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Happy New Year! What are your vacation resolutions?

This is the time of year that’s full of vows for self improvement. I admit that I’m doing it. And if you’re making resolutions too here’s one to add to the list: Resolve to use your vacation time this year on actual vacations. In 2011, about 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of the year and most of them left an average of 11 days unused. (CNN Money) But research is showing that if you want to stay healthy – take a vacation!

www.LuvND.comLast November, the North Dakota Ambassador program launched a lighthearted “bucket list” of fun things to see and do in North Dakota – it’s called “123 Ways to Luv ND“. This list was inspired by people, places, activities and accolades that North Dakotans love about the state. I personally think it’s also a fun way to inspire visiting North Dakota! Here you can get a taste of a few submitted favorites with the opportunity to learn more.

The “123 Ways to Luv ND” promotion also has me personally thinking about my North Dakota bucket list for 2013. While I have some personal favorites that I try to make it to each year (UND hockey being one of them and the Medora Musical), my family does try to make to different parts of the state and experience new things. Here are a few that I’m hoping to have on the calendar:

  1. Camp on Lake Sakakawea … but I’d “settle” for fishing the lake and staying at Riverdale High Lodge too. 🙂
  2. Run events at the Fargo Marathon and Bismarck Marathon. And maybe the Uff Da Mud Run in Grand Forks!
  3. Visit the Coteau des Prairie Lodge south of Rutland in the summer and see how far I can see from the “perch.”
  4. In high school, I was a tour guide at the Bagg Bonanza Farm near Mooreton and I really want to bring the family for the first time and see how much the more this National Historic Site has been preserved.

My husband says that he would add to the list:

  1. Stay at Woodland’s Resort and fish Devils Lake.
  2. Do some ice fishing.
  3. Coyote hunting.

(I think he may have a one-track mind.)

So … what’s on your vacation-resolution list for 2013?!?

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Just for Fun

 

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So much to look forward to in 2012

As you’re getting ready to turn that calendar to a new year, grab your pen and start making plans to check out some new attractions and activities in North Dakota!

The International Peace Garden in the Turtle Mountains is known for its beauty, tranquility and symbolism. It’s a popular destination in the summer and now travelers can enjoy it in the winter. The Peace Garden has an extensive network of trails accessible for snowshoeing.  Snowshoes, walking poles and bindings can be rented from the interpretive center.  The interpretive center and conservatory are open year round.

The Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University is dedicated to preserving the legacy of America’s 26th President. A new presidential digital library gives scholars and visitors a new way to be inspired by Roosevelt.  Visit online or in-person – but be sure to package your visit with Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Always wanted to fish the Missouri River in the winter but your boat is stored away? No problem. Sakakawea Guide Service now offers unique houseboats with an opportunity to fish the Garrison Dam tailrace throughout the winter months.

Rolling Plains Adventures, near Bismarck, hosts guided hunts and ranch vacations and a new Grand Lodge will open in 2012. Based on Black Leg Ranch, the fifth generation ranchers/owners help guests discover ranch life with horseback riding and cattle drives plus home-cooked meals.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center expansion is slated to be open in February showcasing a new event center, library and production studio. More exhibits tell the story of the Corps of Discovery and others who journeyed through (now) North Dakota.  The Center is located in Washburn.

Also scheduled to be open in February is the new Enchanted Castle, a 20-room lodging facility in Regent – known as one stop along the Enchanted Highway. The front of the new hotel will have the appearance of a castle. Walk across the moat to enter the property.

Stay tuned for more great things coming to North Dakota in 2012.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Attractions, ND in the News, North Dakota Buzz

 

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Fargo AirSho takes flight this weekend

Me circa 1995 - a ride on a stunt plane at the Fargo AirSho

In 1995, I was an intern reporter for The Forum and had the unique opportunity to fly in a two-person, bi-wing, aerobatic plane – one of the Pitts S-2B aircraft in the Sierra Aces Aerobatic Team performing that year.  The ride was thrilling – to say the least.

The Sierra Aces won’t be performing in Fargo this year, but the renowned US Navy Blue Angels will be, along with War Birds, Blackhawks and other stunt pilots and teams.  More than 15,000 spectators are expected each day of the show – taking place Saturday and Sunday, August 13-14, at the Hector International Airport in north Fargo.

The Fargo AirSho has an incredible schedule and good forecast ahead of it.  Visitors will find interesting aviation exhibits and tours and should also consider stopping by the Fargo Air Museum.

The FM RedHawks also have a home stand this weekend against Minnesota rivals the St. Paul Saints.  Tickets are still available.  For more great options in Fargo-Moorhead, stop by the Convention and Visitors Bureau – featuring the original woodchipper from the movie Fargo.

If vacationing takes you across the state – find many more things to do at www.NDtourism.com.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Events, Family Fun

 

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Summer travel tips

If you’re traveling North Dakota this summer, look for state tourism personnel in unlikely places – like rest areas and gas stations.  We’ll be out-of-the-office Fridays in July, providing traveler assistance in terms of route and destination information as well as asking for brief travel information – like how long you’ve been planning your trip and if you’re traveling for business or pleasure.

And speaking of travel tips – here are a few resources to keep in mind as you’re planning your summer getaway.

Several travelers have been asking about flooding affecting their favorite North Dakota city or attraction.  The Tourism Division is keeping tabs on all affected routes and sites.  If you have questions, we can help.  Call our travel counselors at 1-800-435-5663.  Here are some hot updates:

For more North Dakota news – be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

And a quick “congratulations” to North Dakotan Amy Anderson who finished 63rd in her first professional golf tournament – the U.S. Women’s Open.  Golf the legendary courses that Amy has played in North Dakota – affordable, accessible, scenic golf in the state with the most courses per capita.

 

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Devils Lake – worth every moment

Last week, some co-workers and I had the opportunity to spend two days in Devils Lake and in short: those two days went far too fast.  We had an exclusive aerial tour of the lake, visited Sullys Hill, the Fort Totten State Historic Site, Spirit Lake Casino and the Lake Region Heritage Center.  We ate well (thank you Woodland Resort), slept well (thank you Fireside Inn) did a bit of shopping and got to go FISHING.

Our fabulous guides, Suzie and Katie from the Devils Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked each person in our group what their favorite thing was on the trip and they heard all experiences echoed back.  Devils Lake has a reputation for being one of the best walleye, pike and perch fisheries in the U.S.  It has a mystique, being one of the largest natural lakes in the nation that in the last 20 years has risen nearly 30-feet and is now a 3,810 square-mile basin.  Although known for fish and water – Devils Lake has many cool visitor experiences.

We did not have the time to get everywhere, nor did we have a lot of time to spend at each location.  But what we got to do was fun!  Here’s a glimpse at our experiences:

  1. Sullys Hill National Game Preserve is a birders paradise with numerous viewing stations and opportunity for photography.  Portions of the auto tour are currently closed due to the high water, but trails are open including a 2,000-foot wheelchair accessible trail.  The new visitors center is currently open by appointment.  Just call ahead to make arrangements.
  2. Fort Totten State Historic Site was a military post, a boarding school, a Native American health care facility and a reservation school and visitors can explore the grounds and all of those unique stories.  A beautiful new exhibit in the visitors center has recently opened.
  3. The Lake Region Heritage Center is a gem – there’s a perfectly preserved federal courtroom, a U.S. marshall’s office complete with “holding cell,” a reassembled rural church, a barbershop, a dentist office, displays of Native American culture and much more.  When visiting “Lil’s room” be sure to ask about the ghost story!!
  4. The fishing!!!  Seven of us split up between two boats and two top-secret locations.  In our 3 hours on the water we caught two limits of walleyes and caught-released countless northern pike.  Our guide, Jason Mitchell, had to practically force us off the water.  Check out these “smiles”!

There is road construction on several routes in and around Devils Lake.  Visitors should be prepared for delays and are welcome to check road reports with the Dept. of TransportationGrahams Island State Park is open for camping, but the road to Grahams Island may be subject to closing.  Visitors are reminded just to plan ahead as to not let anything disrupt an awesome experience.

 

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North Dakota Travel Updates

Don't let Mother Nature mess with your vacation plans. Events like the Fargo Ribfest are coming soon and most attractions are OPEN!

It’s the season of Legendary fun!  Whether you’re seeking to follow the footsteps of North Dakota legends like Theodore Roosevelt or Lewis and Clark, or blaze your own trail of discovery North Dakota has so much to discover.  As you’re planning, we’d like to share a variety of updates and travel resources.  Unfortunately, North Dakota has also been affected by some of the severe weather impacting the U.S.  Rest assured, there’s plenty to see, do and explore and our fabulous travel counselors can help answer any questions you may have during your planning and traveling.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora).  Campgrounds are closed, but will be reopened as soon as waters from the Little Missouri River (nicknamed the Little Muddy) recede.

The Chateau de Mores State Historic Site will reopen for the season on June 1.  Bully Pulpit Golf Course is currently closed but workers are quickly cleaning the course.  All other Medora attractions are open.  The Medora Musical will open as scheduled June 10.

Missouri River and Bismarck-Mandan

Due to unprecedented record and late snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, record inflows of water have raised Lake Sakakawea resulting in extreme releases from the Garrison Dam and into the Missouri River.  Fishermen are still getting out on the river and need to be aware of the no-wake zone from the Garrison Dam to the McLean Bottoms/headwaters of Lake Oahe.

In Bismarck-Mandan, there are closures at the Dakota Zoo, Riverwood Golf Course, the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, boat ramps and recreational trails.  You can find information at the Bismarck Parks and Recreation office and get information on other attractions, events and lodging at the Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Minot

Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot

Record rainfall amounts have caused flooding along the Souris River and into Minot.  The Minot Convention and Visitors Bureau is working hard to assist travelers and the Minot community.  The Roosevelt Park Zoo is temporarily closed; most visitor services remain open.  Please call ahead to verify your travel plans at this time.

Statewide Information

If camping is part of your travel plan, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is keeping tabs on affected state parks, trails and campgrounds.  Likewise, the North Dakota Department of Transportation has travel maps to help guide you.

The message:  Please just plan ahead to make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch!  We hope your North Dakota trip is a great adventure for all the right reasons! For updates on travel information AND fun events – be sure to “like” Travel North Dakota on facebook and @TravelND on twitter

 

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Memorial Day Weekend Travel Updates

Kicking off your summer with a Memorial Day Weekend vacation?  North Dakota Tourism invites you to have some Legendary fun!  As you’re planning, we’d like to share a variety of updates and travel resources.  Certain parts of the state are experiencing the joys of Mother Nature – but rest assured, there’s plenty to see, do and explore.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora).  Campgrounds are closed, but will be reopened as soon as waters from the Little Missouri River (nicknamed the Little Muddy) recede.

Record water levels in Medora are currently affecting access to Bully Pulpit Golf Course and the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site.  Please call ahead to check the status of attractions in Medora as you’re planning your trip.  The Medora Musical will open as scheduled June 10.

Missouri River and Bismarck-Mandan

Due to unprecedented record and late snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, record inflows of water have raised Lake Sakakawea resulting in extreme releases from the Garrison Dam and into the Missouri River.  Fishermen are still getting out on the river and just need to be aware of the no-wake zone from the Garrison Dam to the McLean Bottoms/headwaters of Lake Oahe.

In Bismarck-Mandan, there are closures at the Dakota Zoo, Riverwood Golf Course, the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, boat ramps and recreational trails.  You can find information at the Bismarck Parks and Recreation office and get information on other attractions, events and lodging at the Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Statewide Information

If camping is part of your travel plan, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is keeping tabs on affected state parks, trails and campgrounds.  Likewise, the North Dakota Department of Transportation has travel maps to help guide you.

The message:  Please just plan ahead to make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch!  We hope your North Dakota trip is a great adventure for all the right reasons!  For example, consider some of the FUN to be had this weekend:

For updates on travel information AND fun events – be sure to “like” Travel North Dakota on facebook and @TravelND on twitter.

 

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A cultural vacation

Sometimes when people travel, you’ll hear them talk about immersing themselves in the culture.  Or that they might even be taking a cultural vacation.  In fact, one of the top travel trends in the U.S. is “history and culture” vacations.  But what does that mean?  And could you even be doing it without knowing?

The types of cultural experiences found in North Dakota vary.  Our Culture & Heritage Trail Guide is a free publication dedicated to five themes found in a North Dakota vacation experience.  You can request this publication online or by calling 1-800-435-5663.  The themes you’ll read about include:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Wildlife & Wonders
  • Heritage & Heroes
  • The Lewis & Clark Trail
  • Ranches, Farms & Gardens

The types of culture found in North Dakota is far ranging and includes celebrations of immigrant cultures, like the Ukrainian Festival in Dickinson (July 22-24), the Deuce of August Icelandic Celebration in Mountain (July 29-31) and North America’s largest Scandinavian Festival, Norsk Hostfest in Minot (September 27-October 1).

There are celebrations of western culture, like the  Taylor Horsefest (July 29-30), the Wild West Shootouts at the Frontier Village in Jamestown and Tatanka Festival (July 7-10) and the popular Medora Musical (nightly June 10-September 10).

You can also explore Native American culture at the Northern Great Plains Culture Fest (July 30-31) and the magnificent UTTC International Powwow (September 8-11).

And if you’re looking for history, you’ve visited the right place.  North Dakota is where legends were made and you can follow the Trail of Lewis & Clark, visit Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin in a national park named for him, see the home of Sakakawea, the fort of General Custer, the headdress of Sitting Bull, a museum dedicated to Roger Maris and even the birthplace of Lawrence Welk.

You are invited to visit, explore and enjoy North Dakota’s history and culture.  From one of the oldest standing structures built by immigrants to a botanical garden commemorating international peace – there’s a diverse and fun trail waiting for you in North Dakota.

 
 

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A vacation that’s good for you

Photo by Duane Strand

You likely already know that a vacation has a lot of great health benefits.  People who participate in leisure activities have been found to have lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and smaller waistlines.  Today, Gallup reported the states with the highest wellbeing – evaluated on a wellbeing index of: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access.  North Dakota has the #3 highest wellbeing in the U.S.  Theoretically, vacationing in North Dakota could be extra good for your health!  We’re called the friendliest state by Oxford University, ranked the most affordable vacation destination by AAA, and have plenty of scenic vistas and active pursuits to both call the nerves and get the blood pumping.  Start planning your trip for good wellbeing at NDtourism.com.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in ND in the News

 

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2011 Guides Unveiled – Get Yours for Free

Governor Jack Dalrymple and North Dakota Tourism unveiled the 2011 Travel Guide and Hunting & Fishing Guide today, and previewed the 2011-2013 state highway map which will be available later this month.  The new publications are available at no cost and showcase a wide array of adventure, activities, events and accommodations in North Dakota.

Wondering where you can golfBoating access points?  National and state parks with campgrounds?  Scenic bywaysSnowmobile and ski trailsConcert venuesHotels?  Yes – you can get that information and more in these helpful guides.  An online and mobile version of the Travel Guide will also be available soon.

Ordering is easy, just visit www.ndtourism.com and click the Free Brochures link.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Events, North Dakota Buzz

 

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