Drive along North Dakota’s famous Enchanted Highway to see one of the world’s largest collection of scrap metal sculptures. There are various sculptures including geese, deer, pheasants, grasshoppers, Theodore Roosevelt, and a Tin Family. This fascinating roadside display begins at Exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and finishes in the quaint town of Regent. Once you reach Regent, head to the gift shop to buy miniature displays of each statue or stay the night in the Enchanted Castle Motel which has 19 charming rooms. This hotel’s medieval-themed Tavern will take you back in time with its stone walls and handcrafted metal chandeliers.
Big Sky Resort is the second largest ski resort in the United States and has 5,850 skiable acres, four mountains, 36 lifts and over 300 runs. You can take the Lone Peak tram to the top of Lone Mountain to enjoy 300 degrees of skiing as well as breathtaking views of three states and two National Parks. The resort’s efficient tram system means that there are basically no lines, allowing you to have more time to ski than you would at other resorts. If you don’t feel like skiing or snowboarding, you can go snowshoeing, take your kids to the bungee trampoline and giant swing, or speed down the Adventure Zipline Tour for extensive views of Lone Mountain and the Spanish Peaks of the Madison Range. Big Sky Resort is also an excellent summer destination with golf, mountain biking, gemstone mining, archery, hiking, fly fishing, and horseback riding.
Bike ride, hike, or horse ride the Route of the Hiawatha for panoramic views of Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains. Once an old railway line, this scenic 15-mile bike track passes through numerous tunnels and towering trestle bridges reaching up to 230 feet high. Many visitors say their favourite part of the ride is the St. Paul Pass (Taft Tunnel) which is located under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line. Start at the Lookout Pass Ski Area to hire mountain bikes, helmets and lights, with an optional shuttle bus available on return. The Route of the Hiawatha is open 8:30am-5pm from about mid-May to mid-September and is all downhill, making it the perfect spot for a scenic family bike ride.
One of the most relaxing and scenic ways to explore the quaint city of Cheyenne is by taking a free horse-drawn carriage tour. You will see beautiful and unique sites like the historic Cheyenne Depot Museum and the luxurious Nagle Warren Mansion B&B. The carriage driver will provide narration about the different historical sites and buildings you pass on the ride, allowing you to gain a deeper insight into Cheyenne’s rich history. These tours are the ideal summer activity as they run every day from 11am-5pm in June, July and August, and Wednesday-Sunday in May and September.
For a pioneer experience, head to Ingalls Homestead where famous author of ‘Little Town on the Prairie’ Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up. The whole family will enjoy the various activities here including demonstrations of twisting hay sticks and making a jump rope and a corn cob doll. Kids will love visiting the farm animals and many guests’ highlight of the trip is the chance to drive the team of horses when taking a covered wagon ride! There is also the opportunity for children to visit the schoolhouse and wear pinafores and bonnets or straw hats while a teacher explains interesting stories and example activities students would have performed. You can even camp here for the night in the covered wagons, bunkhouse, RV and tent sites.
Held in Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park which is considered one of the scariest places in North Dakota, Haunted Fort will provide you with an exhilarating night! Abraham Lincoln’s buildings are transformed into terrifying haunted houses each Friday and Saturday night in October. Actors at Haunted Custer House, Zombie Battlefield, and Clown House combine eerie effects with in-your-face-scares that will leave you scared. For children under 13, there is a Haunted Fort Halloween Kids’ Bash on October 21 that consists of five hours of fun games and spooky tours of Custer House led by Custer’s dead butler.
If you’re going to be in Montana in August, make sure you don’t miss the Crow Fair Powwow and Rodeo which is one of the biggest rodeos in the United States. Held on August 14-19 in Billings, the Apsaalooke people of the Crow Indian Reservation showcase exquisite cultural activities like the powwow where hundreds of dancers dressed in colourful, traditional Native American regalia compete in contests where they dance in time to the drum. The Apsaalooke people showcase traditional beadwork, buckskin and leather work, and hold a morning parade with horse riding and elaborately decorated cars. This event also includes an All-Indian rodeo with professional cowboys and cowgirls riding from all around the United States in addition to the much-loved Indian-Relay horse races. The celebration ends with a ‘Dance-Through-Camp’ which is meant as a prayer for good things for the Crow Tribe and for the coming year.
Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Harrison is a great place to go on a holiday to authentically experience the Great American West. You will be paired with a horse for your stay so that you can ride on the extensive scenic trails with pastures, open hillsides, ridges and narrow paths every day, led by a knowledgeable wrangler. There are many other exciting adventures available including rock climbing and ziplining at the Challenge Course, mountain biking, kayaking and fishing for bass, crappie, trout, and perch. This is an ideal destination for families as there is a Kids Program where children will learn to horse ride, kayak, and go bike riding! You are sure to have a comfortable stay here in one of their 20 suites with cosy bedding, authentic log furniture, and private decks to look out at the breathtaking forest views.
Jackson Hole Old West Days is an annual event which will be held on May 23-27 this year and features live music, theatrical entertainment, and rodeo events. You can go on horse-drawn carriage stage coach rides, compete in bow and arrow and hawk and knife competitions, go on a free historical walking tour of Jackson, and even watch a re-enactment of a shootout in the town square! This event is perfect for families as there are arts and crafts for kids, line dancers, country western music, and cowboy poetry. Have a chuckwagon dinner with cowboy entertainment at the nationally acclaimed Bar J Wranglers.
Located in the heart of the Black Hills, the famous Mickelson Trail stretches from Deadwood to Edgemont is one of the best places to go for a bike ride, hike, or horse ride in North America. This 109-mile trail will take you past spruce and ponderosa pine forests and contains four rock tunnels and more than 100 converted railroad bridges. The trail has gentle slopes making it the ideal place for a family bike ride as children can ride this trail too. If you’re looking for accommodation nearby, stay at Quality Inn Hill City Mount Rushmore which is located directly in front of the Mickelson trail. This hotel even has a room dedicated for guests to store their bicycles in, in addition to an indoor heated pool, free Wi-Fi, and a free hot breakfast.