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Sara Otte Coleman, Published May 12 2012

Get out there and enjoy wonders, beauty, adventure of North Dakota

With our wonderfully mild winter, it was hard to determine when winter ended and spring began. But one thing is for certain: The summer travel season is right around the corner. May 5 through today was National Travel and Tourism Week, which officially kicks off the season.

It’s also a time for us to celebrate our state’s robust tourism industry and our unique things to see and do that attract people from all over. Tourism is the state’s third-largest industry and benefits the economies of all 53 counties.

This summer, I encourage you to venture out and see the incredible state. As a North Dakota resident, you have double the pleasure of enjoying our state’s diverse vacation opportunities and also serving as a host to out-of-state visitors.

If you’ve lived here for years, venture throughout the state and rediscover treasures you haven’t seen lately, like the Enchanted Highway, the Bagg Bonanza Farm or the Badlands. Or create new family traditions like camping at a state park, canoeing the Pembina Gorge or shopping until you drop in our vibrant downtowns.

Leisure travel continues to attract visitors, with visiting friends and family making up the largest group. So if you’re hosting friends and family this summer, help them return home feeling like legends. Suggest they cap off their family reunion with a fishing trip to Devils Lake or Lake Sakakawea. Or hint that they can perfect their golf swing at any of more than 115 golf courses, and afterward reward themselves with a bite of local fare.

Thanks to the state’s strong economy, many new people now call North Dakota home. If you’re new to North Dakota, welcome! You may be surprised by all the great attractions or events near you. Celebrate our patriotism and heritage at a family-friendly communitywide festival. Hike the many trails that crisscross the state, or discover the quirky side by checking out our larger-than-life roadside attractions. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a North Dakota summer without experiencing a rodeo or powwow.

Every part of the state, including those recovering from last year’s flooding, has much to offer. And no matter where in North Dakota you vacation, your travel plans can be accommodated. Be sure to plan ahead and call hotels directly, as they may have rooms not available through a national reservation service.

So hit the road this summer. An amazing array of activities and adventures await you in North Dakota. Visit NDtourism.com for ideas, tips and event listings. With our online trip planner, you can create a big tour of the state or several mini-trips. Get out there and enjoy!

Otte Coleman is director of North Dakota Tourism.