Exploring the Gateway Towns of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Nestled in the rugged badlands of Western North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park honors the legacy of the 26th president of the United States and his conservation efforts. While the park itself is a treasure trove of natural wonders, the surrounding towns also offer their unique charm and a chance to immerse in local culture and cuisine. Let's explore the nearby towns around Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where you can find cozy accommodations, delectable dishes, and a warm welcome from the locals.
The most popular gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the historic town of Medora. Founded in the 19th century and named after the wife of its founding father, Marquis de Mores, Medora charms visitors with its Old West ambiance. It is also home to the famous Medora Musical, an outdoor musical extravaganza that provides wholesome entertainment for the entire family.
For accommodations, the town hosts several options ranging from the historic Rough Riders Hotel, offering rooms furnished with a touch of the Old West, to the cozy Badlands Motel. When hunger strikes, don't miss trying the Pitchfork Steak Fondue, a local specialty where steaks are cooked on pitchforks over an open flame, served with a side of buffalo views.
Approximately 40 miles east of Medora, Dickinson stands as the largest nearby town to the park. With a greater selection of hotels and restaurants than its smaller counterparts, Dickinson is an excellent choice for visitors seeking more amenities. Hotel chains like Holiday Inn Express, Ramada, and Hampton Inn guarantee a comfortable stay while local outfits such as the Astoria Hotel and Event Center offer a more personalized touch.
Culinary adventurers in Dickinson should bite into the region's indulgent Knoephla soup, a creamy potato soup with small dumplings, a testament to the area's German-Russian heritage. Dining options are diverse, ranging from family-owned diners to upscale eateries.
North of the park and about 50 miles from the North Unit, Watford City provides another convenient base for exploration. This rapidly growing town is keeping pace with the region's oil boom, and offers a range of lodging options from trusted hotel brands to local inns and bed & breakfasts.
While in Watford City, savor the taste of North Dakota with a side of lefse, a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread, often served with butter, sugar, or cinnamon. Local dining spots and steakhouses offer heartwarming meals that perfectly complement the day's outdoor activities.
South of Medora, around 17 miles from the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, lies Belfield, a smaller town that provides a quieter alternative for park visitors. While Belfield may be smaller, it possesses a number of motels, inns, and local eateries that serve up homestyle cooking.
Be sure to try local game dishes such as bison burgers, which are commonly featured on menus in Belfield and capture the essence of the surrounding prairie.
Located to the north of the park, about an hour's drive from the North Unit, Killdeer is a smaller town that offers a peaceful retreat. With a few local hotels and B&Bs, Killdeer provides simple accommodations that suffice for a restful night's sleep.
Killdeer's handful of family-owned restaurants and cafes give visitors the chance to try North Dakota favorites, such as walleye fish, often fried or grilled, and celebrated for its flaky white texture.
How to Enjoy Local Flavors
The towns around Theodore Roosevelt National Park are ripe with authentic North Dakotan cuisine. Here's how you can enjoy the local flavors:
- Attend town festivals and local markets where regional dishes are often highlighted.
- Visit local steakhouses and dineries for the freshest game meats and traditional preparations.
- Don't pass up on dessert—try Juneberry pie, made from the tart, purple berries native to the state.
As you plan your trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and its surrounding towns, here are a few helpful websites for more information:
- Medora's Official Website
- Dickinson Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Watford City's Official Website
- North Dakota Tourism's Official Site
These websites offer a wealth of information on accommodations, dining options, local attractions, and events throughout the year. Take the time to explore these quaint towns and their offerings—your tastebuds and travel memories will thank you.