Camping in North Dakota

      What you need to know about camping in North Dakota.

      Your North Dakota Camping Guide

      North Dakota: camping beneath a blanket of stars. Forget the crowded beaches and bustling cities – here, wide-open prairies meet rugged badlands, creating a landscape begging to be explored. 

      Pitch your tent beneath a sky bursting with stars, far brighter than any city light show, or hike through otherworldly rock formations, paddle across calm lakes, or simply sit by a crackling fire, listening to the symphony of nature. North Dakota isn’t just camping, it’s an adventure under the biggest sky you’ve ever seen.

      Best Places To Camp In North Dakota

      Theodore Roosevelt National Park

      Visitors can choose from developed campgrounds with amenities like restrooms and showers, or opt for primitive campsites for a more backcountry experience. The park boasts incredible opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and stargazing. Don’t miss the petroglyphs left behind by ancient Native American tribes, offering a glimpse into the region’s history.

      Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Dakota

      Lake Sakakawea

      For water enthusiasts, Lake Sakakawea, the third-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, is a haven. Campgrounds dot the shoreline, offering stunning water views and easy access to various activities. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, and exploring the numerous coves and inlets. The surrounding area also boasts historical sites and wildlife refuges, making it a perfect destination for a well-rounded outdoor adventure.

      Lake Sakakawea North Dakota

      Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

      The park encompasses the reconstructed Fort Abraham Lincoln, once a vital military post, and On-A-Slant Village, a Mandan Indian earth lodge village. Campsites here offer a unique opportunity to combine camping with historical exploration and cultural experiences.

      Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park North Dakota

      Lake Metigoshe State Park

      Deep in the Pembina Hills, Lake Metigoshe State Park provides a picturesque escape surrounded by lush forests and shimmering waters. Campers can choose from various sites, some nestled amidst the trees, and others offering lakefront views. The park is known for its excellent fishing, boating, and hiking opportunities. Visitors can also explore the nearby Icelandic State Park, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.

      Lake Metigoshe State Park North Dakota

      Maah Daah Hey Trail

      For experienced backpackers seeking an adventure, the Maah Daah Hey Trail, winding through the heart of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, offers a challenging yet rewarding experience. Hikers can camp along the designated campsites, taking in the breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife. The trail traverses various terrains, from canyons and buttes to grasslands and forests, providing a truly immersive wilderness experience.

      Maah Daah Hey Trail North Dakota

      Lindenwood Park (Fargo)

      For those seeking a convenient camping option near the city, Lindenwood Park in Fargo provides a peaceful escape. Located along the banks of the Red River, the park offers several campgrounds with various amenities. Visitors can enjoy the park’s trails, forested areas, and proximity to the city while still experiencing the outdoors.

      Lindenwood Park (Fargo) North Dakota

      Things To Do In North Dakota

      Theodore Roosevelt National Park

      Theodore Roosevelt National Park, encompassing over 70,000 acres, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Divided into the North and South Units, the park boasts stunning landscapes including badlands, prairies, and winding rivers. Visitors can embark on scenic hikes, go horseback riding, explore the Little Missouri River by boat, or camp under the vast starlit sky. The park also offers historical insights into the life of President Theodore Roosevelt, who spent time ranching in the area and championed its conservation.

      Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

      This National Historic Site offers visitors a glimpse into life on the frontier, showcasing the interactions between Native American tribes, fur traders, and military personnel. Explore the restored buildings, witness historical reenactments, and learn about the vital role the fort played in the region's development.

      Enchanted Highway

      Embark on a whimsical road trip along the Enchanted Highway, a 72-mile stretch of scenic byway dotted with whimsical and otherworldly metal sculptures. Each sculpture, created by local artist Ed Galloway, tells a story and contributes to the highway's unique character. Stop by roadside attractions like the giant grasshopper, pheasants, and a family of fish, all crafted from scrap metal and standing tall amidst the vast North Dakota plains.

      Scandinavian Heritage Park

      Explore replica buildings representing traditional Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic architecture, including a stave church, a windmill, and a schoolhouse. Witness demonstrations of traditional crafts, sample Scandinavian cuisine, and learn about the significant contributions these communities made to the state's cultural tapestry.

      Red River Valley

      The fertile Red River Valley, stretching from Fargo-Moorhead south to the Canadian border, is renowned for its agricultural heritage and scenic beauty. Explore charming towns like Grand Forks and Grafton, known for their historical museums and vibrant cultural events. Immerse yourself in the region's agricultural roots by visiting farms, attending local farmers markets, or taking a scenic drive through rolling fields and alongside the meandering Red River.

      Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

      Delve into the rich history and culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Native American tribes at the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. Explore excavated earth lodge villages, learn about traditional ways of life through interpretive exhibits, and witness demonstrations of cultural practices like pottery making and bison hunting techniques.

      International Peace Garden

      Standing as a symbol of peace and unity, the International Peace Garden straddles the border between North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada. Explore the expansive grounds featuring gardens representing various nations, climb the International Peace Tower for breathtaking views, and learn about the ongoing efforts to promote peace and understanding between cultures.

      North Dakota Heritage Center

      Discover the comprehensive history of North Dakota at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck. You can also explore invaluable artifacts like dinosaur fossils, frontier homesteads, and military equipment, gaining a deeper appreciation for North Dakota's diverse past and vibrant present.

      National Buffalo Museum & Store

      Located in Jamestown, the National Buffalo Museum & Store serves as a testament to the iconic American bison. Learn about the history and cultural significance of these majestic creatures, witness exhibits showcasing their biology and conservation efforts, and browse the unique selection of bison-themed merchandise and artwork.

      White Horse Hill National Game Preserve:

      Situated in the Turtle Mountains of northern North Dakota, White Horse Hill National Game Preserve offers a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Explore the rolling hills and wooded terrain, home to diverse animal species like elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and wild turkeys. Hike scenic trails, participate in guided tours, or simply relax and observe the abundant wildlife in their natural habitat.

      Lake Sakakawea

      The third-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, this lake spans over 1,700 square miles and offers numerous recreational opportunities for visitors. Go fishing for walleye, catfish, and sauger, enjoy boating and kayaking on the calm waters, or relax on the sandy shores and soak in the scenic beauty.

      Scandinavian Hjemkomst Center

      This cultural center features a replica Viking ship, the "Hjemkomst," which sailed the Atlantic Ocean in 1964 to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of Leif Erikson's voyage to North America. Immerse yourself in exhibits showcasing Norwegian history, traditions, and cultural artifacts, and gain a deeper appreciation for the significant contributions Scandinavian immigrants made to the region's development.

      Inspiration From Our Nearby States

      Book an RV in North Dakota

      Discover North Dakota's vast beauty and boundless charm from the comfort of your own RV. Explore the dramatic landscapes of Badlands National Park, delve into the rich history of Fort Abercrombie State Park, or simply soak in the serene beauty of the state's countless lakes and prairies. With an RV rental, North Dakota's adventure awaits - book yours today and hit the open road!

      Frequently Asked Questions

      The best season depends on your preferences. Summer (June-August) offers warm weather for swimming and hiking but can be crowded. Spring (May-June) and fall (September-October) provide pleasant temperatures with fewer crowds, while winter (December-February) offers unique experiences like ice fishing, but requires proper preparation for the cold.

      You don't necessarily need a permit for camping, but most campgrounds require reservations, especially during peak season. You can make reservations online or by phone through the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department.

      Fire restrictions vary depending on the location and time of year. Always check with the specific campground or the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department for current restrictions before starting a campfire.

      Black bears are present in some parts of North Dakota, but encounters are rare. It's important to practice proper food storage and be aware of your surroundings while camping in bear country.

      You can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, boating, bird watching, stargazing, and exploring historical sites. Many parks offer ranger-led programs and special events.

      Camping fees vary depending on the campground, location, and amenities offered. Expect to pay between $10 and $30 per night for a basic campsite at state parks. National parks may have different fee structures.

      Amenities vary widely, but some campgrounds may offer restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, picnic tables, fire rings, and electrical hookups. Be sure to check the specific amenities offered by the campground you're interested in.

      The exact number of campgrounds in North Dakota is not readily available from a central source. However, you can find information on campgrounds managed by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department and the National Park Service.

      Yes, dispersed camping is allowed on certain Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in North Dakota. However, there are specific regulations and restrictions that you must follow. Always check with the local BLM office for the latest information and permits required for camping on BLM land.

      • Pack appropriate clothing and gear for the weather conditions. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather, especially during spring and fall.
      • Bring insect repellent and sunscreen.
      • Leave no trace and respect the environment by properly disposing of waste and minimizing your impact on the natural surroundings.
      • Be aware of wildlife and follow safety guidelines for encountering different animals.

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