North Dakota Weather, Climate and What to Pack?

A common misconception is that it always is cold in North Dakota. It comes as a surprise to many that North Dakota actually has a remarkably long temperate season, including beautiful sunny days in June, when the sun rises before 6 a.m. and sets after 9:30 p.m.

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In addition, North Dakota has more than 200 sunny or mostly sunny days per year. Weather patterns vary for locations across North Dakota. Click here to display the average monthly climate, weather and precipitation amounts. 

What to pack for summer

What to pack for autumn

What to pack for winter

What to pack for spring

Summer Travel

North Dakota's delightful summer season is at its best in June, July and August, and is perfect for all outdoor activities. The days are warm, sometimes even hot, but nights are cool enough for a restful sleep. Expect an average temperature of 82° Fahrenheit (28° Celsius).

Here is a suggested list of items to pack for your summer trip to North Dakota: Short sleeve shirts, lightweight jacket, shorts, long pants; jeans or casual slacks are fine, cotton, polypropolene, or polyester athletic socks, riding boots (not fashion boots) with at least a 2-inch heel for riding, comfortable walking shoes or lightweight hiking boots with a sole that provides good traction. Waterproof is good, but not mandatory, hat or cap, sunglasses, lip balm, face/skin sunscreen, small gym bag or day pack for outdoor activities, any precautionary medication that you normally travel with, bathing suit, cameras.

Autumn Travel

Autumn in North Dakota is a beautiful time of the year. The first frost, which usually occurs about mid-September, signals the end of summer season for many North Dakotans as the days are pleasantly warm, the nights cool and precipitation light. Expect an average temperature of 66° Fahrenheit (19° Celsius).

Here is a suggested list of items to pack for your autumn trip to North Dakota: Long pants or jeans, shorts (in case it gets warm), lightweight jacket, long-sleeve shirts, sweater and/or sweatshirts, polyester fleece or wool pull-over, or jacket, cotton, wool, polypropolene or polyester athletic socks, lightweight hiking boots or walking shoes (not fashion boots) with a low heel and a sole that provides good traction. Waterproof is good, but not mandatory, gloves or mittens, hat, cap or headband, sunglasses, lip balm, face/skin sunscreen, small gym bag or day pack for outdoor activities, any precautionary medication that you normally travel with, bathing suits, cameras.

Winter Travel

Winter is a grand season to many North Dakotans. It is the season for snowmobiling in open, uncrowded fields and for such vigorous outdoor recreation as ice skating, ice hockey, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Expect an average temperature of 24° Fahrenheit (-4° Celsius). It is recommended to be prepared with two or three layers of clothing, so you can remove the outer layers as the day's temperature rises.

Here is a suggested list of items to pack for your winter trip to North Dakota: Ski pants (if you are planning to go skiing, skating, snowmobiling or snowshoeing), winter jacket, long-sleeve shirts, sweater and/or sweatshirts (wool is preferred, cotton is not recommended for warmth), polyester fleece or wool pull-over or jacket, thermal underclothes, wool, polypropolene, or polyester athletic socks, snow boots (not fashion boots) with a low heel and sole that provides good traction on ice or snow. Waterproof is good, but not mandatory, gloves or mittens, long pants, hat, cap or headband, sunglasses, lip balm, face/skin sunscreen, small gym bag or day pack for outdoor activities, any precautionary medication that you normally travel with, bathing suit, cameras.

Spring Travel

Spring is a time of rapid change in North Dakota. It seems that almost overnight in late March or early April the snow mantle melts, the fertile soils dry and field preparations begins. The grass greens and suddenly all surroundings are pulsating with life and color, replacing winter-stillness and winter-white. Expect an average temperature of 52° Fahrenheit (11° Celsius).

Here is a suggested list of items to pack for your spring trip to North Dakota: Long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts, sweater and/or sweatshirts, jacket, cotton or wool, polypropolene, or polyester athletic socks, riding boots (not fashion boots) with at least a 2-inch heel for riding, long pants, jeans or casual slacks are fine, hat or cap, sunglasses, lip balm, face/skin sunscreen, small gym bag or day pack for outdoor activities, any precautionary medication that you normally travel with, bathing suit, cameras. 

The dress code here is very casual year-round, even for dining in our nicer restaurants, so slacks or jeans are just fine.