Online Highways logo

North Dakota

According to the US Geological Survey, the geographical center of North American continent can be found in Rugby, North Dakota. (A 21-foot stone obelisk built by the Boy Scouts in 1932 marks the spot.) Since North Dakota is located far from the tempering effect of the oceans and the Great Lakes, it has the extreme temperature swings of a "continental climate": frigid cold in winter and oppressive heat during the brief summer. The winter chill is given credit for North Dakota's famously low crime rate, the lowest of any US state -- a popular saying goes "Forty below keeps out the riffraff."

Not a lot of people live in North Dakota -- fewer than 700,000, and the largest city, Fargo, has only 90,000 residents. Not a lot of tourists visit there either, choosing instead to visit South Dakota, which has a greater supply of top-name attractions (such as Mount Rushmore). This can work to your advantage, for during the warmer months, North Dakota is quite hospitable, and you don’t have to share it with hordes of other visitors. The green-tinged Theodore Roosevelt National Park of North Dakota do not offer the same bizarre bleakness of those to the south, but during the peak season, it's a lot easier to find a quiet spot.