Traveling Across the Dakotas

Posted by: Eva Prada      June 7, 2023


The Dakota Territory began life as one large area in America, but it would not last. Like many states, they just could not seem to get along, cultural and political differences drove the area to split into 2 different states. North and South Dakota were born in 1887 and have been two states ever since. The name Dakota means Friend in the Sioux language and when you visit here, it is easy to see why the states kept that name. The Dakotas are a vast set of landscapes, but the friendly people make you want to come back again and again.

Fargo, ND

Traveling across the Dakotas - FargoAlong the Red River in North Dakota sits a city of over 125,000 people. Fargo, ND is home to North Dakota State University and a whole host of other activities and attractions to keep you busy for your entire journey through this stunning part of the country. Fargo is one of the few cities that has managed to hold onto its culture as they value where they have come from. However, Fargo also offers modern ideology and thought processes, so they are not stuck in simply old school theologies.

Fargo, ND is a land of museums and cultural experiences. The Rourke Art Gallery, Bonansaville, USA, the Plains Art Museum, and the Fargo Air Museum are just a few of the many museum experiences you will want to check out while visiting this part of the country. However, Fargo is not simply known for museums, they have some of the best outdoor activities as well including the Red River Market, Northern Plains Botanical Garden Society, and The Red River Zoo. Take the kids exploring this unique and diverse land.

In Fargo, you can see a thriving city with a backdrop featuring illustrious plains, but do not think that Fargo is just for looking at. This land is made to be experienced and enjoyed. It is also meant to be raced on. Thunder Road is not just a place in one of the more famous musicals. It is an amusement park in the heart of Fargo, ND offering lazer tag, mini-golf, bumper cars, a full arcade, and yes, fast, thrilling, go-cart tracks. Take the family for a day of fun in the sun in Fargo’s best amusement park experience.

If you are visiting Fargo, ND on a romantic trip, fine dining will certainly be on your list. Mezzaluna is the premier fine dining experience in the city. It features locally sourced, regional foods brought to a contemporary level for even the most intuitive food lover. This dining experience offers a welcoming, yet sophisticated atmosphere, so make sure you don’t miss it. The Filet Minion is their specialty and most requested dish.

Bismarck, ND

Traveling across the Dakotas - Bismarck

With a thriving population of over 73,000 residents, Bismarck, ND is an excellent destination when exploring your way through the Dakotas. The city is home to the North Dakota State Capitol. Although it might not seem like a significant attraction, the Capitol building offers visitors an amazing view of the city. Climb to the top and peer out across all of Bismarck. You will feel as though you are walking directly in the footpath of explorers such as Lewis and Clark, and in fact, you are.

Bismarck is a land where you can enjoy the great outdoors and see across its vast landscape. Harmon Lake Recreation Area is in the city offering fishing, hiking, swimming, biking and so much more. Take the time to explore and revel in the great outdoors. Also, for the golf enthusiast, Hawktree Golf Club offers an exceptional golfing experience. If the club is full for the day, venture over to Mandan Municipal Golf Course for an inexpensive round of golf.

Provided your journey through the Dakotas takes place during the warmer months, you might want to find a place to cool off. North Dakota can be remarkably dry and hot during the summer. Thankfully, Bismarck offers the best place to cool off and relax in the sun. Raging Rivers Water Park features incredible water slides to keep the kids busy throughout the day and a comfortable lazy river to help the adults in the group relax as well.

Dining in Bismack is a unique experience. Although there are exceptional land-based restaurants, there are some along the river as well. The Lewis and Clark Riverboat offers nightly dinner cruises during the summer and fall. Make sure to make reservations as the cruises do fill up fast. If you are looking to dine on solid ground venture to Huckleberry House. This restaurant serves modernized versions of your favorite comfort foods with a unique Scandinavian and North Dakota flare. It is a dining experience you will not want to miss out on.

Rapid City, SD

Traveling across the Dakotas - Rapid CityIn Rapid City, SD, you will find a city of just over 74,000 people. It is known as the Gateway to the Black Hills and has come to be a true destination for any time of the year. One of the best aspects of Rapid City comes down to its location. The city is just an hour’s drive from an amazing 6 national parks. Whether you are looking to explore the Badlands or one of the other incredible parks, Rapid City is truly in the middle of it all.

When exploring Rapid City, keep in mind, this area is home to some amazing animals. The residents tend to celebrate the individuality of each of these creatures. Where some cities have a zoo for all animals, Rapid City has wildlife attractions on a more intimate level. Bear Country USA allows you to get as close as possible to the growing bear population while maintaining a safe distance. If you are a reptile enthusiast, try out the Reptile Gardens. An establishment hopelessly devoted to the education of the public about reptiles.

The weather in Rapid City is largely beautiful all year long. When visiting here, you will want to stay outside as much as possible. Sheridan Lake is the best place in town to experience all the outdoors has to offer. Hike around the lake, swim, or just enjoy a day of fishing. If your little ones desire some farm fun, Rapid City has that covered as well. Old McDonalds Farm provides a chance to look at regional farm life and sample some of the freshest produce available.

Diversity is the name of the food game in Rapid City, SD. This city is devoted to cultural food experiences from across the globe and locally as well. Everest Cuisine should be your first stop if you crave Indian food. The curries are impeccably made. For more of a regional food experience. The Delmonico Grill is named for the famous steak cut. However, you will not find a drab, outdated steakhouse. On the contrary, Delmonico Grill features a very modern ambiance and flare within their menu.

Sioux Falls, SD

Traveling across the Dakotas - Sioux FallsLooking for a larger city on your trip through the Dakotas? Look no further than Sioux Falls, SD. This city has been growing tremendously over the past few decades and has a population of just under 200,000. The history of this area dates back 14,000 years when it is said that the ice age created the falls the city is named for. Sioux Falls has attracted cultures and various people from around the globe at different times in history. There is a lot of speculation and lure surrounding this city, so come visit and see what the fuss is all about.

Sioux Falls will certainly take your breath away. The falls run along the southern part of the city and are truly remarkable. Bring a camera because you are going to need it. Sioux Falls is not just about the illustrious water feature. They also have attractions for the kids such as the Butterfly House and Aquarium. The Great Plains Zoo is located here as well and when you want to see nature in all its bounty, venture to the Good Earth State Park.

When visiting Sioux Falls, SD in the summer, there are a lot of outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming, but that does not mean the city sleeps during the winter. On the contrary. Great Bear Ski Valley is an incredible ski park that will entice and amaze. No matter if you are a seasoned pro, or just learning to ski, this place is where you need to go.

The food scene in Sioux Falls is something of legend. They enjoy a good meal here and it shows. Whether you are wanting something light form Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean or trying something new at Lalibela Restaurant, featuring classic Ethiopian food, you will not be disappointed. Sioux Falls also has some classic American eateries as well including Harvest Kitchen by Bryan and JL Beers.

Your journey through the Dakotas will take you to a lot of places. When visiting this ever-changing landscape, never neglect the opportunity to sit back and take things slower. It is about the experience, not packing every attraction into a few days. Enjoy your journey.

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