Winter in North Dakota is a time to be embraced


A Night in the North Dakota Heritage Center

Once the chill of winter sets in, North Dakotans and visitors who enjoy outdoors in some fashion regardless of the conditions are still going to ski, hike, fish and snowmobile. Others, however, wait for a warm-up indoors, in museums like the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. Let Theodore Roosevelt and Josh Duhamel show you around.

Winter in North Dakota is a time to be embraced

Winter provides outdoor and indoor opportunities for recreation, culinary delicacies and special festivals designed specifically for winter fun. For instance, there are three ways to enjoy ice here.

  • No. 1: University of North Dakota hockey. Relax – or don’t – as you cheer on the University of North Dakota hockey team from the comforts of your leather seats at palatial Ralph Engelstad Arena.
  • No. 2: Ice fishing. All of North Dakota is a great fishery but one area is of particular interest to winter anglers from all around the world. Devils Lake is the No. 1 destination for North American ice fishing. More than 15,000 anglers team up with guides each winter. Most visitors book fishing all-inclusive packages via the resorts, motels or guide services, while other go the do-it-yourself route. There’s not right or wrong way. Click here for more on Devils Lake information and click here for more North Dakota ice fishing.
  • No. 3: Beverages on ice. Craft breweries and local wineries are the rage now and North Dakota is no exception. Grab some friends and head to a nearby winery or taphouse.

North of Normal Fargo and sister cities West Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., have decided to embrace winter – all of it. What started out as a weekend event in the middle of winter has become a six-week celebration. Frostival will include games and activities between Jan. 15 and Dec. 22, 2020. After all, “Cold is Cool.” After day of racing cardboard sled races, building snow sculptures and playing kickball, put on a hat and ham it up for photo with the woodchipper from the movie “Fargo.” Then head downtown for great restaurants, breweries, museums, galleries, shops and accommodations.

Few things are cooler than the woodchipper, the sight of old Ebeneezer Scrooge buying a Christmas turkey for Tiny Tim is right up there. Watch it happen on weekends this winter as part Garrison’s Dickens Village Festival. For three weekends – Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 13-14 – the town transforms itself into Dickens-era London, complete with a double-decker “Queen Elizabus”

Meanwhile, in the Badlands, deer and horses and bison that usually blend into the surroundings are easier to see with a blanket of snow over the rugged terrain. In fact, winter is one of the best times to view wildlife in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Lodging, fuel and food can be found outside the park in Medora or Watford City.

For those looking for something a little warmer, North Dakota museums run the gamut, from the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora to the Plains Art Museum in Fargo and the Badlands Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson.

Looking for the perfect place to hang your hat?

Dust off your boots and stay at the ranch like Coreau des Prairies (above), enjoy a restful night at a unique boutique hotel or camp out under the stars.

  • Black Leg Ranch is the best, high end, full service.  Honey moon suites, cabins, etc.  No glamping yet.
  • Yurting in North Dakota State Parks.  Must bring own bedding and food though… three state parks feature yurts as part of their lodging packages.
  • Hotel Donaldson is located downtown Fargo.  Boutique style property where all 17 suites are designed around the work of a different regional artist. Sculptors, painters, photographers, modern artists…
  • Woodland Resort on Devils Lake is a full service resort with a restaurant, cabins, motel, campground, bait shop, and boat rental.
  • Coteau des Prairie – full service lodge in SE North Dakota – Perched on the northernmost ridge of the Coteau des Prairies, where the breathtaking view is second to none, prairie farms and fields unfold from below like a patchwork quilt.
  • Lady on the Lake B&B – Located on the North Shore of Lake Elsie. A truly romantic respite steeped in history and comfort has 5 acres and 463 feet of private shoreline.
  • Enchanted Castle – on the Enchanted Highway – 19 room hotel in the old Regent school lounge, restaurant & steak house.
  • Riverdale High Lodge. Full hotel and restaurant in the old school in Riverdale, near Lake Sakakawea!

Find more accommodations at “Places to Stay.

For more information, visit:

Photos: North Dakota Tourism