Road Trip in North Dakota
There's no shortage of majestic state parks, historical sites, arts, and culture in North Dakota, so who could blame you for planning a road trip through the Peace Garden State?
Before packing your bags, make sure to check your driving privileges, ensure your vehicle is properly registered and insured, and confirm you have access to information about the roadways you'll travel.
Visitors Driving in North Dakota
For adult drivers, North Dakota recognizes valid out-of-state driver licenses while traveling through the state.
Minor (teen) drivers face Graduated Driver License (GDL) restrictions. While most states use a GDL program for teens, not every state's program is similarly organized; meaning, not all requirements and restrictions are the same.
You must be at least 16 years old to drive in North Dakota—regardless of any out-of-state permit or license you have. Contact the DOT for specifics on how your license or permit will work in North Dakota.
ND Traffic Rules
You can find information about North Dakota's rules of the road within the state's driver's handbook—a one-stop shop for perusing the basic information on driving topics such as:
- Rules of the road, including signs, signals, and road markings.
- How to handle emergency situations.
- Legal consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
To make absolutely certain that you're prepared, check out North Dakota's safety laws as well. You don't want to get ticketed, for instance, for having your child in the wrong type of car seat!
Major Roads in North Dakota
North Dakota's major roads are separated into interstates (I) and U.S. routes (US). Here are a few of the most important highways in ND:
- The state's major north-south connector, I-29 travels through Pembina, Drayton, near Grand Forks, Fargo, and Great Bend. Connects to Canada and South Dakota.
- A major east-west interstate in the Upper Midwest, I-94 runs through Fargo, Jamestown, Bismarck, and Dickinson. Links to Minnesota and Montana.
- US 2
- Also known as the High Line, this east-west highway travels past Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Minot, and Williston. Connects to Minnesota and Montana.
- US 52
- Running northwest to southeast through Bowbells, Minot, Fessenden, and Jamestown.
- US 83
- Travels north to south to Westhope, Minot, Max, Coleharbor, Bismarck, and Linton. Links to Canada and South Dakota.
Visit the North Dakota DOT's Travel/Roads guide to access maps, as well as traveler information about topics like visitor centers and rest areas, scenic byways, and dump stations for motorhomes and other recreational vehicles (RVs).
ND Road Trip Destinations
Whether you're into outdoor adventures, the arts and culture scene, playing or watching sports, or a mix of everything, North Dakota has the perfect options for you.
- North Dakota outdoors:
- If you're into camping, fishing, hiking, boating, and swimming, consider visiting Lake Sakakawea State Park.
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a treasure trove of natural Great Plains landscapes, wildlife, and activities. Take in the night sky during the Dakota Nights festival, where the lack of nearby cities proves valuable as the Milky Way appears above you. Visitors also enjoy camping, hiking, and photography.
- North Dakota history:
- Make a point to check out Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, which was once an important infantry and cavalry post—even serving as the last stop for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and his forces before they rode against the Sioux Indians at Little Big Horn.
- North Dakota culture:
- Look into the night and stock car races at Grand Forks, Jamestown, and Fargo.
- Visit one of the meccas of college hockey at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks on the campus of the University of North Dakota (UND). It's home to the UND Fighting Hawks and provides an excellent atmosphere for hardcore and casual fans alike.
- The North Dakota State Capitol Grounds in Bismarck are a must-see for cultural enthusiasts. In addition to the Capitol building, the grounds host the North Dakota Heritage Center & Museum and the North Dakota State Library, each of which host fascinating speakers and exhibits on the state's history, geography, and geology.