Get Off the Beaten Path and Find the Hidden Gems of North Dakota

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Get Off the Beaten Path and Find the Hidden Gems of North Dakota

One of my favorite ways to experience a new place is by visiting the unusual and hard-to-find hidden gems.  I like to know about the things that only locals know about or visit the extremely quirky and weird roadside attractions.  I’ve gone off the beaten path and found hidden gems in my own backyard and in brand new places.

Some may consider North Dakota off the beaten path in general and they may have good reason to think so – it is one of the most underrated states in the United States but I’ve found there is plenty of outdoor adventures and city life to be found in North Dakota.  So, while North Dakota may be a bit off the beaten path for some, I found some ways to get even more off the beaten path in the Sioux State.


Scandinavian Heritage Park

Photo Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism

The Scandinavia Heritage Park is located in Minot, North Dakota and pays homage to Scandinavians.  The park features something from each Scandinavian country – a Swedish Dala Horse, a Finnish Sauna, a Gol stave church and much more!

We love everything about Scandinavia so this is a definite hidden gem for us!

The Village of Murals

Jud, North Dakota is about 35 miles south of Jamestown and has only about 75 residents.  Normally, you would drive right through this town or blink and miss it.  But, there is one reason to visit Jud, North Dakota.  It’s known as the ‘Village of Murals.’  I love street art and murals and it’s even more unique that such a small town is known for something like this.

The Geographical Center of North America

The very center of North America, geographically speaking, sits right in Rugby, North Dakota.  The location is marked by a 15′ tall rock obelisk, a US and a Canadian flag.

Salem Sue

Photo Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism

My favorite thing – cows!  Salem Sue stands at almost 40 feet and can be found near New Salem, North Dakota.  Sue was built in 1974 and has the honor of being the World’s Largest Cow.

That’s reason enough for me to visit!

World’s Largest Buffalo

North Dakota may have the World’s Largest Cow but that’s no reason to stop.  They also claim the World’s Largest Buffalo.  Known as ‘Dakota Thunder’ the buffalo was built in 1959 and is 26 feet tall.  North Dakota really likes their large animal statues and that oddly makes me very happy.

Hilltop Viking Statue

In 1972, a Viking statue was built to honor that fact that many people in North Dakota believe to be descended from Vikings.  North Dakota is really starting to sound more and more like our kind of place.  We love, love, love Scandinavian and Viking history.

North Dakota has loads of hidden gems if you just know where to look – everything from large animal statues, outdoor gems, Scandinavian and Viking history galore, a tiny town full of murals and so much more wait for those read to get off the beaten path in North Dakota!


Do you know of any off the beaten path destinations or hidden gems in North Dakota??

**Photo used for text (text by me by Ethan Kan**

Traveler. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Vegan. Risk Taker. Voice for the Voiceless.


  1. Kemkem

    May 28, 2016 at 2:07 PM

    Love Salem Sue That l would love to see. I saw really big buffalos in India, but it might be nice to see the world’s biggest one as well 🙂 . Love how you said N.D itself might already be considered off the beaten path 🙂

  2. Marge Gavan

    May 29, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    You found many interesting places in North Dakota indeed. As a traveler, I like it more when I get to see places not frequented by people. It makes the trip more worthwhile for me. Nice list, I’m sure people who would go to North Dakota would find this helpful.

  3. travelling chingrita

    May 29, 2016 at 8:12 PM

    I would have never thought that North Dakota was the center of North America. I do think it’s pretty cool that they put the Canadian and American flag to mark it. Sounds like I need to make my way back to the mid-west pretty soon! I really enjoyed South Dakota but North Dakota looks like it has some sweet spots

  4. Aisha

    May 29, 2016 at 9:08 PM

    Pretty cool. I definitely would visit the Scandinavian gem!

  5. Carmen's Luxury Travel

    May 29, 2016 at 10:46 PM

    I love hidden, funky sights like these! The village of murals sounds cool. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂

  6. Jessica

    May 30, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    Interesting spots. I love most the SCANDINAVIAN HERITAGE PARK. A direct travel guide which I guess most travelers want.

  7. Tom Stevenson

    May 30, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    Would not have thought there was a Scandinavian Heritage Park in North Dakota. Surprising what you can find in some places!

  8. elisa

    May 30, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    This looks really exotic!

  9. Nathan

    May 30, 2016 at 8:05 PM

    I’ve never considered going there but these pics make it look awesome. I’ll have to check into it soon!

  10. melody pittman

    May 31, 2016 at 8:13 AM

    ND has been on my radar for a few years now so you know I am trying to follow right in your footsteps, especially getting my picture made with the worlds tallest buffalo. I love cheesy things like that!

  11. Sher

    May 31, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    wow never thought of visiting north dakota but it sounds so interesting i’ll have to check it out!


  12. Tami

    June 11, 2016 at 12:35 PM

    I guess you can probably find hidden gems just about anywhere! But it takes a little extra work and research. This is a fun list of North Dakota finds–keep sharing all the hidden gems you find!

  13. Rodrigo

    June 11, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    Never been to North Dakota, but your post really inspired me to put it on my list!

  14. Stephanie Siu

    June 11, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    I can honestly say that I never considered there would be much to see in North Dakota. I’m surprised there is a Scandinavian Heritage Park. Is there a large Scandinavian population in North Dakota?

  15. Lara Dunning

    June 11, 2016 at 7:20 PM

    I would love to see the Scandinavian village. How cool!

  16. Christine Maguire (@thetraveloguer)

    June 12, 2016 at 5:33 AM

    Cool, I would like to see North Dakota some day.

  17. Carly Moore

    June 12, 2016 at 6:25 AM

    I don’t even know where North Dakote is in the USA <_< But I'd go just to see the big cow.

  18. Nathan

    June 12, 2016 at 7:06 PM

    I’ve never considered visiting N Dakota before but after this post I may have to! Great job.

  19. Paul

    June 13, 2016 at 3:41 AM

    It’s always great seeking out the hidden gems of places, and it always amazes me the scale of some of the states in America, can’t wait to do a road trip one day!

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