North Dakota State Parks Activities
Camping in North Dakota State Parks
North Dakota offers a wide range of campsites for camping, from lakeside grounds to rustic experiences in the backcountry. The small 80-acre Sully Creek State Park is one of the more popular destinations, featuring an abundance of nature trails and camping spots equipped with the most modern of amenities.
Fort Stevenson State Park is another crowd favorite. Situated on the north shore of Lake Sakakawea, this park is perfect for those who enjoy lakeside camping and recreational activities on the water. Explore North Dakota’s beautiful prairie landscapes here!
Meanwhile, the southeastern shore of Lake Sakakawea features Lake Sakakawea State Park, which offers a large and sprawling campground that has more than 200 tent and RV sites. This is definitely a must-visit spot for camping enthusiasts.
Those who want to wake up to the stunning scenery of the Missouri River would do well to camp at Cross Ranch State Park, which has over 42 drive-in tent and RV sites, as well as a couple of yurts and fully-equipped cabins that may be rented in advance. However, if you’re looking for a more rustic experience, then check out the park’s primitive sites where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of North Dakota’s rolling prairies and roaming buffaloes.
Hiking in North Dakota State Parks
If you want to explore extensive prairies unique to North Dakota, then head over to Little Missouri State Park where more than 25 miles of trails crisscross the park’s awe-inspiring Badlands terrain. Keep an eye out for the bobcats, mule deer, and golden eagles that are known to frequent the area.
Fishing in North Dakota State Parks
North Dakota is renowned all over the United States for its abundance of incredible fishing holes. One of the most popular is Lake Sakakawea State Park; the cool waters of Lake Sakakawea boast of walleye and northern pike, as well as rarities that can’t be found anywhere else in the state, like salmon and trout.
Lake Metigoshe at Lake Metigoshe State Park has some of the cleanest water in North Dakota so you know that fishing opportunities here are top-notch! At this park, anglers love to cast their lines for a chance to reel in some perch, bluegill, walleye, and even pike.
Geocaching in North Dakota State Parks
Geocaches can be found in a great many places within the Peace Garden State; try looking for some at Cross Ranch State Park, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Lewis and Clark State Park, and Turtle River State Park.
Hunting in North Dakota State Parks
Bowhunting for either antlered or antlerless deer is permitted at Fort Stevenson State Park although keep in mind that hunters are required to apply for a special park permit before doing so. Additionally, they also have to present a valid North Dakota bow license, as well as an unused tag to qualify for these permits.
Graham’s Island State Park also offers avid hunters the chance to harvest deer during the bow, gun, and muzzleloader seasons. Be advised that the park is closed to all visitors except hunters during the deer gun season, which usually runs for three weeks in November.
Day Use Areas in North Dakota State Parks
Guests love to lay their spread by Lake Sakakawea at Lake Sakakawea State Park where they can take in stunning views of the surrounding natural landscapes as they enjoy their meal.
Those looking for the perfect lakeside picnic excursion should also check out the spots at Icelandic State Park, located near the town of Cavalier. A favorite among residents of North Dakota, picnicking amid the tranquil atmosphere of this park is the perfect way to unwind after a stressful week.
Biking in North Dakota State Parks
Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely ride along a paved bike trail or you’re itching to take on exciting rugged terrain, North Dakota has you covered for cycling! At Beaver Lake State Park, nearly five miles of mountain biking trails can be found. Featuring natural obstacles, diverse routes, and steep drops, this park is the ideal destination for riders who are up for a challenge.
Cross Ranch State Park boasts of an even better mountain biking challenge with over 14 miles of trails! Steep twists, challenging curves, and spine-tingling descents make this park a favorite among intermediate riders.
Those who are into mountain biking should also check out the trails found at Fort Ransom State Park, and Fort Stevenson State Park.
If you’re in the mood for a laid-back cruise, however, then head over to Lake Metigoshe State Park where an 11-mile paved loop can be found. This runs parallel to the Lake Loop Road and takes riders through the many breathtaking scenery found within the park.
The nearly three-mile Missouri Valley Millennium Legacy Trail is an interesting route that connects guests of Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park to the many historical and cultural sites situated along the Missouri River. Those of you looking to explore the wonders of North Dakota will definitely love this trail!
Boating in North Dakota State Parks
The abundance of beautiful lakes in North Dakota makes the Peace Garden State the perfect destination for boating enthusiasts. The 180-mile long man-made Lake Sakakawea, in particular, is a crowd favorite. Situated within Lake Sakakawea State Park and stretching through six different counties, the views from this lake are unmatched.
The clear waters of Lake Metigoshe at Lake Metigoshe State Park is another popular boating spot. Surrounded by towering oak trees and with many small bodies of water scattered around, this lake is perfect for those wishing to spend a lazy afternoon on the water.
Bird Watching in North Dakota State Parks
Located in the northeastern part of North Dakota, Icelandic State Park is home to a great many varieties of birds, thanks to its unique habitats consisting of moist forests of oak, basswood, elm, and ironwood. Avid Birders will certainly hear the drumming of the Ruffed Grouse, as well as the high-pitched trilling of the Veery. Other notable species that can be found at this park include the Eastern Wood-pewee, the Great Crested Flycatcher, the Northern Waterthrush, and the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Without a doubt, this park is a must-visit for Bird-watching enthusiasts vacationing in North Dakota!
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Beaches in North Dakota State Parks
If you want a peaceful swim in crystal-clear waters, then head over to the breathtaking Lake Metigoshe at Lake Metigoshe State Park. The serene atmosphere here is great for those looking for some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Situated within Beaver Lake State Park is Beaver Lake, another beautiful swimming hole in North Dakota. With plenty of recreational water sports, including water skiing, this park is a favorite among enthusiastic and adventurous guests.
Horseback Riding in North Dakota State Parks
North Dakota features a number of excellent equestrian amenities, as well as plenty of trails to explore by horseback. Sully Creek State Park is a prime destination for avid equestrians with its horse corrals and primitive camping facilities. The park’s trails connect with those on the nearby Little Missouri National Grassland, giving guests an excellent opportunity to see natural landscapes unique to this part of the Peace Garden State.
Over 25 miles of trails meander through Badlands terrain of the 6,000-acre Little Missouri State Park. The park also features corrals for those bringing their own horses so you won’t have to worry about your beloved mount.
Multi-use trails that will take you through incredible rolling hills are found at Lake Metigoshe State Park. Nestled below Turtle Mountains on the shores of Lake Metigoshe, this park is a great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of North Dakota.
Recreational Equipment Rentals in North Dakota State Parks
If you’re looking to rent recreational equipment, then Fort Stevenson State Park should be your number one destination. The park offers a number of them, including aqua pads, fat-tire bicycles, canoes, cross-country skis, kayaks, kicksleds, motorized boats, paddle boats, paddleboards, and even snowshoes. With such a long list of available rentals, no wonder guests at this park never want to leave!
Additionally, kayak rentals are also available at Icelandic State Park, Fort Ransom State Park, and Lewis and Clark State Park.
On the other hand, guests wishing to try their hand at winter sports may rent snowshoes and cross-country skis at Lake Metigoshe State Park and Cross Ranch State Park.
Museums in North Dakota State Parks
Guests at Icelandic State Park should stop by the Pioneer Heritage Center, as well as the many restored historical buildings found within.
If you’re interested in exploring more of North Dakota’s rich past, then check out Fort Abraham Lincoln Park too where the On-A-Slant Mandan Indian Village is situated. The fort also served as the home of General Custer’s 7th Cavalry so history buffs will definitely love exploring this park.
Winter Sports in North Dakota State Parks
With cabin rentals for a romantic winter getaway, as well as an extensive trail system great for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowy hikes, Cross Ranch State Park is undoubtedly a winter paradise!
If you’re looking to try out ice fishing, however, then check out Lake Metigoshe State Park and Icelandic State Park, both of which are renowned for their facilities that support this popular winter activity.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in North Dakota State Parks
Lake Sakakawea, an enormous reservoir created by a dam, is the prime diving spot in all of North Dakota. Keep an eye out for the diverse fish species and sloping boulders found underwater. Located within Lake Sakakawea State Park, this is a bucket-list destination for diving enthusiasts!
Orienteering in North Dakota State Parks
Lake Metigoshe State Park features an Outdoor Learning Center, which offers tons of activities, including a sensory hike, a botany tour, and a permanent orienteering course. This program is one of the main reasons why the park is extremely popular among families with young kids!