Travel United States

A Visit to the Badlands and Medora, North Dakota

IMG_0584When I tell people that I (a California girl) vacation in North Dakota, I am met with some of the funniest, stunned, and quizzical looks you could ever imagine a face making. Really. O.K. Maybe that doesn’t sound surprising since you are sitting there with the very same look on your face.

Yes, I try to get to North Dakota once a year – although that does not always happen. I go to see family and I always have a great time there! Many of our Christmas cards are family photos of us visiting this prairie state because it is simply beautiful!

Standing in the Sunflower fields.



Spanning two countries at the International Peace Gardens.

One foot in the United States and one foot in Canada!
One foot in the United States and one foot in Canada!

Enjoying all that lake life has to offer.

Water skiing

But this last visit had me (primarily) staying in the capital city of Bismarck. I say primarily because my parents and I headed to the Badland’s town of Medora to watch the Medora Musical.


Medora is a very small town nestled in the badlands and made famous by Teddy Roosevelt for his one stop there on April 7, 1903 where it was said that every Medora town member went out and greeted him on his whittle stop.


The town though small is filled with many quaint gift shops, restaurants, and the Rough Rider Hotel. We spent two days and one night exploring most all that Medora had to offer.

We loved the Medora Musical. This musical is performed in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre. The location is stunning! The outdoor theater overlooks the badlands and the sun sets during the show. The show opens with Elk grazing across the ridge and then cowboys on horseback galloping up to herd the elk in.


This is the musical’s 50th anniversary and the show was nonstop fun – filled with singing, dancing, horses, and a complete tribute to each decade of its history. I loved seeing each decade highlighted not only in song but in costumes. I was once the proud wearer of patched denim jeans and jean vest – it was fun seeing that same outfit on stage.


Harold Schafer the original maker of Mr. Bubbles bubble bath is the man behind the Medora Musical. He has funded a lot of the town’s restoration, first starting with the Rough Riders Hotel (The hotel that we stayed at and loved.), then moving onto restoring the Joe Ferris General Store, and then in 1965 Harold purchased the theater assets and brought in a new production company. And as they say, the rest is history.


I loved the tribute made to my home state…


The night ended with fireworks shooting off into the night sky – simply beautiful!

We also spent time driving the 36 mile loop through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. On our drive we saw a plethora of prairie dogs, elk, bison, and herds of wild horses. The bison and horses were seen at a distance and we had to watch carefully so as not to miss them. The drive winded through the hills and the views were spectacular every which way you looked!



There was much more to do in this little town that we did not have time to explore. We went into the visitor center of Chateau de Mores, but did not take the tour. We also skipped the Bully Pulpit Golf Course and the Cowboy Hall of Fame. But we did enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at the Cowboy Cafe!

Medora IMG_4972

If you are ever traveling through the badlands  – stop in the town of Medora! You will not be disappointed!


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(2) Comments

  1. There are only six states left that I’ve never been to and North Dakota is one of them, but this makes me want to go asap!

    1. Stacey says:

      Wow, Julie, you have been to 44 states so far?!? That’s amazing! You definitely need to get to North Dakota. The rolling fields of grain are a beauty in and of itself! Blue flax, yellow canola, and towering sunflowers – simply beautiful.

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