The energy is in the air. The daylight is making itself known longer and longer. The home stretch is approaching. Feel it. Say it. Winter is coming to a close, well sort of. Even though it is officially winter for another month, and the cold is likely here for months after that, there is a glimpse of summer that happens around mid-to-late February every year in North Dakota.
What is it? North Dakota State Park camping RESERVATION season opens! This state prides itself on the beautiful and well-maintained state parks. The lakes, rivers, and miles of star studded skies fill the hearts of North Dakotans and visitors alike. But, with this summer North Dakota luxury also comes a stiff competition for camping reservations.
The 95-day reservations calendar put out by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department can be found bookmarked and printed as a holy document amongst some committed seasoned North Dakotan campers. It details to the prospective camper on what date they can expect to make a camping reservation for their summer outdoor adventure. And spots fill up fast.
Reservations are open exactly 95-days before the camping date, and since state parks open around Memorial Day each year, the start of reservation season will open soon. According to the Window Calendar, https://www.parkrec.nd.gov/sites/www/files/documents/Stay/95-day-window.pdf, Feb 13 is the first day for reservations for campers wishing to stay at a State Park campground on May 19. So, to find when a reservation is available, follow the calendar, plan ahead and be ready to reserve on the day the calendar opens!
Among this massive land-mass state there sits 13 State Parks and 2 Recreation Areas. Some of the closer parks are Lake Sakakawea State Park located about an hour away from MAFB. This massive lake and park has it all. The state park website, https://www.parkrec.nd.gov/maps-widget/map, describes Lake Sakakawea like this, “The park is surrounded by miles of lakeshore, providing stunning views. Visitors can spend time at the swim beach, camping beneath the trees, hiking on the trails, or out on the lake. Sail boaters and windsurfers can take advantage of North Dakota’s fabled wind on this 368,000-acre lake.” Each ND State Park has its own specific wonders and outdoors activities to offer.
Although each park differs slightly, modern campsites with hook-ups are priced around $25/per night and cabins are around $125. Besides the nightly rate, each vehicle is expected to pay a daily fee of $7 per day or a vehicle pass can also be purchased for $35. A unique and lesser-known program is the Library Loan Program where citizens can obtain a day pass to any state park at no charge from most ND local libraries. That’s a great way to see the parks and enjoy them for free!
North Dakotans take their camping seriously and campsite and cabin rentals alike are known to fill up on or right after their 95-day booking window opens. Campers plan their summer stays, write the reservations dates in calendars and can be known to book the morning of availability to ensure a spot. So make sure and get those reservations in, on time and as soon as possible so the ND summer is taken full advantage of!