1. Plan Plan Plan
From Santa Claus visits to Christmas concerts to fat bike races, there’s a lot going on in the Badlands this month. You’ll lose your mind if you try to remember it all. The good news is, you can keep your mind, just know where to quickly access the calendar of events.
So, here are two tips.
- Bookmark the Beautiful Badlands ND Things to Do page. It has a continually updated calendar of events so you don’t have to try to remember them all.
- Download the free resource of 10 local calendars that will help you zero in on the region where you want to know about events.
2. Getting There
It’s not as tough as it used to be. By-passes have been built around many towns where traffic congestion was a problem. New Town, Watford City, Williston, Alexander, Killdeer, and Dickinson have traffic diverting by-passes to help relieve the traffic tie-ups. Yes, there are trucks on many of the highway, but not nearly as many as there were 5 or 10 years ago. You’ll find greater congestion in Bismarck or Fargo. Williston is doing a good job of redirecting traffic through the city. So, pay attention. Since then, many highways have been improved with passing lanes, turn lanes and better surfaces.
Always check the North Dakota Travel Information Map for the latest conditions. Here’s the link.
3. Christmas Cards
It might be getting late for this, but you can still use some fast services to turn your Badlands photos into Christmas cards. Badlands backdrops make impressive Christmas cards. We went out to the Wind Canyon overlook for our Christmas cards.
Yes, it’s getting late in the season, but here’s an idea — Christmas postcards.
It’s not too late to take a photo of you and your family and then have the card reproduced as a postcard.
Our own recommendation:
We have a public presentation we give on getting your best photos from the Badlands. Here’s an article that gives you some tips for getting the best Badlands photo.
(Selfless promotion included here!)
Did you know the gift shops at Fort Union and the Missouri Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center have gift ideas that you will not find elsewhere? There is also pottery and jewelry and books at the Mondak Heritage Center in Sidney.
There is pottery at Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach a world-famous, high-class pottery store.
The best part is it’s not elbow-to-elbow crunch at the gift shops. You’ll be surprised and encouraged at what you find there.
Okay, true confession. Guilty! We shop at our own online stores and we think you’ll love what you see there.
This is a popular place for Badlands wall art, canvas wraps, and prints as small as 5×7 inches or 3-feet by 4 feet large. You can also get Badlands images as phone cases, refrigerator magnets, Christmas ornaments, desk organizers, mouse pads.
What does a person from outside the reaches of western North Dakota and eastern Montana see when she spends time in the badlands? Find photos, gifts and other one-of-a-kind gift items here: www.marys.photo
5. Fresh Air — Just Breath
One thing the North Dakota Badlands has going for itself that you won’t find elsewhere is stunning landscape and accessible trails. So, make a memory. Bundle up the family and wander out to one of the easy winter wonderland trails. There are few things that can produce a rush of feel-good endorphins like a 20-minute walk in the cool fresh air. There are even little hills (and big hills) where you can let your kids slide. We have cross-country skied the Badlands trails.
Many people are getting into fatbike riding the trails. (Fat bike: Christmas gift idea?)
What a memory you will create with a bit of fresh air.
Plus: You’ll de-stress, unwind and relax. You need that before you dive into the rest of the joyous stress this time of year. Here’s one example, an easy drive then a short quarter-mile hike to bring you to this view of Devils Pass.
Don’t want to walk the trails? At least take a drive. Both the North and South Units have paved roads to drive. Or if you are a bit adventurous, drive north from Camels Hump to the historic Elkhorn Ranch. The drive is spell-binding. Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch Site will give you what you need to unpack your holiday stresses — if you’re willing to do it.
Pick another destination on a gravel road such as West River Road or East River Road at Medora. Be amazed at the sugar-coated hills after it snows.
But really, the best idea: get out and walk a bit, even if you just walk down a gravel road in the Badlands.
Do you have other ideas for shopping, or de-stressing, or how to handle the holidays Badlands style? We’d love to hear from you. Just comment below. Or leave a comment on our Facebook page.