Washburn has played a vital role in North Dakota tourism since before North Dakota was a territory. Beginning with some of the first visitors (Lewis and Clark), Washburn area residents (Sakakawea) have extended a friendly hand while sharing with guests the sights and sounds of this Missouri River community.
Lewis and Clark wintered at nearby Fort Mandan on their way to the Pacific Ocean, and you can learn all about the expedition at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and reconstructed Fort Mandan along the river. It you prefer to be on the river, there is access for boating, kayaking or fishing. For sports men and women, Painted Woods Golf Course recently expanded to 18 holes along Painted Woods Creek. Tee times are easy to get.
The Sakakawea Scenic Byway begins (or ends) in Washburn and its route west of town takes visitors on bluffs above the sweeping bends in the river as it makes its way north toward Lake Sakakawea. The McLean County Historical Museum tells the history of the area, including that of the Sioux Ferry, which on display by the river. The Henry Lorentzen Western Art Gallery is open by appointment and features original works by the artist.
Cross Ranch State Park its 5,000-acrea nature preserve is across the river from the town of Washburn. The annual bluegrass festival and quiet camping – including yurts – are available there.