International Peace Garden split between North Dakota, United States and Manitoba, Canada. Image credit Jacob Boomsma via Shutterstock

7 Cutest Small Towns In North Dakota To Visit In 2024

One of the country’s most northerly states (it shares a border with Canada!), North Dakota has a great deal to offer the curious traveler. While tourist traffic here is a drop in the ocean compared to states like Florida, around 22 million versus well over 120 million for the “Sunshine State," that doesn’t mean that “ND” isn’t worth seeing.

On the contrary, this vast prairie state boasts many great reasons for folks to want to visit, not least of which are its many pleasant small communities. In addition to being less crowded and all-together more relaxed than most other US travel destinations, these seven cutest small towns in North Dakota are well worth a visit in 2024 for their natural beauty and historic charm.


The Main Street in the historic town of Medora, North Dakota.
The Main Street in the historic town of Medora, North Dakota. Image credit EQRoy via

With a population of just over 120 people, the tiny community of Medora certainly bats above its weight in the “fun things to do” department. Handily located just off the I-94 connecting Minnesota with Montana, Medora serves as a gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a 70,000-acre area of outstanding natural beauty that’s popular with outdoor enthusiasts. The town has a close connection to President Theodore Roosevelt, who once ranched in the area.

Be sure to wander the town’s small yet attractive main street area with its wild west ambiance, themed restaurants, quaint shops, and charming hotels. Summer 2024 promises to be a good time to visit as the town commemorates the 55th anniversary of the beloved Medora Musical, a fun outdoor show set against the stunning backdrop of the badlands with lively musical performances and an entertaining portrayal of Roosevelt's life and the spirit of the American West.


Garrison, North Dakota, is called the Walleye Capital of the World.
Garrison, North Dakota, is called the Walleye Capital of the World. Image credit: Andrew Filer via

Located on the shores of Lake Sakakawea, Garrison is not only a cute town, it’s a nature lover's paradise. Lake Sakakawea provides opportunities for activities, including boating, fishing, and water sports, while Fort Stevenson State Park is popular for its hiking trails and historical fortifications. Garrison's downtown is fun to explore, especially during the summer months.

If you can visit Lake Sakakawea State Park in July, there is plenty of additional fun to be had. Events lined up at the park for the summer of 2024 include everything from live music to food to recreational activities, both on and off the water. Nature enthusiasts will also appreciate the town's proximity to other natural wonders, such as the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site and the scenic Lewis and Clark Trail.


The Geographical Center of North America monument in Rugby, North Dakota.
The Geographical Center of North America monument in Rugby, North Dakota. Image credit Dirk Wierenga via

Known as the geographical center of North America, Rugby celebrates this fact with its Geographic Center Monument, which has become a popular selfie spot for visitors. After wandering the downtown area, head to the Prairie Village and Museum. Comprised of preserved historic buildings, it provides a fascinating window into the lives of early pioneers and the town's rich agricultural heritage through its displays and artifacts.

Other fun things to do in Rugby include visiting the Northern Lights Tower. Just a short distance from the Geographic Center Monument, this 88.5 ft tall steel structure celebrates the Northern Plains’ Aurora Borealis. Even if the northern lights don’t make an appearance, it still makes for a unique sightseeing opportunity when lit up at night.


Main Ave., Washburn, North Dakota.
Main Ave., Washburn, North Dakota. Image credit Ua747sp, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Washburn’s picturesque setting along the mighty Missouri River certainly adds to this small town’s charm. In addition to exploring the Missouri River region (both on-water and from its banks), much can be learned about the region with a visit to Fort Mandan State Historic Site a few miles west of downtown Washburn. This fascinating recreation is famous as the encampment where the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1804 to 1805 before venturing further westward.

In addition to learning more about this famed expedition, displays and information are provided about the Lewis and Clark Trail that offers a glimpse into the area's past and the crucial role it played in the exploration of the West. A fun event for 2024 that is worth visiting is the Missouri River Bluegrass Festival to be held in June.


Mayville State University, Mayville, North Dakota.
Mayville State University, Mayville, North Dakota. Image credit Tammy Chesney via Shutterstock

The cute small town of Mayville is also worth a visit. Located in the picturesque Red River Valley area, Mayville's pretty tree-lined streets and quaint town square provide a lovely introduction to authentic North Dakota small-town living. Be sure to head a little west of town for a visit to Island Park, a great picnic place with water views.

The presence of Mayville State University adds a buzz to the town and boasts a small yet attractive campus that is pleasant for a stroll. Be sure to grab a photo of the picturesque Mayville Lutheran Church which this year celebrates its 151st birthday.


Downtown street in Casselton, North Dakota.
Downtown street in Casselton, North Dakota. Image credit In memoriam afiler, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Casselton is every inch a prairie and wheat town. Situated just off the I-94 and an easy day trip from the city of Fargo, just a short drive to the east, it’s a perfect example of a typical Midwest farm town with a small yet cute downtown that is little changed down the decades. Be sure to pop into Governors Park, a downtown attraction that features exhibits relating to local statesmen.

It’s also a great spot to spend time outdoors, with the Casselton Reservoir/ Tinta Tawa Park offering pleasant lakeside green space to relax in. If planning a visit to this area of North Dakota in 2024, try to time it for the end of July to coincide with the always fun Casselton Summerfest.


Downtown Lisbon, North Dakota.
Downtown Lisbon, North Dakota. Image credit Andrew Filer (In memoriam afiler), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lisbon is known for its historic main street and perfectly embodies the essence of small-town life in North Dakota. Its location in the beautiful Sheyenne River Valley doesn’t hurt, either, and certainly adds to the town's appeal. The picturesque Main Street runs parallel to the Sheyenne River and is home to unique boutique shops, cozy cafés, and art galleries with works by local talent.

A great time to visit in 2024 will be in August. This is when the annual Ransom County Fair and Rodeo takes place at Hoppel’s Arena, a fun event for the whole family.

Each of these towns, with its memorable character and charm, is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. In addition to the warm hospitality of the locals that makes travelers feel right at home, their rich cultural traditions reveal a lot about North Dakota’s heritage. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or are simply intrigued by local history, these seven cutest small towns In North Dakota are well worth a visit in 2024.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 7 Cutest Small Towns In North Dakota To Visit In 2024

More in Places