The 5 Best Places to Camp in North Dakota this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: September 15, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Tammi Mild
Share this post on:

If you live in North Dakota and want to plan an epic camping trip or you are visiting the Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park or the Lewis and Clark State Park there are plenty of great campgrounds to choose from. Here are the 5 best places to camp in North Dakota this summer!

1. Badlands: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
For some of the best wildlife viewing visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You might see bison, elk, longhorns, pronghorns and mule deer.

iStock.com/rruntsch

In the far west half of North Dakota is Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In 1883 Roosevelt came to North Dakota for bison hunting and fell in love with the vast wilderness. He was instrumental in wildlife conservation and helped preserve the western area of North Dakota. You can still see bison roaming the park today as well as elk, longhorns, pronghorns and mule deer. You can also park at the Caprock-Coulee parking area and hike about a mile to a prairie dog town!

There are two campgrounds to choose from at the park, one in the north and one in the south. Cottonwood campground has 76 sites that can accommodate small RV’s and tents. There are no hookups but restrooms and water are available. Half of the sites are reservable. The Juniper campground is in the northern half of the park and has 50 campsites, again no hookups, but there are restrooms and water. Both are beautiful settings for camping this summer in North Dakota.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
LocationFar west-central North Dakota
Nearest CityMedora
Cottonwood Campground76 campsites, 12 tent only, no hookups,
5 miles from Medora, in the south portion
of the park, half sites are reservable, half
are first come first serve
Juniper Campground50 campsites, 9 tent only, no hookups, 5 miles
from Hwy 85, in the north portion of the park,
all sites first come, first served
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, Potable water
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsSome sites at Cottonwood are reservable,
the rest are first come first serve and fill up fast!
What makes it one of the bestCamping right in the heart of the Badlands.

2. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Happy fisherman with walleye fish
Some of the campsites at the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park are right on the shores of the Heart River. Try to catch walleye from shore or take a boat out to find your sweet spot.

FedBul/Shutterstock.com

Right along the shores of the Missouri and Heart River is the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, the oldest state park in the state. You can visit the old Fort McKeen as well as reconstructed earthlodges from the times the Mandan Native Americans lived in on the land. You can also visit the Custer House from when Custer led the outpost at Fort McKeen. There are also miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking.

The campground has 100 campsites with 15 right on the shore of the Heart River. The other sites are just steps to the Rivers which come together at the bend of the Heart and Missouri. Bring your fishing gear for some of the best walleye and pike fishing. You can also fish for trout and salmon right from the shore. Maybe you can catch your dinner to fry up at the campfire.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
LocationJust SW of Bismark
Nearest CityMandan, ND
RV/Tent sites100 campsites (82 moderns sites with electricity
and water, 12 water only, 4 water only equestrian)
Camping Cabins2 cabins
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, playground, gift shop, coffee shop
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestSo much history right along the rivers!

3. Lake Sakakawea State Park

Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota
Lake Sakakawea is the third largest man-made reservoir in the U.S. Along the southern shore is the campground with 149 modern sites and 42 primitive ones. Definitely one of the best places to camp in North Dakota this summer.

MatthewUND / Creative Commons – License

The third largest man-made reservoir in the U.S. is Lake Sakakawea, situated along the Missouri River. The lake is a 360,000-acres recreational lake popular for boating, swimming, fishing as well as catching some great wind for windsurfing and sailing. It is known to produce some good sized northern pike, walleye and chinook salmon. Take your boat out to some of the deeper waters for the best salmon fishing.

The campground is right on the lake with 149 modern sites with electric and water as well as 42 primitive sites. Check out the swimming beach, play some sand volleyball, or get some ice cream at the marina. Then head back to you campsite for some star gazing and time by the fire.

Lake Sakakawea State Park
LocationCentral ND, Northwest of Riverdale
Nearest CityPick City
RV/Tent Sites149 modern sites (electric and water), 42 primitive sites,
0 group campsites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, swimming beach, marina
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestLiving the lake life!

4. Lewis and Clark State Park

Sebago Lake in Maine New England
Rent a kayak to explore the bays and coves of Lake Sakakawea. Look for piping plover and spotted sandpipers along the shoreline.

iStock.com/Angela Fouquette

Upstream from Lake Sakakawea State Park, right on one of the upper bays is the Lewis and Clark State Park. Rent a kayak to explore the bays and coves and look for shorebirds like piping plover, spotted sandpipers and American woodcocks. There are also canoe and SUP rentals to get you out on the water enjoying the lake. The fishing in this area is great for walleye, pike and sauger. Head out early in the morning when you are just crawling out of your tent or late in the evening to find the most (and hopefully biggest) walleye.

The campground has 41 full hookup sites, 47 with water and electric and 8 walk-in primitive sites. There are also 2 cabins available to rent for a more modern camping experience. Spend the day fishing, swimming, hiking and more at one of the best places to camp in North Dakota this summer!

Lewis and Clark State Park
LocationCentral North Dakota
Nearest CityEpping
RV/Tent Modern Plus (water/electric/sewer)41 sites
RV/Tent Modern (water/electric)47 sites
RV/Tent Primitive8 sites
Group plus site (water/electric/sewer)2
Group site (water/electric)3
Cabin2 lakeside cabins
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, swimming beach, playground
Pet FriendlyYes, nice dog park
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestSome of the best fishing in the state

5. Fargo: Lindenwood Campground

Aerial View of Fargo Skyline at Dusk
If you want the best of both worlds you can visit all the sites in Fargo and then stay at the Lindenwood Campground in the far eastern side of Fargo.

Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock.com

Certainly not a mega-city, but Fargo does have some museums and zoos that are worth the visit. You can check out the Plains Art Museum to see regional artwork, contemporary pieces and Native American art. Then stop by the Fargo Air Museum to learn about both modern and vintage aircraft including a plane that looks like a smiley emoji! The Red River Zoo is a good sized zoo featuring meerkats, red pandas and gray wolves.

After a day on the town there is a great campground right in Fargo and right on the Red River. There are 47 campsites all with water and electric as well as a picnic table and fire ring. You can rent bikes or kayaks to explore the park or spend some time chasing the kids at one of the two playgrounds. With the wooded campsites and the sounds of the river flowing you will forget that you are actually in the city. The best of both worlds and one of the best places to camp in North Dakota this summer!

Lindenwood Campground
LocationFar east side of Fargo neat the Minnesota border
Nearest CityFargo
RV/Tent sites47 sites, all with electric and water
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, bike rental, kayak rental
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestBest of both worlds a camping oasis in the city.

Up Next

North Dakota

iStock.com/Tammi Mild
Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. , Available here: https://www.nps.gov/thro/planyourvisit/camping.htm
  2. , Available here: https://www.outdoorsy.com/guide/fort-abraham-lincoln-state-park-nd
  3. , Available here: https://www.parkrec.nd.gov/lake-sakakawea-state-park
  4. , Available here: https://www.parkrec.nd.gov/lewis-clark-state-park
  5. , Available here: https://www.fargoparks.com/lindenwood-campground