century prairie town. The admission price is very reasonable, and they also offer a gift shop, a playground, a park, and free WiFi. The monument for the Geological Center of North America is within walking distance, with several restaurants also in close proximity. The museum is typically open for the season from mid-May through late September, although they allow parking year-round. This location offers four reservable, pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
6. Wright Farm
About forty-five minutes southeast of Prairie Village Museum, we reach our next destination in the town of Maddock, North Dakota. This family farm is run by the owners and their adult children. They raise small grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, and cattle, with different produce available at certain times and lots of apples and berries to pick seasonally. They also have sweet corn available for picking in the fall. Guests will find awesome opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing on this peaceful, off-the-beaten path farm. They offer four pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
7. Cottonwood Cider House
Traveling about two-and-a-half hours southeast of the Wright Farm, we arrive at our next location in the town of Ayr. As North Dakota’s first Cidery, Cottonwood Cider House crafts its cider from apples grown by Cottonwood Farm. This fourth-generation, family-owned farm is also North Dakota’s largest commercial organic mixed fruit orchard. In addition to hard cider, they offer locally-made pizza and have special weekend meals available, including a special children’s meal. They also have a gift shop with specially-made merchandise. There are tours available and a special festival each year in early August. They are open seasonally on the weekends from late May through late October and offer two pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
8. Nome Schoolhouse
Continuing about forty-five minutes southwest, travelers will find Nome Schoolhouse. This 100-year-old school has been remodeled into a fiber arts retreat center, with a fiber mill, fiber animals, fiber arts classes and store. Their grand opening is set for early July (just a few weeks away!), but visitors are welcome to stay before the remodel has been completed. Supplies and finished wool products are available to purchase, and they offer food and drinks on Thursday evenings. They have big plans for their incredible location, and it will only get better as time goes on. Currently, they offer five pet-friendly spaces for RV’s under twenty-nine feet in length.
9. 4e Winery
Traveling another forty-five minutes east brings us to the lovely 4e Winery. This winery is located on a century-old farmstead, just twenty minutes from Fargo, North Dakota, and they love hosting Harvest Hosts members. If you visit the tasting room, the owners would love to help you find your new favorite wine. You can enjoy wine on their beautiful deck or on their three-season porch. If the kitchen is open, you can also order food off their menu of house-made vegetarian and vegan offerings.
Their gift shop also sells wine-themed gifts and souvenirs, such as tea towels, cards, and prints. Guests can also take a stroll through their gorgeous prairie restoration or along the quiet gravel roads. The owners love to visit with Harvest Hosts guests and hear about their journeys, so if you’re feeling friendly, they’d love to chat. Be sure not to miss this incredible location that has so much to offer! They are open on the weekends from May through October, offering five pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
No visit to North Dakota would be complete without a stop in Fargo, whose name you may recognize due to the infamous 1996 film that takes place here. In this small city, you will find an adventurous spirit with plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy. These include historical places, museums, a fun downtown area, shopping, nightlife, craft breweries, and plenty of opportunities for nearby outdoor recreation. If you wish to stay in the area more than a night or two, there are plenty of local campgrounds to choose from.
10. Dakota Vines Vineyard and Winery
About half an hour south of Fargo, RVers can find their last stop on this North Dakota tour: Dakota Vines Vineyard and Winery. This brand-new location is an agritourism business dedicated to producing high-quality North Dakota and regional cold climate grape and fruit wines. Opened in 2018, Dakota Vines offers visitors the opportunity to learn about new varietals of grapes that survive and thrive in cold climates, and sample or buy wine in a rural North Dakota setting. They are passionate about wine production in this area of the country and remain open from Thursday through Sunday between early May and late October. In addition to wine, they also offer beer and food, a gift shop, a picnic area, and WiFi. There are two pet-friendly spaces for RVs under thirty-five feet available.
North Dakota is an incredible state with so much to offer. Because of its harsh and long winters, it really is best to visit between late May and late September or early October. If you are planning a trip to North Dakota this summer (or any future summer!), any of these locations or stops come highly recommended. Be sure to let us know how you enjoyed your trip!
Have you traveled through North Dakota? Where was your favorite place there? Feel free to tell us all about it in the comments below!
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