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The wide open spaces of North Dakota make for great RV adventures, and with the state receiving so few visitors, there are a number of undiscovered gems. The community of Garrison, a little over an hour's drive north of the state capital of Bismarck, might just be one such gem.
Garrison sits on the north shore of Lake Sakakawea, the massive reservoir created by the Garrison Dam, the fifth largest earthen dam in the world. It impounds the Missouri River all the way back to Williston, near the Montana border - a distance of over 150 miles. All that water has made Garrison a very popular town for angling, waterfowl hunting, and boating.
Given the town’s proximity to this massive lake, it should come as no surprise that many of the most popular outdoor activities in Garrison are centered on watersports. One of the better access points for it is Fort Stevenson State Park, which has a small campground, a few hiking trails, and marina for launching your boat. However, bird watchers will want to drive a little farther down Highway 83 to the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge. The Audubon Society has constructed a short driving tour that will help you spot and identify the refuge’s many bird species.
When you take a day trip up to Minot, consider packing a picnic lunch and spreading out at Oak Park. This beautiful green space has a splash pad for the little ones along with gaggles of geese that make this one of the better spots in the city to enjoy a summer afternoon in nature.
If you’re looking for a big adventure with your RV rental from Garrison, North Dakota, think about taking a drive to the Badlands in the western part of the state. The northern section of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is only about two and a half hours' drive from Garrison and has loads of outdoor recreational opportunities. Most visitors take it all in from the comfort of the car as they drive along Cedar Canyon Road, but more adventurous travelers will enjoy the vast trail network that branches off from it.
The Missouri River, Lake Sakakawea, and Lake Audubon make getting a motorhome rental in Garrison a tempting prospect, and there are plenty of RV parks and campgrounds to stay in when you do. Stoney Hill RV Park is just outside of town and offers full hookups, bathrooms, and showers. If you want to do some fishing or watersports on the lake, it’s only minutes away.
Another solid camping option when you choose an RV rental in Garrison is Lake Sakakawea State Park on the lake’s south shore. You can find sites with full hookups, water and electricity only, or none at all if that’s what you prefer. There’s also a boat ramp for getting a fishing boat out on the lake, which can be rented in Minot.
There are quite a few RV parks in the Minot area, including Roughrider RV Resort on the west side of the city. Not only do their sites have full hookups in a beautiful forested setting, but there are also laundry facilities, showers, a dump station, a playground, and some short hiking trails.
The nearest Walmart is in Minot when you book an RV in Garrison. With the manager’s permission, you may be able to stay here for a couple of nights. If you’re hoping to remain close to city amenities, this is as urban as it gets in this part of North Dakota.
Garrison has a handful of coffee shops and diners to serve the needs of its population. For anything more extensive, you’ll need to take your Garrison RV rental up to Minot, which has a number of restaurants serving international cuisine along with a craft brewery or two. As for attractions, the lake is the main draw for tourists who rent an RV here.
This state is all about Lewis and Clark history though, so it would be a shame if you didn’t check out the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn when you get a camper rental in Garrison. The center gives a comprehensive tour of the Corps of Discovery’s journey, but with a particular focus on their winter camp at nearby Fort Mandan. If you’ve ever been interested in early American history, this is a must-see attraction.
However, when you choose a travel trailer rental in Garrison, most of the popular attractions will be up Highway 83 in Minot. There you’ll find everything from zoos to shopping malls and even a Scandinavian Heritage center. The city is the cultural and economic hub for the north-central region of the state.