Adventure seekers will feel right at home among the bison and untamed wilderness of North Dakota. But even the most seasoned traveler will need to take a breather every once in a while. Lucky for you, there is the oasis town of Medora, North Dakota.
Whether you’re looking to hike, raft, or mountain climb, you’ll still need a town to base yourself out of. Located at the front door to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora will keep you entertained, fed, and well-rested before you venture back out on your next journey.
The only problem you’ll find while planning your trip to Medora is that there is so much to do! If you’re on a tight time frame, how can you pick and choose what to do first?
Planning your trip has never been easier with our guide to all the best things to do in Medora. From museums to state parks, you’ll be able to find all the top spots that fit your style of travel.
Hold on to your hat; your adventure to Medora is just a few clicks away!
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19 Best Things to Do in Medora, North Dakota
1. Visit the Cowboy Hall of Fame
Kicking off your visit to Medora, be sure to stop by the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. It wasn’t that long ago when cattle roamed free on the open range. There’s no better place to immerse yourself in more of the region’s culture than this museum.
Focusing on cultures ranging from Native Americans to frontiersmen, you’ll be able to explore the lives of the first men and women who called the American West home. Be sure to check out the events to see if you can catch a modern rodeo or demonstration while in Medora.
2. Spend Time in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The number one reason you’ll find tourists in Medora is to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Made famous by its high plateaus and enchanting landscapes, you’ll be wanting to photograph every inch of this park.
Located just a few miles away, you’ll literally be sleeping just minutes away from the gate of the park.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is not a place you can see in just a day; with miles of hiking trails, scenic drives, and breathtaking scenery, not even a month would be enough to do the park justice.
Lucky for you, Medora offers an unbeatable base for discovering the park. So you can play in nature by day and enjoy the comforts by night.
3. Eat Pitchfork Steak Fondue
If you’re looking to really get to know the culture of America’s West, there is no better place to start than the dinner table. Pitchfork Steak Fondue is a unique dish served to you by chefs in cowboy hats that will give you a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll remember for years to come.
Located right next to the Medora Musical Theatre, this restaurant makes for the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before you catch a show.
4. Visit Chateau de Mores
Known as one of the most colorful figures to have called Medora home, a French aristocrat named Marquis de Mores built a hunting lodge by the town in 1883. Marquis built up several industries in Medora, such as beef packing and cattle raising.
Travelers can learn more about his life and the Old West’s last days at his 26 room home, now turned into a museum. Nearby, you’ll also find famous sights such as Chimney Park and De Mores Memorial Park.
5. See the Medora Musical
Pull out your cowboy boots because you’ll be tapping your feet to the music at the Medora Musical. With live country music, singing, dancing, and even fireworks, the Medora Musical is the perfect way to bring a day of hiking to an end.
You’ll get so much more than just singing and dancing at this stage performance. The Medora Musical even has a Theodore Roosevelt impersonator who will take you through the pages of the history books.
It’s a really fun way to learn about the area, North Dakota, the National Park and of course, Teddy Roosevelt and his time spent in the area.
6. Enjoy Sully Creek State Park
Want to find another park around Medora other than the Theodore Roosevelt National Park? Sully Creek State Park has plenty of mountains and rivers to explore, with a fraction of the crowds.
With more than 100 miles of hiking trails, there are so many different ways to enjoy Sully Creek. No matter if you find yourself on horseback, on a bicycle, or just hiking the trails, you’re sure to have the time of your life in the great outdoors.
7. Eat at the Cowboy Cafe
Work up an appetite while out on your hike? Stop by the Cowboy Cafe for lunch! This small cafe oozes with local flavor. With old pictures of cowboy legends hanging on the wall, you’ll be immersed in all things western.
The Cowboy Cafe will cook you up a home-cooked meal that will send your tastebuds to heaven. Order an award-winning beef sandwich; you’ll be eating the best of what Medora has to offer.
8. Book a Ride with the Medora Riding Stables
If you really want to feel like a cowboy, head on over to the Medora Riding Stables just east of the town. Here you can saddle up and imagine what it was like for pioneers to explore the West for the first time.
Have little to no riding experience? No problem! With trained guides leading you along the trails, even those who have never been on a horse can enjoy the great outdoors while sitting astride a saddle! Taking you through canyons and buttles, this is an adventure you won’t want to miss.
9. Visit the Maltese Cross Cabin
Located just across the street from the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, is the actual cabin that Theodore Roosevelt used to stay in during his visits to North Dakota.
With a history stretching back over a hundred years, this is one historical sight you’ll definitely want to add to your itinerary.
Although small, this cabin has been furnished to resemble what it may have looked like when Roosevelt stayed nearby the park. You’ll also find a gift shop and several places to eat.
10. Stop at the Medora Visitor Center
Located smack between Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the town of Medora, the Medora Visitor Center will give you everything you need to prepare for the journeys ahead. With backcountry hiking permits and souvenirs, there isn’t much you can’t find at the visitor center.
Are you looking to get some more insight into the history of the trails ahead? With interactive exhibits, you’ll learn more about the history and science of the parks and nearby towns.
11. Hike the Maah Daah Hey Trail
Are you looking for some extra adventure while in Medora? The Maah Daah Hey Trail will have you exploring more of South Dakota along its breathtaking path. With high plateaus, bubbling brooks, and stunning scenery, this is one of Medora’s best-kept secrets.
The Maah Daah Hey Trail can’t be done in a single day. Stretching a total of 142 miles, you’ll need to make it a week-long trip or choose one of the sections to explore. Some sights to look out for are the Devil’s Pass and the China Wall.
12. Stop at the Harold Schafer Heritage Center
Businessman and philanthropist Harold Schafer helped shape the state we now know as North Dakota. With profits made from products such as Mr. Bubble and Snowy Bleach, Schafer pumped his money back into his community.
You can learn all about this local hero through exhibits and film at the Harold Schafer Heritage Center. Brought to life with living historians, this is a sight you won’t want to miss.
13. See Chimney Park
If you have some free time between the park and Medora, why not head down to Chimney Park and have a picnic? As the largest park in Medora, you’re bound to find many locals relaxing here on the weekend.
With ample room and a relaxing atmosphere, there is no better place to enjoy North Dakota at a slower pace.
Chimney Park is also a piece of local history. With only the chimney remaining after a meatpacking plant burned down in 1907, this monument stands as a reminder of the influence Marquis de Mores left on the town.
14. Eat at Badlands Pizza & Saloon
Want to sit in a restaurant with a wild west atmosphere while chowing down on a pizza? Looks like you’ll want to head over to the Badlands Pizza & Saloon! Especially good for families, there is no better place to grab a slice than this café.
The Badlands Pizza & Saloon has an ambiance and food that you can’t beat. The location is also right outside the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, making it a great place to eat after working up an appetite on the trail.
15. Wander the De Mores Memorial Park
Located in the heart of Medora, De Mores Memorial Park will be your last stop on touring the life of the historic French aristocrat, Marquis de Mores. This patch of green lawn is made famous with its statue to the eccentric politician and several flags fluttering overhead.
Listed on the national register of historical places, this site is a must for history buffs and average tourists alike. Nearby you’ll also find several museums and many places to eat.
16. See a Performance at the Old Town Hall Theater
Medora is filled with many historical buildings and one of our favorites was the Old Town Hall Theater, a place that Theodore Roosevelt himself visited in 1902.
This beautifully restored old town hall is yet another amazing place to take in an intimate performance when visiting Medora. Weekly performances include the poplar Medora Teddy Roosevelt Show.
We strongly suggest showing up early so you can take in the great murals that depict what life was like for settlers of Medora.
17. Don’t Miss the Fudge & Ice Cream Depot
Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, you must stop at the Medora Fudge & Ice Cream Deport for some of the best treats in town. It is like stepping back in time in this old fashion sweet shop outfitted with photos and artifacts from the early days of Medora.
If it’s nice out, grab a homemade ice cream and enjoy it on their outdoor patio or take it for a walk down the historic downtown as you read the different placards.
18. Do the Historical Walk
Discover Medora’s past on a self-guided historical walking tour that leads you through town. Be transported back to a time where old saloons, cowboys, and horses ruled the streets.
This historical walking tour takes you to placards in front of Chimney Park, Demores Park, St. Mary’s Church, Von Hoffman House, Billings Country Courthouse Museum, and many more historical points of interest in Medora.
They highlight firsthand information from those who called Medora home throughout the years. This is a fun, insightful and free way to get to know this quirky little town.
19. Pay a Visit to the Billings County Courthouse Museum
Discover what it was like back in the pioneer days to sit in a courtroom on trial and end off in jail at the Billings Country Courthouse Museum. This historical museum features an amazing courtroom, jail, a collection of western firearms, and other pioneer artifacts.
Learn about the various past issues with law enforcement along with local gunslingers who called Medora home. A stroll through this museum will help you understand what the settlers of North Dakota had to go through just to survive.
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