Camping in North Dakota

Your Ultimate Guide to Camping in North Dakota

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Camping in North Dakota is a true treat. One that offers the opportunity to explore historic villages, experience Native American culture, see wild buffalo roaming through prairie land, and camp beneath stars so bright it looks like you could reach out and touch them.

North Dakota campgrounds spread throughout the state like a sea of fun vacations just waiting to be had. There are private campgrounds, free campgrounds, and prime camping spots in National and State Parks.

Plus, North Dakota is home to the largest grassland, Dakota Prairie Grassland—Little Missouri National Grassland stretches over one-million acres. This massive Grassland is broken up into different units with various camping spots. It even sweeps through Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

State Park Camping in North Dakota

There are 12 State Parks in North Dakota, all offer campgrounds with varying amenities.

Camping in North Dakota

Lake Sakakawea State Park
Credit to parkrec.nd.gov

Little Missouri State Park in Dunn County

Beaver Lake State Park in Logan County

Fort Ransom State Park in Ransom County

Lake Sakakawea State Park in Mercer County

Fort Stevenson State Park in Garrison County (full hookups + plenty of amenities)

Grahams Island State Park in Devils Lake

Turtle River State Park in Grand Forks County

Icelandic State Park in Pembina County

Lake Metigoshe State Park in Bottineau County (located on the Canadian border, this State Park offers the quintessential lake vacation destination without the large crowds found at more well-known spots like Lake Sakakawea.)

Lewis and Clark State Park (detailed below)

Sully Creek State Park (detailed below)

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park (detailed below)

Camping at Lewis and Clark State Park

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to parkrec.nd.gov

Location: 4904 119th Road NW, Epping, ND 58843

Camping fee: $12-25 per night (off-season), $17-$30 (summer)

Open: April 1 through December 1

Website: parkrec.nd.gov/parks/lcsp/lcsp.html

On April 17, 1805, famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and Willian Clark camped here, at a park that would one day be named after them. Today, you’ll find an interpretive trail marker where they stayed.

Not only is this park full of history, it’s full of fish too! In the water, of course. Lake Sakawea offers excellent fishing, including rare fish such as the pallid sturgeon and the pre-historic looking paddlefish.  The 490-acre park offers a lot to do. You could take a boat out on the lake, go for a swim, or lounge on the washed sand.

Stay for the night at the park’s campground and enjoy access to electricity, Wi-Fi, an RV dump station, and showers. For cozier accommodations, there are sleeping cabins for rent. Full service season runs mid-May through late-September; there is no water in off-season.

Bringing your horses along? There’s a $6 per day fee for equines + a $30 annual horse permit. Annual permits are available at Fort Ransom, Fort Lincoln, Sully Creek, and Little Missouri. You cannot get a horse permit online or at department headquarters.

Reservations: Book online or call 1-800-807-4723

Camping at Sully Creek State Park: Whitetail Flats Campground

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to parkrec.nd.gov

Location: 1465 36th St, Medora, ND 58645

Open: April 1 through November 30

Camping fee: Starts at $12 per night

Website: http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/parks/scsp/scsp.html

Situated in the heart of North Dakota’s badlands, Sully Creek State Park is located on the eastern banks of the Little Missouri River, around 2 miles south of Medora in Billings County, ND. This horse-friendly state park is popular with equestrians because it is outfitted with corrals for horses and there are lots of good horse trails in the area.

Non-equestrian campers love it here too. There are great spots to go canoeing and there is a playground catered to kids. Amenities include pay showers, vault toilets, an RV dump station, and access to the famous Maah Daah Hey Trail.

Nearby attractions include the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Dakota Prairie Grasslands, and Medora.

Some sites can be reserved ahead of time while others are first-come-first-served. Pick between single and group sites, with a mix of back-in and pull-through sites of various lengths to accommodate big rigs of all sizes.

Reservations: Book online

Camping at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to ndtourism.com

Location: Highway 1806, 7 miles south of Mandan

Open: Full-service season runs mid-May through late-September

Camping fee: $12-$25 per night

Website: parkrec.nd.gov/parks/falsp/falsp.html

All history buffs should visit Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park at least once. Many would say the star of the show is On-A-Slant Village, a carefully preserved and reconstructed village that offers a peek back in time at the lives of the Mandan peoples who lived here from 1575 through 1781. There is plenty of military history to explore in the area as well, as this land once served as a crucial infantry and cavalry post.

Not to mention, the scenery is stunning with breathtaking views of the Missouri River. There is so much to do at this 1,006-acre park, including full-service camping that begins in late-May.

Fort Abraham’s modern campground is set in a wooded section of the park near the Heart River. There are picnic sites throughout camp, as well as a playground for kids. During full-service camping season, there are sites with electric, water, and sewer hookups. Primitive sites with no hookups are available year-round.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park maintains two cabins for rent during the summer season, each can sleep up to five people. There are also 2 tipis for rent, both of which are 18-foot Cheyenne style tipis outfitted with 6 cots, a small table, fire ring and picnic table.

Prefer to escape deeper into the wilderness? There are four primitive campsites throughout the park that offer horse corrals for equestrians.

Reservations: You can reserve a spot up to 365 days in advance. Book online or call 1-800-807-4723

Camping in North Dakota National Parks

There are three official National Park Services in North Dakota, including the most well-known, Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The park is broken up into two distinct ‘units,’ North and South. The South unit is located near Medora, and the North Unit is near Watford City.

Each year, the state of North Dakota gets over 750,000 visitors to its beautiful National Parks and historic sites, including:

Camping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to TripAdvisor

Theodor Roosevelt National Park is one of the most popular attractions in North Dakota. It’s quite fitting the park is named after Mr. Roosevelt, after all, his love for the area was well documented. “Here the romance of my life began…” he is quoted saying. He also referred to the area as: “a world of beauty and color and limitless space.”

The 70,000-acre park is home to painted canyons, grassy hiking trails, and the Little Missouri River. It’s common to spot bison grazing alongside the road, and to hear the chatter of prairie dogs communicating to one another in the distance.

Theodor Roosevelt National Park is broken up into two distinct sections with Elkhorn Ranch in the middle. The south side of the park (near Medora) tends to be busier. The north side (near Watford City) has just as much to offer with fewer crowds.

The park is bursting with life between Memorial Day and September when rangers offer guided tours and nature talks, as well as campfire programs at night.

3 Campgrounds in Theodor Roosevelt National Park

Spend the night under the stars at several campgrounds located within Theodor Roosevelt National Park, including Cottonwood and Juniper Campground, as well as Roundup Group Horse Campground.

Cottonwood Campground

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to TripAdvisor

Location: East River Road, Medora, ND 58645 (South Unit park entrance)

Open: Year-round (limited amenities during off-season)

Camp fee: $14 per night (summer), $7 per night (off-season)

Website: nps.gov/thro/planyourvisit/cottonwood-campground.htm

Cottonwood Campground is located six miles from the South Unit entrance to the park. Half of the sites here can be reserved ahead of time, while the other half are offered on a first-come-first-served basis. Sites can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. Keep in mind, there are no dump stations or hookups for electric, sewer and water.

Amenities include flush toilets in the summer and pit-toilets year-round. There are water drinking fountains located throughout camp, but no showers.

You may hear some highway noise from your campsite, but other than that it feels remote and serene with the Little Missouri River running beside camp. Escape farther into the wilderness to explore over 70 miles of trails just a short distance from camp.

Group sites can be reserved for groups of 7 to 20 people for $30 per night.

Reservations: Book online via Recreation.org

Juniper Campground – Camping in North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to CampgroundViews.com

Location: Grassy Butte, ND 58634 (North Unit park entrance)

Open: Year-round (limited amenities during off-season)

Camp fee: $14 per night (summer), $7 per night (off-season)

Website: nps.gov/thro/planyourvisit/juniper-campground.htm

If you plan to visit the north side of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Juniper Campground offers 50 first-come-first-served back-in and pull-through sites for campers. Campsites are surrounded by cottonwood trees that turn gold each fall. The Juniper campsite links directly to the Little Mo Trail and the Achenbach Trail.

Amenities include flush toilets during summer, and pit toilets year-round. There are drinking water spigots located throughout camp, as well as one picnic table and grill per site. No showers are offered at this campground.

RVs are welcome and there is a dump station during busy season, but there are no hookups for sewer, electric, or water.

There is one group site at Juniper that can accommodate groups of 7 to 60 people for $30 a night. It is the only site at this campground that requires a reservation ahead of your stay.

Reservations: Visit Recreation.org or call 1-877-444-6777

Roundup Group Horse Campground – Camping in North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to recreation.gov

Location: Roundup Horse Camp Rd, Medora, ND 58645 (South Unit)

Open: May 1 through October 31

Camp fee: $40 per night for all group sizes

Website: nps.gov/thro/planyourvisit/roundup-group-horse-campground.htm

Traveling with horses? Roundup Group Horse Campground is 12 miles from the South Unit entrance to the park. This spacious group spot is reserved for one group at a time so you can use the whole space and enjoy privacy. The camp is surrounded by 70 miles of trails located a short distance from camp.

There is a six-person minimum for this large campsite. There’s room for up to 20 people and 20 horses, or 30 people without horses. You can stay for a maximum of 5 nights each year.

Water is available during most of camping season, although certain weather conditions may prohibit access to water in May and October. Additional amenities include plenty of parking for trailers, big rigs, and vehicles. Tenting platforms offer a nice spot to set up camp near raised wood or charcoal grills. Restrooms are on-site, as well as a covered picnic pavilion. There are no electric hook-ups.

Reservations: Book online or call 1-877-444-6777

Camping in North Dakota: Little Missouri National Grassland 

The Little Missouri National Grassland is in western North Dakota. It spans over one-million acres and is the largest grassland in America. The Grassland encompasses Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is managed by the National Park Service. The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service maintains the Grassland. The park is well-known for its beautiful badlands and rugged terrain formed from years of erosion.

Grasslands require no permits for hiking and are open to the public year-round unless there’s a fire or other disaster.

Little Missouri National Grassland offers various campgrounds, dispersed camping, group camping, and RV camping—check them all out here.

Buffalo Gap Campground – Camping in North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to ndtourism.com

Location: 7170 Buffalo Gap Campground, Sentinel Butte, ND 58654

Open: Year-round (limited services available in winter)

Camping fee: $6 per night

Website: fs.usda.gov/recarea/dpg/recarea/?recid=79452

Buffalo Gap Campground is one mile from Badlands National Park, and the nearest town is Medora. Camp on America’s largest Grassland with access to many trails and several amenities. Pick from 36 camping sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Tent, RV, and group camping accommodations are available.

There are 11 hydrants with potable water on-site (available between mid-May and mid-October). Campers can access two comfort stations with sinks. There are flush toilets in the summer and a vault toilet in winter. Plus, there are 3 coin-operated showers.

Popular activities include hiking, horse riding, nature viewing, and picnicking, followed by a night of camping beneath the stars.

Reservations: Call 1-701-227-7800

Other campgrounds throughout Little Missouri National Grassland:

Camping in North Dakota

Maah Daah Hey Trail
Credit to Singletracks.com

Bennet Campground

Burning Coal Vein Campground

CCC Campground

Elkhorn Campground

Maah Daah Hey Trail

Magpie Campground

Sather Lake Campground

Summit Campground

Camping in North Dakota on Lake Oahe

Lake Oahe begins in South Dakota and runs up through North Dakota, covering a total of 370,00 acres with depths up to 205-feet. Lake Oahe stretches 231 miles and offers 2,250 miles of shoreline.

This massive lake is home to over 50 recreation areas that cater to camping, boating, fishing, and hunting. Avid anglers will enjoy the plethora of fish living in the lake, including yellow perch, northern pike, and walleye.

Beaver Creek Recreation Area – Camping in North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota

Photo by Lyle Job

Location: ND-1804, Linton, ND 58552

Camping fee: $16 to $20 per night

Open: May through September

Website: Click Here

Beaver Creek Recreation Area is to the north of Beaver Bay on Lake Oahe. The lake and dam are named after the Oahe Indian Mission that was established in the area in 1874.

Beaver Creek has 51 campsites available for reservation, 37 are full-service with 30-amp electric hookups. Amenities include seasonal flush toilets, vault toilets (year-round), and drinking water. Plus, there is a three-lane boat ramp and two docks. This family-friendly recreation area has a playground too.

Reservations: Book now online

Camping in North Dakota: Campgrounds in Bowman, ND

Bowman County is home to several recreational lakes including the Bowman Haley Dam, Gascoyne Lake, Kalina Dam, Lutz Dam, and Spring Lake. Great lakes make for great camping spots, hence why there are several campgrounds within the Bowman area:

Camping in North Dakota

Bowman-Haley Dam
Credit to Wikipedia

Bowman Parks and Recreation Butte View Campground

Location: 1 Mile East of Bowman on, Highway 12, Bowman, ND 58623

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to Bowman County Pioneer

Camping fee: $15 to $25 per night

Open: May through November

Website: bowmannd.com/recreation/camping–fishing/

Butte View Campground is conveniently located just one mile east of Bowman on Highway 12. This campsite offers 54 electric sites. Campers can make use of modern bathrooms with showers, access to water, and a dump station. In addition, the 8-acre campground boasts a playground with sheltered picnic areas.

Reservations: Book your spot at Butte View Campground online

Camping in North Dakota: Private Campgrounds in ND

There are some benefits to staying at private campgrounds, including additional amenities such as full hookups for RVs and swimming pools. While many State and National parks prohibit staying longer than 5 days or so, private campgrounds generally welcome campers to stay as long as they’d like, often offering reduced rates for longer stays.

North Dakota is home to many private campgrounds, including the following highly rated options.

Lindenwood Campground

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to fargoparks.com

Location: 1955 Roger Maris Dr, Fargo, ND 58103

Camping fee: $30 per night with electricity and water

Open: May 1 through Oct 15 (weather permitting)

Website: Click Here

Situated off I-94, near the border of Minnesota and South Dakota, this easy to access campground sits beside the Red River. Camping sites include electricity, picnic tables, running water, fire pits, hot showers, and restrooms.  47 campsites are equipped with water and electric service. A playground can keep the little ones busy. Plus, there are bike rentals to help you explore surrounding trails.

Reservations:  Call 1-701-232-3987

Leistikow Park Campground – Camping in North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to graftonparks.com

Location: 609 W 5th St, Grafton, ND 58237

Camping fee: $28 per night

Open: May through October

Website: Click Here

The Leistikow Park Campground offers full-service hookups with water, sewer, electric service, and wireless Internet. Campers have access to a bathhouse with shower, as well as a Visitor Center with laundry facilities, soap vendor, and vending machines. Feeling adventurous? Canoe, kayak, and paddle boat rentals are available on-site.

Cabins start at $35 per night and come with a heater, A/C, microwave, mini-fridge, table and chairs. You’ll need to bring your own sheets, blankets and pillows.

Reservations: Call 1-701-352-1842 for current seasonal rates. Book online

Grand Forks Campground RV Park

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to RoverPass.com

Location: 4796 S 42nd St, Grand Forks, ND 58201

Camping fee: Around $20 per day

Website: Click Here

Grand Forks Campground offers 50-amp spacious pull-through sites with plenty of room for big rigs. Tents are welcome too! Camping sites are clean and many are in the shade. Amenities include electric, water, sewer, and Wi-Fi. This campground is located near shopping, dining, and entertainment. Pets are welcome!

Reservations: Call 1-701-772-6108

Bismarck KOA Journey Camping in North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to koa.com

Location: 3720 Centennial Rd, Bismarck, ND 58503

Open: All year

Camp fee: n/a

Website: Click Here

Bismarck KOA Journey is big-rig friendly and offers plenty of modern amenities to make you feel comfortable during your stay. The campground is located near Fort Abraham Lincoln, the State Capital Building, North Dakota Heritage Center, Dakota Zoo, Garrison Dam and Lake Sakakawea. There is a waterpark and golf courses in the area as well.

Pick between tent camping sites, RV sites, and lodging for rent. There are pull-through and back-in RV sites, some offer full hookups. Tent sites are available with no hookups and electric only. Plus, there are 1 and 2-room camping cabins for rent (no bathroom in cabins).

The pool is open between Memorial Weekend and Labor Day Weekend. From playgrounds to banana bike rentals, there are plenty of ways to stay busy. Additional amenities include a snack bar, propone and firewood sales, Wi-Fi, and a picnic pavilion. Pets are welcome and there’s a Kamp K9!

Reservations: Book online or call 1-800-562-2636

Eastbay Campground – Camping in North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to eastbaycampground.com

Location: 3892 E Bay Rd, Warwick, ND 58381

Open: Seasonal

Camp fee: $25 to $30 per night

Website: Click Here

Located on the glistening shore of Devils Lake, this privately-owned campground in North Dakota was established in 1998. Devils Lake is home to some of the best fishing in the state.

Seasonal campsites come with water, electric, and sewer hookups. In addition, there are primitive tent sites with plenty of space. All sites come with a fire ring and picnic table and many are positioned in the shade. There are several cabins on site as well, some come with all the comforts from home—including cable TV, private bathrooms, and full kitchens.

The lake has two boat launch areas for easy access to the north and south side of the lake. Plus, there are three beaches that are great for swimming.

Reservations: Call 1-701-398-5784

Free Camping in North Dakota

Looking to save a couple bucks by staying at a free camp site in North Dakota? We’ve got you covered!

Painted Canyon Visitor Center

Camping in North Dakota

Credit to outdoorproject.com

Location: I-94 Exit 32, Belfield, ND 58622

Open: Seasonally, closes in late-October

This is one of the visitor centers for Teddy Roosevelt National Park and you can stay overnight for free. It’s quiet and offers pretty views of the canyons. A rare treat for free camping spots, there are amenities such as restrooms, drinking fountains, public phones, vending machines, and picnic shelters.

Learn more

Scoria Pit

Location: West River Road, Medora, ND 58645

Open: As weather permits—dirt roads may become inaccessible following rain

This free camping spot is situated on an overlook that offers spectacular views. There’s a lot of wildlife in the area at night—which might be a selling point for some adventurers. If wildlife isn’t your thing, perhaps you’ll enjoy impressive views of the stars. It’s a quick 5-minute drive to Medora and Teddy Roosevelt National Park. There’s room for several big rigs at this spot, including large RVs and trailers.

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