Get busy in North Dakota this May

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BISMARCK, N.D. – Longer, warmer days bring more life to North Dakota with many ways to experience the new season. Outdoor pursuits could include a gritty gravel-road mountain bike race, a leisurely afternoon flying a kite or a weekend fishing. Get off the beaten path and visit the picturesque Dakota Sun Gardens Winery or help the kids earn their Junior Ranger badge at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There are plenty of urban adventures, too. Check out a live concert, enjoy the ballet or find a treasure at Fargo’s Junk Market. A surge in temperatures brings a surge in activity so get out and join the fun.

An Alternative Adventure

Ready to try something new this May? Extreme North Dakota’s Spring Primer Adventure Race is geared toward newbies to endurance adventure racing with a course that winds its way through Turtle River State Park and Larimore Dam (http://endracing.com/end-spar). Get on your bike and pedal with locals on the Burleigh County Cup, a gravel road cycling race that tours the back roads of Burleigh County (http://burleighcountycup.blogspot.com/). Paint the sky with kites of all sizes, shapes and colors at Sky Fest over Fort Stevenson (http://www.skyfestnd.com/). Get in step with runners at the Fargo Marathon or at one of the shorter races offered at the weekend event (www.fargomarathon.com).

A Culinary Excursion

North Dakota is seeing tremendous growth in its food scene. Local chefs are incorporating flavors of the prairie on their menus and bison and walleye have never tasted so good. Don’t miss The Pirogue Grille and Peacock Alley in Bismarck, 10 North Main in Minot or Mezzaluna in Fargo. International cuisine is hitting its stride in the state, as well. Visit Minot’s Little Blue Elephant for delicious Thai food or savor the flavors of authentic Mexico at Dickinson’s Don Pedro’s or Mandan’s Taquiera El Guerrero. Winemaking and North Dakota may not seem synonymous, but Dakota Sun Gardens Winery invites guests to come learn about their fruit plots and wine production. The picturesque gardens on the property are also worth the drive (http://www.dakotasungardenswinery.com/).

Off the Beaten Path

To see wildflowers blooming and wildlife reemerging head to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Borrow a Family Fun Pack (binoculars, guide books and activity sheets) from the Visitor Center and then take a hike to help the kids earn their Junior Ranger badge (https://www.nps.gov/thro/planyourvisit/justforkids.htm). Attend the ArcheoBlitz at Knife River Indian Villages and learn more about the archeological and scientific methods that are used to collect historic cultural data. (https://www.nps.gov/knri/learn/news/archeoblitz.htm). Take in “Ranger Talk at the Mondak” and experience the life of the Fur Trade through Living History and Experimental Archeology at Fort Union Trading Post (https://www.nps.gov/fous/planyourvisit/calendar.htm). North Dakota is also home to 63 national wildlife refuges – more than any other state – so select one to spend the day observing and photographing diverse bird life and large game animals (https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/refuges/nd/).

An Angling Adventure

Love to fish? North Dakota is the place for you. Devils Lake offers some of the best freshwater fishing in the country and is famous for its giant perch, while spring fishing for walleye is popular on the Missouri River. The 40th Annual Dakota Anglers Walleye/Northern Fishing Tournament at the Jamestown Reservoir welcomes anglers to join in the friendly – but utterly serious – competition (ndsportfishingcongress.org/dakotaanglers/Calendar/CalenderOfEvents.html). Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River are already busy with fishing boats, so get some bait and get in on the action.

These are just a few of the opportunities to celebrate North Dakota’s state parks. For more information, go to NDtourism.com or phone 701-328-2525 or 800-435-5663.