Bismarck North Dakota - A Family Fun Destination!

Bismarck North Dakota, probably not your first idea for a family vacation, but this great city has so much to offer travelers and If you plan on skipping the great Mid-West this summer, you are choosing to skip destinations steeped rich in history, hidden fun treasures, beautiful landscapes, nature like you’ve never seen, and so much more. So let me take you on a journey through Bismarck and you’ll see all that this great city has to make a great family vacation!

On your way into Bismarck there is one stop that can’t be missed! After all how often do you run into a huge abbey in the middle of a small town?
ASSUMPTION ABBEY: Assumption Abbey is a Benedictine monastery.

Inside you will see a beautifully decorated Romanesque Abbey Church. Assumption Abbey truly is a remarkable site and quite striking. You will feel as if you have been transported to somewhere in Europe! Plan on at least an hour to really soak it all in.

ENCHANTED HIGHWAY: Also on the way to Bismarck is the Enchanted Highway. This is one of those amazing road trip finds that you just have to see to believe. Along this stretch of road you will find some of the most amazing metal sculptures you will ever see.

In 1989 Gary Greff's wanted to revive his hometown Regent North Dakota and took on this monumental project to get tourist to head down the road!
The Enchanted Highway is populated with amazingly large metal sculptures of a family, grasshoppers, pheasants and more. The “folk art” figures are spaced along a stretch of highway from the I-94 south to Regent.

Kids will love these huge sculptures and they make some of the best photo ops!

Once in Bismarck here are some great restaurant options to check out:

Recommended Dining: Peacock Alley, Sickies Garage, Lucky Duck’s Deli, Little Cottage Café, La Carreta, Station West, Frieds Family Diner, Kroll's Diner, Boneshaker Coffee and Terra Nomad.

Our family ate at Kroll’s Diner and loved it! This isn’t your typical American diner as it serves German dishes as well (these are amazing and a must-try!) This was some amazing food and I can’t wait to get back and try some new dishes! Casual, great prices, kid friendly and amazing food; what more could you want?!

FORT ABRAHAM LINCOLN STATE PARK: 7 miles south of Mandan on Highway 1806 or take the Fort Lincoln Trolley to the park.  977-acres located on the Missouri River’s banks south of Mandan.  The history goes back over 300 years when it was home to the Mandan Indians. Site of a military garrison in the mid-to late 1800s. Exhibits relate to the life of the Mandan Indians and the military history of the fort. This is a great place to add some history to your vacation and sneak in a little bit of learning for the kiddos. I found it to be a beautiful park and our family loved just hanging out for the afternoon.

One part of the park that can’t be missed is the Slant Indian Village. Here you will find recreations of what the Indian villages looked like. These massive huts are fascinating to look at and kids will get a real look at what it was like to be in the village.

FORT LINCOLN TROLLEY: Restored trolley car offers a round-trip ride to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Daily trips to the park running on the hour.

Located in the Fort Lincoln State Park is ON-A-SLANT INDIAN VILLAGE, this village was once home to a thriving Mandan Indian population. Reconstructed earth lodges of the Mandan Indians at On-A-Slant Indian Village.  THE CUSTER HOUSE, tour the home of General George & Libbie Custer. Reconstructed commissary storehouse, granary, barracks and stables.  This was the last home and command of General George Armstrong Custer.

It was from here that Custer and his 7th Cavalry rode to meet their fate at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. FORT MCKEEN BLOCKHOUSES, infantry blockhouses set high on the bluffs over-looking the Missouri River. Same vantage point early cavalry soldiers had as they viewed the wide expanse of the Missouri River.

LEWIS AND CLARK RIVERBOAT: I love riverboats! They are always really relaxing and give you a different look at the towns and cities as you float by. The Lewis and Clark Riverboat is a fantastic little ride down the Missouri River. While on board you will hear interesting information about the area and its past. This is a really fun activity for the whole family. 

NORTH DAKOTA STATE CAPITOL: I love checking out state capitals and seeing what type of architecture they have. For the North Dakota State Capital it is a 19-story, art deco building that was constructed in the early 1930s, often referred to as the “Skyscraper of the Prairie,” contains unique woods and materials from many states and countries. Tours are available and admission is free!

STATE MUSEUM at the NORTH DAKOTA HERITAGE CENTER: right next to the capital you will find this amazing museum. Take a tour of the state's largest museum expansion with newly opened galleries and amazed by all the cool exhibits! 
DAKOTA ZOO: If you are looking for something fun for the kiddos the zoo is always a good bet! This is North Dakota’s largest zoo is home to more than 500 reptiles, birds and mammals.

If you Travel north via US-Hwy 85 to WASHBURN you will find the LEWIS & CLARK INTERPRETIVE CENTER:

LEWIS & CLARK INTERPRETIVE CENTER: This world-class interpretive site along the route Lewis and Clark traveled almost 200 years ago. Bergquist Gallery features a rare set of the printed artworks of Swiss artist Karl Bodmer. Fort Clark Exhibit presents information on steamboats, frontier trade and American Indian culture. You will also find the reconstructed site of Fort Mandan here.

As you can see Bismarck and its surrounding areas is packed full of amazing fun for the whole family. Not only is this a great family vacation destination, but one that the whole family won’t soon forget!

A big thank you to North Dakota Tourism and partners for hosting our family in order to facilitate this review, all opinions are my own.


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