Roadside Attractions North Dakota: A Guide to 11 Unique Stops Along the Way

Enchanted Highway Crickut

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Embarking on a road trip is an exhilarating way to explore the hidden treasures of a region. The journey becomes an adventure in North Dakota, a state known for its vast prairies and breathtaking landscapes. Beyond the well-known landmarks, beautiful National Parks, state museum, and tourist destinations lie many captivating and quirky roadside attractions waiting to be discovered. 

Roadside Attractions North Dakota: A Guide to 11 Unique Stops Along the Way

There really is a lot more to North Dakota than wild horses and the prairie dogs of Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

Planning Your Visit: Tips and Recommendations

If you’re planning a visit to North Dakota to explore its roadside attractions, here are some tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your trip:

1. Check the Weather

North Dakota’s weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to check the forecast before you go. Keep in mind that some attractions may be closed during the winter months due to snow and ice.

2. Bring Comfortable Shoes

Many of North Dakota’s roadside attractions involve walking or hiking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes. You may also want to bring sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent, depending on the season.

3. Plan Your Route

North Dakota is a large state, so it’s important to plan your route in advance. Consider using a map or GPS to help you navigate, and be sure to take breaks and rest when needed.

4. Research Attractions in Advance

To make the most of your trip, research North Dakota’s roadside attractions in advance. This will help you prioritize which attractions to visit and ensure that you don’t miss any must-see sights.

5. Respect the Environment

When visiting North Dakota’s roadside attractions, be sure to respect the environment and any rules or regulations in place. This includes staying on designated paths, not littering, and respecting wildlife and natural habitats. Seriously, how many times do they have to tell people not to pet the “fluffy cows”?

By following these tips and recommendations, you’ll be well-prepared to explore North Dakota’s unique and fascinating roadside attractions.

Field of Flowers North Farm
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Safety Measures for Road Trips

I like to think of North Dakota as the land of the candy cane highway. They seem to have more snow than us folks in Wisconsin so timing your visit is the key. If you aren’t in the area during the middle of summer, then be road trip smart. Prioritize safety to ensure a worry-free adventure. Here are some safety measures to consider before hitting the road:

1. Plan Your Route

Before starting your trip, plan your route and familiarize yourself with the roads and highways you’ll be traveling on. This can help you avoid unexpected detours, construction zones, and other potential hazards.

2. Check Your Vehicle

Make sure your vehicle is in good condition before starting your trip. Check the brakes, tires, and oil levels, and ensure that all lights and signals are working properly. It’s also a good idea to pack a roadside emergency kit that includes a spare tire, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit.

3. Take Breaks

Driving for long periods of time can be exhausting, so it’s important to take regular breaks to rest and stretch your legs. This can help you stay alert and focused while on the road.

4. Be Prepared for Emergencies

Despite taking all necessary precautions, emergencies can still happen. Make sure you have a plan in place in case of an accident or breakdown. This may include having a phone with a charged battery, knowing your location, and having the contact information for emergency services.

By following these safety measures, you can enjoy a safe and memorable road trip through North Dakota’s beautiful landscapes and quirky roadside attractions.


Off the Beaten Path: Discovering North Dakota’s Roadside Attractions

From larger-than-life sculptures to peculiar museums, these offbeat gems offer a glimpse into the unique character of North Dakota. So buckle up, pack your sense of wonder, and join us on an unforgettable journey as we traverse the enchanting highways and byways of North Dakota to uncover its fascinating roadside attractions that are perfect for your next North Dakota Road Trip bucket list. Let’s face it – giant sculptures make for fun photo opportunities and support small towns and their surrounding area.

The Enchanted Highway: Where Creativity Knows No Bounds

A short drive away from the bustling city life, the Enchanted Highway beckons travelers with its whimsical charm. Across this 32-mile stretch of highway from the town of Regent to Gladstone, this extraordinary roadway is adorned with a series of giant scrap metal sculptures, each a testament to the boundless imagination of artist Gary Greff. This remarkable series of giant metal sculptures tower over the surrounding landscape, captivate the eye, and ignite the imagination.

The Enchanted Highway: Where Creativity Knows No Bounds

From a massive Tin Family to the Fisherman’s Dream, this artistic marvel never fails to leave visitors in awe. As you drive along the Enchanted Highway, prepare to be enchanted by the unexpected and embrace the magic that unfolds before you.

It is kitschy folk art and makes for a fun roadside attraction collection. In the collection, you will also see Teddy Rides Again, Pheasants on the Prairie, Grasshoppers in the Field, Geese in Flight, Deer Crossing, and the next sculpture to be added is Spider Webs.

Geese in Flight is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records! We love to grab a picnic table and have a quick lunch here!

Salem Sue: North Dakota’s Bovine Wonder

Venturing further into the heartland of North Dakota, a unique sight awaits travelers near New Salem. Rising above the horizon, the world’s largest Holstein cow, affectionately known as Salem Sue, stands tall as an icon of agricultural heritage. Towering at 38 feet, this bovine beauty offers an amusing juxtaposition to the surrounding countryside. It was built in 1974 to honor the area’s dairy industry.

Take a moment to marvel at this colossal sculpture, snap a memorable photo, and perhaps even drop a buck or two into the donation box – which looks like a milk can.

Fun fact: This was constructed by Sculpture Mfg. Co in La Crosse, Wisconsin!

Dakota Thunder: Unleashing the Power of the Bison at the National Buffalo Museum

Dakota Thunder: Unleashing the Power of the Bison at the National Buffalo Museum

One of North Dakota’s standout attractions is the National Buffalo Museum, where the spirit of the American bison roams freely. Located in Jamestown by the Frontier Village, this museum pays homage to the majestic creature that once roamed the Great Plains in vast numbers.

Step inside to immerse yourself in the rich history and significance of the buffalo in Native American culture and the Westward expansion. Marvel at the museum’s exhibits, which showcase artifacts, artwork, and educational displays highlighting the bison’s role in shaping North Dakota’s heritage.

One of the museum’s star attractions is Dakota Thunder, a massive bronze statue of a charging buffalo, capturing the power and grandeur of these magnificent animals. Standing proudly at the entrance, Dakota Thunder symbolizes resilience and the enduring spirit of the Great Plains.

As you gaze upon this awe-inspiring sculpture of the World’s Largest Buffalo, you can’t help but feel a deep connection to the land and its wild inhabitants, underscoring the significance of the bison in North Dakota’s past and present. This one is easy to see from the highway and is a pretty popular stop.

Pro Tip: Hit the gift shop and check out the fun offerings.

The Pyramid of North Dakota: A Cold War Relic with a Towering Legacy

The Pyramid of North Dakota: A Cold War Relic with a Towering Legacy

The Pyramid of North Dakota is a 30-foot-tall pyramid located near Nekoma, North Dakota. It was built in the 1970s as part of a missile defense system during the Cold War. Today, it is a popular attraction for visitors interested in history and architecture. You can’t tour it or get close to it but you can see it and grab a photo from a distance. This is a great stop if you are talking about the Cold War in your homeschooling!

Standing Tall: Exploring the World’s Largest Sandhill Crane

The North Dakota landscape holds many surprises, and one of its most captivating treasures is the World’s Largest Sandhill Crane. Nestled in the town of Steele, this towering sculpture is a testament to the area’s rich wildlife and natural beauty.

As you approach this magnificent avian marvel, it’s imposing height and intricate details will leave you in awe. Learn about the significance of the sandhill crane to the region’s ecosystem and witness firsthand how art intertwines with nature. 

Diving into Legends: Exploring the World’s Largest Catfish

Deep within the charming town of Wahpeton, North Dakota, lies a hidden gem that reigns supreme in the aquatic realm—the World’s Largest Catfish. As you venture through this delightful community, you’ll encounter a sight that captures both the imagination and admiration.

This colossal sculpture pays homage to the legendary inhabitants of nearby rivers and lakes, embodying the spirit of the catfish that have captivated locals and visitors alike for generations. 

Geographical Center of North America: Marked by a Stone Obelisk in Rugby

Geographical Center of North America: Marked by a Stone Obelisk in Rugby

The Geographical Center of North America is located near Rugby, North Dakota. It is marked by a stone obelisk that was erected in 1931. The monument is surrounded by a small park with picnic tables and benches, making it a great place to take a break and enjoy the scenery.

Tommy the Turtle: Bottineau’s Beloved 30-Foot Fiberglass Sculpture

Tommy the Turtle is a 30-foot-tall sculpture located in the city of Bottineau. The giant turtle is made of fiberglass and sits atop a hill overlooking the town. It was built in 1978 and has become a beloved landmark in the area. The sculpture is easily visible from the road, and there is a small parking lot where you can park and take pictures.

Woodchipper from the Movie Fargo: Kitschy Movie History

Woodchipper from the Movie Fargo: Kitschy Movie History

In Fargo, North Dakota, outside the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor Center, you’ll find an iconic piece of cinematic history—the Fargo Woodchipper. This quirky attraction is the very woodchipper featured in the Coen brothers’ film “Fargo.” Snap a memorable photo, reenact scenes, and enjoy this unique slice of Hollywood right in Fargo. It’s a must-see for film enthusiasts and a playful nod to the movie’s enduring charm.

Giant Lewis & Clark and Sacajawea Figures

At Keelboat Park, along the banks of the Missouri River just south of I-94, you’ll discover remarkable interpretations of the renowned explorers Lewis, Clark, and their invaluable guide Sacajawea. These towering figures, sculpted in abstract industrial metal and adorned with vivid colors reminiscent of a traffic light, stand at approximately 30 feet in height.

Giant Lewis & Clark and Sacajawea Figures

Nearby, you’ll also encounter a meticulous replica of an 1800s keelboat, famously utilized by Lewis and Clark during their historic expedition. These attractions collectively offer a unique and vibrant window into the spirit of exploration from the past.

Unveiling the Journey: Exploring Roadside Wonders at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

In Stanton, along the banks of the Missouri River, towering at 45 feet, stand the Giant Lewis & Clark and Sacajawea Figures. These colossal sculptures pay homage to the intrepid explorers of the American West. With lifelike details and the Missouri River as their backdrop, they capture the essence of adventure and discovery.

These monumental statues serve as a powerful reminder of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s significance in shaping the nation’s history, making a visit to these figures a must for anyone seeking a connection to the past and the spirit of exploration.

Lewis And Clark Interpretive Center
Lewis And Clark Interpretive Center Famous Statue

To Sum It Up

If you are like me, you enjoy the weird roadside attractions that dot the United States. From the whimsical allure of the world’s only corn palace to the quirky charm of adding a fresh layer to the world’s largest ball of paint, these offbeat wonders never fail to captivate and amuse. The best part? Exploring these American roadside attractions often requires just a little of your time, offering a delightful detour from the ordinary. 

If we didn’t give you enough North Dakota gems for your next road trip, make sure you check out the Bismarck-Mandan Visitors Center. You can get information on all sorts of fun things like the North Dakota Heritage Center (another FREE attraction) and even things in nearby South Dakota like Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore.

So, buckle up and embark on a journey where unexpected encounters and free attractions await at every turn. Get ready to experience the eclectic tapestry of American roadside culture, where larger-than-life sculptures, curious oddities, and a sense of whimsy blend to create unforgettable memories along the open road.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions to visit in North Dakota?

North Dakota has several top attractions that are definitely worth a visit. Some of the most popular include Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, the International Peace Garden, and the Fargo Air Museum. If you’re interested in history, you might also want to check out Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park or the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

What is the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota?

The Enchanted Highway is a 32-mile stretch of road that runs between Regent and Gladstone in western North Dakota. Along the way, you’ll encounter a series of giant metal sculptures, including a 110-foot-tall Tin Family, a 60-foot-tall Grasshopper, and a 50-foot-tall Deer Crossing. The sculptures were created by local artist Gary Greff and are considered to be some of the most impressive roadside attractions in the country.

What are some must-see stops on a road trip through North Dakota?

If you’re planning a road trip through North Dakota, there are several must-see stops that you won’t want to miss. Some of the top attractions include the Enchanted Highway, the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You might also want to check out the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot or the Fargo Air Museum.

Are there any world record-breaking roadside attractions in North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota is home to several world record-breaking roadside attractions. Some of the most impressive include the World’s Largest Buffalo Monument in Jamestown, which stands at 26 feet tall and 46 feet long, and the World’s Largest Sandhill Crane in Steele, which stands at 40 feet tall and has a wingspan of 32 feet.

What are some popular attractions along I-94 in North Dakota?

If you’re traveling along I-94 in North Dakota, there are several popular attractions that you might want to check out. Some of the top stops include the North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck, the Bonanzaville USA Museum in West Fargo, and the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown. You might also want to take a detour to visit the Enchanted Highway or Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

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