Culture and Heritage in North Dakota
Fly Drive Holidays
21 nights in the GREAT American West
21 nights in the GREAT American West
DAY 1 – Fly to Minneapolis, Minnesota
Arrive in Minneapolis and collect your rental car in preparation for the next day. Settle in at your hotel for dinner, or, venture into the city for dinner & drinks to explore the nightlife.
Overnight: Minneapolis, Minnesota
DAY 2 – Minneapolis to Fargo, North Dakota (250miles – 4hrs)
In the morning, depart for Fargo, North Dakota. Settled on the Minnesota-North Dakota border, this thriving university city is home to a bustling downtown and a number of attractions including Red River Zoo, Fargo Air Museum and the world-famous wood chipper from the movie named after the city. Fargo is also proud of its Nordic heritage which is preserved at the Heritage-Hjemkomst Center. If you like a tipple then don’t miss the local microbreweries!
Overnight: Fargo, North Dakota
DAY 3 – Fargo to Bismarck, North Dakota (200miles – 3hrs)
On your way to Bismarck, stop in Jamestown to see the world’s largest buffalo; a 60 tonne concreate statue standing at 26 feet tall. The neighbouring National Buffalo Museum is home to a live herd and you can learn the history of the rare white bison in the museum. The twin cities of Bismarck and Mandan are divided by the Missouri river. Bismarck includes the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. Cross the river into Mandan and visit the Native American Earth Lodges, or walk in the footsteps of General Custer at Fort Abraham Lincoln.
Overnight: Bismarck, North Dakota
DAY 4 – Bismarck to Medora, North Dakota (130miles – 2hrs)
Start your journey west, towards Medora, detouring at exit 72 to experience the Enchanted Highway, a 32mile stretch lined with large metal sculptures, ending in Regent where you will find a gift shop containing mini versions of your favourites. In Medora spend an afternoon strolling the streets and local sites, catch up with The Roosevelts on the Joe Ferris General Store Lawn or visit the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Enjoy dinner at the nationally acclaimed Pitchfork Steak Fondue followed by a the rootin-tootin, boot-scootin outdoor Medora Musical!
Overnight: Medora, North Dakota
DAY 5 – Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Enjoy a leisurely day exploring Theodore Roosevelt National Park along the 36-mile scenic drive– spotting its wildlife and walking along the meandering Missouri River. Stop at the Maltese Cross cabin and visitor centre to experience Roosevelt’s early life as a rancher in the area. Take a drive through the North Dakota Badlands to view the impressive natural erosion caused by wind, rain and fire.
Overnight: Medora, North Dakota
DAY 6 – Medora o Billings, Montana (280miles – 4hrs)
Make your way west into Montana and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument which serves as a symbol for both sides – the U.S. Cavalry and Native American Indians, who fought on the banks of the Little Bighorn River. In Billings, Montana’s largest city, visit the Western Heritage Centre, which features over 17,000 Native American objects and artefacts. Shop ‘til you drop at the Rimrock Mall and enjoy a meal in one of the many downtown restaurants.
Overnight: Billings, Montana
DAY 7 – Billings to Helena, Montana (240miles – 3.45hrs)
Take a stroll around historic downtown Billings before heading west toward Livingston and Bozeman. Visit the Museum of the Rockies, home to one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils, as you pass through. On arrival in Helena, wander around the pleasant blocks of Last Chance Gulch, pop into the impressive State Capitol Building or view the fine collection in the Holter Museum of Art.
Overnight: Helena, Montana
DAY 8 – Helena to Glacier National Park, Montana (200miles – 3.5hrs)
Take a boat tour through the Gates of the Mountains, a dramatic stretch of the Missouri River, with 1,200ft cliffs on either side. Then make your way to spectacular Glacier National Park to discover glacial-scoured valleys, towering peaks, tumbling waterfalls, verdant forests and wildflower-strewn meadows. Keep an eye out for grizzly bears, elk, mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
Overnight: Whitefish, Montana
DAY 9 – Glacier National Park, Montana
Continue your exploration of Glacier National Park. Drive the magnificent 53-mile Going-To-The-Sun-Road and hike some of the 700 miles of trails. In the evening enjoy the unique restaurants, shops and art galleries of the pretty mountain town of Whitefish.
Overnight: Whitefish, Montana
DAY 10 – Whitefish to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (220miles – 3.45hrs)
As you head south, admire the crystal clear waters of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the west, and the picturesque small town of Bigfork which has been honoured as one of the 50 Great Towns in the West and brims with art galleries, fine restaurants and high-end boutiques. Continue into Idaho and on to Coeur d’Alene, surrounded by dozens of lakes left behind by glaciers from the ice age. Take a leisurely bike ride along the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes bike path and watch the sun set and moon rise over Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Overnight: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
DAY 11 – Coeur d’Alene to McCall, Idaho (270miles – 5hrs)
Continue your travels south following in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark on the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway to the Nez Perce National Historic Park, one of Idaho’s most important Native American attractions. The park’s 38 sites tell the story of the Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) people – the Lewis & Clark Expedition considered them the most hospitable tribe they met. Make a stop in the pretty town of Riggins nestled deep in the canyon where the Salmon River and Little Salmon River come together. Spend the night in McCall, a laid back mountain town on the shores of Payette Lake.
Overnight: McCall, Idaho
DAY 12 – McCall to Sun Valley, Idaho (220miles – 4hrs)
Make a day of the drive between McCall and Sun Valley to take in the incredible mountain scenery as you travel along not one, but four scenic byways - Payette River, Wildlife Canyon, Ponderosa Pine and Sawtooth. Along the way stop at Kirkham Hot Springs for a relaxing dip in the natural geothermal pools and waterfalls, and Sawtooth National Recreation Area for epic views of mountain peaks and ice blue lakes. Reflect on a day of beautiful scenery with a night at Sun Valley resort, the birthplace of the chairlift and home to old Hollywood Glamour, or nearby Ketchum.
Overnight: Sun Valley/Ketchum, Idaho
DAY 13 – Sun Valley to Jackson, Wyoming (240miles – 4.5hrs)
This morning visit Craters of the Moon National Monument, formed during eight major eruptive periods between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago. It contains three major lava fields which are some of the best examples of rift cracks in the world. Just outside the town of Rexburg you’ll find Yellowstone Bear World, a drive through wildlife park of free-roaming Rocky Mountain goats, bison, moose, white tail deer and even grizzly bears. Travel through the forests of eastern Idaho to thundering Upper and Lower Mesa Falls before crossing over the Teton Pass to Jackson, Wyoming.
Overnight: Jackson, Wyoming
DAY 14 – Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyoming
Explore the picturesque Grand Teton National Park - drive the 42-mile Scenic Loop and stop at the Visitors Center. Head out on a wildlife safari, scenic float trip on the river or take the Aerial Tram to the top of the mountains. Spend time in Jackson which features wooden sidewalks, elk antler arches and shops that range from the chic to the traditional. In the evening saddle up at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar or enjoy live music at the world-famous Silver Dollar Bar.
Overnight: Jackson, Wyoming
DAY 15 – Yellowstone National Park
Get an early start for the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone - best known for the geysers, hot springs and mud pots that make it one of the most active geothermal areas on the planet. The awe-inspiring landscape covers 3,000 square miles with over 10,000 thermal features and hundreds of animal species. Popular sites include Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Lake, Old Faithful, Midway Geyser Basin, Norris Geyser Basin, Lamar and Hayden Valleys and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with its inspirational view of Lower Falls.
Overnight: West Yellowstone, Montana or Yellowstone National Park
DAY 16 – Yellowstone National Park to Cody, Wyoming
Continue your exploration of Yellowstone National Park. Once ready to move on exit via the East Entrance to journey along the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway to the western town of Cody. If you are in town early enough, make a stop at Buffalo Bill Center of the West, an incredible five museums in one. If travelling in summer months find your inner Cowboy or Cowgirl at the Cody Nite Rodeo, held daily during July and August.
Overnight: Cody, Wyoming
DAY 17 – Cody to Buffalo (180miles – 4hrs)
Follow US-14 highway towards Sheridan and enjoy the scenic drive through Bighorn National Forest. Walk or cycle along the trails to one of the many reservoirs, keeping your eyes peeled for a moose munching on the willow or taking a dip in the river. Get back on the road, passing through Sheridan, as you make your way to Buffalo. Take a stroll around town and settle in to experience culture, history and hospitality with old west charm accompanied by a backdrop of the Bighorn mountains!
Overnight: Buffalo, Wyoming
DAY 18 – Buffalo to Deadwood, South Dakota (205miles – 3.5hrs)
Drive the two hour journey to Devil’s Tower National Monument; a butte composed of igneous rock that protrudes over 1,200 feet from the ground, more commonly known from the film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’ Join a guided walk along the 1.3mile Tower Trail for the best view followed by a picnic in the park. In the afternoon continue your journey to the old gold rush town of Deadwood, with Wild West history and legends such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Wet your whistle in one of many saloon bars, try your luck in the gaming parlours, view the historic Adam’s House in all its grandeur or experience a shoot-out in Main Street’s live street show.
Overnight: Deadwood, South Dakota
DAY 19 – The Black Hills, South Dakota (120miles – 3hrs)
Start this iconic day by visiting Crazy Horse Memorial, a monument in production to honour of the Native American Warrior. Continue further south to Custer State Park to admire the scenery which is home to over 1500 bison. Drive the 18mile wildlife loop road to spot bison, elk, deer, coyotes and a variety of birds. An optional 20 mile detour here, to Wind Cave National Park, where you can walk one of the longest caves in the world, with rare formations knows as boxwork, popcorn, honeycomb and frostwork features. Head back north to one of the most universally known attractions of South Dakota – Mount Rushmore National Memorial. A 60ft high mountain carving of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Finish your day in Rapid City for a well earned dinner and rest.
Overnight: Rapid City, South Dakota
DAY 20 – Rapid City to Badlands National Park to Pierre (200miles – 3.5hrs)
Head east to the incredible Badlands National Park where you will discover miles and miles of dramatic scenery, naturally created by years of weather erosion. With layered rock formations, towered spires and vast canyons, the Badlands really is a site not to miss. If you are an early bird then head to the park for sunrise and watch the rock colours transform. Make a quick stop at Wall Drug for quirky shopping and amazing doughnuts! Continue to Pierre (pronounced ‘peer’) South Dakota’s state capital. Visit the State Capitol Building, the Cultural Heritage Center, South Dakota National Guard Museum, or head outdoors to Fort Pierre, the Oahe Dam or La Framboise Island.
Overnight: Pierre, South Dakota.
DAY 21 – Pierre to Sioux Falls (230miles – 4hrs)
Head over to Sioux Falls, the urban centre of the region, rooted in history of the Native American Lakota Sioux. One of the highlights is Falls Park, with a beautiful triple waterfall! The craft brewery scene has exploded here, as has the dining scene with many world champion chefs around town. With multiple museums you will be spoilt for choice on art, history and culture in Sioux Falls. Follow the SculptureWalk through downtown; every year over 50 new sculptures are displayed throughout the city so you will never see the same one twice!
Overnight: Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
DAY 22 – Sioux Falls to Minneapolis – return flight (230miles – 4hrs)
For your final morning, drive back to Minneapolis to return your hire vehicle before boarding your afternoon/evening flight home.
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