Summer is coming. (Pshht to Game of Thrones and their, “Winter is coming.” Summer is where the real terror lies.) Summer means the kids are out of school. (shudder) You can’t hide from them all summer, even if you leave Cheerios and Goldfish out on the table. I’ve tried. Besides, eventually you will get tired of telling them to go outside and play.
I know you are tired. So, so, so tired. Oh, maybe that’s just me? It’s not just me. And the tired makes your brain fuzzy or foggy or some f word and then you can’t think. So, Imma help a sister/brother out and run down a quick list of things to keep you and your kids sane over the summer months.
Let’s start with the biggies. These two are the gimmes of North Dakota in the summer and your kids will love you for taking them. The North Dakota State Fair and Medora. It’s kind of obvious why the Fair is awesome for kids. Bunnies, horses, carnival rides, corn dogs and funnel cakes? Yeah, you’re good. And come on, you know you love bunnies, horses, corn dogs and funnel cakes too. Plus, odds are good they’ll sleep the whole way home.
Medora is family-friendly as well. An Old West children’s park, mini-golf, old-fashioned ice cream parlors, the Pitchfork Fondue, the Medora Musical and a Family Fun Center are just a few of the things to keep you busy in Medora. It’s on the must-do list every summer if you live with young people.
If you need something just to fill a few hours, there’s the Dakota Zoo and the Superslide Amusement Park in Bismarck. And Raging Rivers Waterpark is right across in the river in Mandan. McDowell Dam is a great place to sit on the sand and watch the kids splash in a roped-off swimming area. Or be really daring and head off further into the water in one of the rental canoe or paddle boats. If you do though, I am not responsible if it takes you 2 hours to get back to shore because your children are working against you with the oars. That’s just a guess of course.
North Dakota also has some phenomenal places to camp, but there are a few primitive camping areas in Burleigh county, along the Missouri, that you may not know about. Steckel Boat Landing off 1804, Kimball Bottoms Recreational Area on Desert Road, south of Bismarck and Kniefel Boat Landing on Misty Waters Drive, north of Bismarck.
So get out there! You might like it as much as your kids. Ok, you won’t, but it’s hard to match the enthusiasm of kids. You’ll have some fun and you’ll assuage the guilt. Bring it on, summer.
Courtney Crane is a writer at KK BOLD. Despite her best intentions, her outings with her children sometimes end with everyone in tears, including her.