Overall North Dakota only has 13 state parks, but each of them offers a unique landscape that combines natural scenic beauty, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and long stay camping.
Taking the form of gorgeous valleys, dense woodland, beautiful prairies, shimmering lakes and raging rivers, they provide a heart warming reminder of how beautiful the world is in places.
If you live in or around Fargo, these parks are great places to go to for a day trip, weekend jaunt or a longer stay. Especially if you love activities like hiking, swimming, biking, fishing, boating, camping, cross country skiing and sledding,
Of the 13 state parks in the Peace Garden state, 5 of them stand out to us as being especially worthy of a visit. In case you are wondering what they are, we have outlined them all below in more detail.
Map of State Parks Near Fargo ND
Here is a map of the North Dakota state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Fargo
The five state parks near Fargo listed below are places we highly recommend you visit. They can all be reached within a three and a half hour drive of the city.
1. Icelandic State Park
Location: 13571 ND-5, Cavalier, ND 58220
Established in 1964, Icelandic State Park is a 912-acre park that is nestled on the shores of Lake Renwick.
Located a 2 hour and 30 minute drive north of Fargo, the park features an excellent Pioneer Heritage Center. As well as an interesting collection of restored historic buildings that provide visitors with the chance to learn about the state’s early settlement.
It also accommodates a 200-acre natural wooded area which runs along the Tongue River. Perfect for swimming, fishing and boating in the summer, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter, the park is also a lovely spot for picnics too.
Home to three seasonal camping cabins, Icelandic State Park also accommodates 140 modern campsites with electricity and water, as well as 7 group campsites and 10 primitive campsites. So you shouldn’t find to many problems in securing yourself a place to stay.
2. Turtle River State Park
Location: 3084 Park Ave NE, Arvilla, ND 58214
If you love to get out and about within nature, Turtle River State Park provides you with the opportunity to enjoy all year round recreational activities like hiking, mountain biking, fishing, sledding, cross-country skiing, camping and also picnicking.
Located a 90 minute drive north of Fargo, the park is nestled within a stunning, wooded valley which runs along the winding Turtle River.
Boasting over 12 miles of trails which meander through forested hills, the park is also known for its excellent trout fly-fishing potential.
Overall the park accommodates 65 modern campsites that come with electricity and water, as well as 26 primitive campsites and 3 modern group campsites.
3. Beaver Lake State Park
Location: 3850 70th St SE, Wishek, ND 58495
When the pace of city life in Fargo gets too much for you, Beaver Lake State Park provides an excellent escape from it.
It will take you about two hours to drive north west there from North Dakota’s capital. But once you arrive you will find a tranquil park that is tucked away on the west shore of Beaver Lake.
Set within undulating prairie, which showcases spectacular scenery, it is a lovely spot for leisurely walks. Not least along The Beaver Lake Nature Trail, a particularly lovely self-guided nature trail, which forms part of more than 5 miles of the park’s non-motorized trail system.
Boating, canoeing, water skiing, biking and fishing are also popular activities here too. While the park also features 25 modern campsites with water and electricity, as well as 3 group campsites and 5 primitive campsites for those who don’t mind roughing it a little bit. In addition, the park also has three camping cabins to stay in too, as well as a range of other essential amenities.
4. Fort Ransom State Park
Location: 5981 Walt Hjelle Pkwy, Fort Ransom, ND 58033
Taking its name from an historic military fort that dates back to the 1860s, Fort Ransom State Park is situated within the spectacular woodlands of the Sheyenne River Valley.
Reached via an 80 minute drive west of Fargo, the park incorporates a short section of the North Country National Scenic Trail.
A haven for fishing, canoeing and bird watching, Fort Ransom State Park is also one of North Dakotas few designated horse parks. Accordingly set up with 68 corrals and a range of other amenities that accommodate equestrian visitors.
Overall there are more than 20 miles of trail system within the park that are open variously throughout the year for horseback riding, hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
The park also has a number of lodging options including modern and primitive equestrian campsites, as well as modern and primitive campsites.
5. Cross Ranch State Park
Location: 1403 River Rd, Center, ND 58530
At 3 hours 30 minutes west of Fargo, Cross Ranch State Park is an excellent state park to visit for those who like adventure.
Situated along 7 miles of a largely undeveloped stretch of the Missouri River, the park is rich in both cultural and natural history.
Offering a glimpse of what the Native American population, or indeed Lewis and Clark might have seen back in their lifetimes.
Accommodating almost 17 miles of trails, the paths here can be hiked all year round, or explored by on cross country skis in the winter. Leading to a 5,000-acre nature preserve, they take you through a fabulous landscape of river bottom forests, mixed prairie grass, dense woodland areas and wandering bison.
An excellent fishing spot for trout, catfish, walleye, pike, salmon and bass, the park also offers good opportunities for canoeing and other boating activities too.
For the overnight visitor there are plenty of accommodation options as well. Including 37 modern campsites with electricity, 5 group modern campsites and 26 primitive campsites and a number of fully furnished cabins and yurts.