Minneapolis, Minnesota is your starting point for a weekend road trip to North Dakota’s Fort Stevenson State Park. Minneapolis is referred to as one of the “Twin Cities”, along with St. Paul, Minnesota. During the summertime, outdoor recreational opportunities abound in Minneapolis, with lakes and beaches, hiking and biking trails, and great summer festivals. Beautiful parks and green spaces grace this lovely city, including Minnehaha Park which has a 53-foot waterfall and statues of Hiawatha and Minnehaha.
During the winter the temperature drops to sub-freezing conditions, making outdoor activities a little more challenging, but there is still plenty to do and see indoors. Minneapolis is famous for its museums, sporting events, and breweries, available at any time of the year, making this a great city to explore with friends.
Your 500-mile road trip will take you west on Interstate 95 to Bismark, North Dakota, then you will take Highway 83 north to Highway 37. Take Highway 37 west to Highway 15, before heading south to Fort Stevenson State Park. RVers will find great camping and interesting activities along the way.
While staying at Minneapolis you can camp at regional, state, and national parks out of town, or right in the city at the Minneapolis Northwest KOA or Minneapolis Southwest KOA both of which have plenty of amenities, hookups, and accommodate any type of RV or holiday trailer.
What road trip would be complete without some “campy” or eclectic roadside attractions? As you pass through Bismark, North Dakota, on Interstate 94, you will see Keelboat Park on the south side of the highway just before you cross the bridge on the Missouri River. Stop at the park to take in the interesting outdoor artworks located here.
An 1800s replica Keelboat is situated in the park, as well as giant Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea figures, and a thunderbird sculpture. The Keelboat replica is a full scale, 55-foot structure. The Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea figures are 30 feet tall and brightly colored. An unusual four-headed Thunderbird sculpture is also located here, and accessible from the walking path. This sculpture features four heads facing in four different directions, representing the archetypal Thunderbird myths from four separate geographical regions, and a plaque at the site tells these stories along with a fifth story outline the creation of the sculpture.
Just a mile down the River Road, there is another sculpture to check out, the Big Shiny Ball and Eagle. This artwork consists of a large cement eagle with its wings wrapped around a reflective silver ball.
Once you head out on your road trip, the sporting event fun can continue in Fargo, North Dakota. Tailgating parties at the North Dakota State University are a popular activity at the FargoDome’s football games and events. The North Dakota State Bison are a top football team in their division, and concerts and sporting events at the stadium, which holds up to 25000 people are a real draw, along with the great tailgate parties in the parking lot! More good news, the FargoDome is an indoor venue, which is a good thing because the weather in Fargo during the fall and winter can be pretty nippy!
Be sure to get in the right lot to enjoy tailgating before the game or show. Lot E, F, and G, west of the stadium are where tailgating parties are permitted. The lots open 5 ½ hours prior to gametime, and spots should be reserved ahead of time. Please note that your RV may require you to book more than one spot. Go to University of North Dakota Tailgating Information for information on regulations and how to reserve your spot.
You can’t stay on-site overnight, but there is great RV camping at Buffalo River State Park just 20 miles from the stadium, across the Minnesota border or at the municipally run Lindenwood Campground which is just 10 miles away.
Motorsports fans will want to visit the ELKO Speedway before departing the Minneapolis area. Situated on the outskirts of the city, on Interstate 35, south of the city, this 3.8 mile asphalt NASCAR race track is home to several NASCAR race series. Check out their website for upcoming events during your stay at ELKO Speedway.
This is the shortest track in the ARCA racing series but it is a great place to take in a motorsport event. The grandstands provide excellent race viewing, and the open dirt lot is ripe for picnics and tailgate parties. Want to take a step back in time? The race track also boasts a drive-in movie theatre when racing is not taking place!
If you have a ticket to an event, you can park at the speedway parking lot which has rooms for RV parking. You can’t camp overnight in your RV, although you can enjoy tailgate parties during the event and you can leave your RV overnight if you have been partying a little too hard! There are several RV campgrounds in the vicinity where you can camp overnight. Don't forget sunscreen on hot summer days and a sun hat as well as earplugs to protect your hearing from the roar of the engines.
Arrive at your destination of Fort Stevenson State Park, which is also referred to as the “walleye capital” which should give you some idea of the great fishing opportunities afforded here, but it is also a spot with a rich history. Situated on Lake Sakakawea, this park is great for fishing, swimming, and boating activities with marinas available.
Fort Stevenson State Park is situated on a peninsula that juts out into the lake for plenty of access. The campground is accessible for RV units and RV ers will find almost 200 campsites, many of which have full hookups for RVs. Campsites have a beautiful view of the surrounding rugged wilderness and lake, and amenities like restrooms, showers, and RV dump stations.
In addition to great recreational opportunities and camping, you can explore Fort Stevenson which was abandoned in 1883. The original site is now underwater. However, replica structures at the information center and museum accurately depict the fort based on soldiers' recollections, and the museum provides information on what life at the fort was like in the 19th century.