10 Quirky Stops to Make as You Road Trip Across North Dakota

There's so much to see as you cruise I-94 all the way across the state.

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Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Viking Ship Park

Just across the Red River from Fargo – in Moorhead, Minnesota – make your first stop at Viking Ship Park, an ode to the region’s Scandinavian heritage. There you’ll find a 76-foot long Viking ship, as well as an exact replica of a 12th-century stave church. You’ll literally feel like you’re in Norway. Pop in the Hjemkomst Center for rotating exhibitions on Norwegian culture and history.

Fargo Wood Chipper

Make a stop at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center to find your bearings and pose for a selfie with the infamous wood chipper from the 1996 dark comedy, Fargo (you know the scene). Buy a t-shirt, grab some brochures and chat up the volunteers before you get back on the road to see what the rest of Fargo and the state have to offer as you head west along I-94.

Frontier Village

There’s not a lot to see and do in Jamestown, North Dakota. Fortunately, most all of it is in the same place so you can park once and see it all. Map to Frontier Village on your GPS and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a prairie town from the late-1800s complete with old-time shops, like a trading post, general store, barber shop and a dentist. On select summer weekends, the streets clear for an old-fashioned Wild West shootout.

Albino Bison

While at Frontier Village, wander over to the National Buffalo Museum for all you need to know about the history of bison and the Plains Indians in North Dakota. Read up on White Cloud, the legendary albino bison. It’s been a year since this beloved bison passed, but one of her offspring, Dakota Miracle, another white buffalo, roams the pastures. Albino bison are very rare and considered sacred to some Native Americans.

World’s Largest Buffalo

Another buffalo to check out while at Frontier Village in Jamestown is Dakota Thunder, the World’s Largest Buffalo. Technically not a real buffalo, this monument stands 26 feet tall and has been watching over all of Jamestown since 1959. It’s also one of the most popular roadside attractions and the Midwest. Definitely worthy of a selfie while you are there.

On-A-Slant Indian Village

Once you leave Jamestown, go west until you reach Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan. A stone’s throw from state capital, Bismarck, Fort Abraham Lincoln once served as a military post, and before that, was home to a thriving Mandan Indian population. Reconstructed earth lodges of the Mandan Indians sit adjacent to the museum center at On-A-Slant Indian Village. Walk inside each one to get a feel for what it was like to live in a Mandan Indian dwelling.

Salem Sue

There’s not much at Exit 127 along I-94 except for Salem Sue, billed as the World’s Largest Holstein Cow. Salem Sue is 38 feet tall and has been standing head held high, looking over this small dairy community since 1974. Ask for a brochure at the gas station across the street from the small road that leads up to Salem Sue. If nothing else, it’s a nice place to stop and stretch your legs.

Assumption Abbey

Another 45 minutes down the road, turn off for the little town of Richardton to explore Assumption Abbey. Also known as St. Mary’s Church, Assumption Abbey was founded by a group of Benedictine monks and was completed in the early-1900s. Dial in to the Talking Trail to learn more about Assumption Abbey from the outside or pop in to take in the beauty of this delightful church.

Enchanted Highway

The Enchanted Highway is home to more than a half-dozen public art sculptures that flank a two-lane road off I-94 that leads all the way to the small town of Regent. The sculptures, like “Pheasants on the Prairie” and “Fisherman’s Dream,” are perfect for photo opps, but to see them all, you’ll need to drive 35 minutes (one way) to Regent. While in Regent, stop in the small gift shop for an ice cream cone before making the drive back to the highway.

Medora Musical

Aside from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the other major must-do when in Medora is the nightly Medora Musical, a toe-tapping Broadway-style musical show. Naturally, the high energy show is preceded by dinner at Pitchfork Steak Fondue, an outdoor buffet-style steak restaurant next door to the venue, so get ready to load up your plate with steak, baked potatoes, garlic toast and more.

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