It’s beginning to warm up and although we might not be completely in the clear, we can still get excited about the summer months ahead.

After spending a few summers away from the area, I am convinced that Bismarck/Mandan is the best place in North Dakota to spend your summer.

  • 1

    Missouri River

    The river is the number one hot spot for people of all ages to spend time this summer whether you have a couple hours or a full day.

    For those with a boat there are endless possibilities; fishing, tubing, wakeboarding or just soaking up the North Dakota rays. Marina Bay or the scattered sand bars are common areas you will find boats anchored near each other for people to celebrate the warm weather together.

    No boat? The river is lined with plenty of sandy beaches for you to bring your towel, cooler and friends! If you still have the urge to get out on the water, the Lewis and Clark Riverboat is available for afternoon, evening and sunset cruises.

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  • 2

    Trails & Paths

    BisMan has many paved paths for biking, rollerblading or walking with great scenery. Many even provide how many miles can be expected if you complete the whole trail.

    One of the most popular paths is the Riverfront Trail which has a great view of the Missouri River while providing you with both areas of shade and sunlight. This path runs from Pioneer Park to Sertoma Park equaling a distance of 2.01 miles.

    For a more rugged experience, Fort Abraham Lincoln contains numerous routes made of grass or dirt specially designed for biking, hiking or even horseback riding.

    Bismarck Parks and Recreation provides a great list of trails, their locations and distances.

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  • 3

    Sports Leagues

    Parks and Rec hosts many different summer sport activities for everybody. From day camps for kids to competitive leagues for adults you are sure to find a way to keep the whole family active this summer.

    One of the most popular sports is Coed Softball.  There are teams that take the league very seriously with frequent practices and ones that are involved just for the fun of the game. All are welcome and you have until May 16 to register!

    Not interested in playing? You can have just as much fun attending the games with a bag of sunflower seeds and a cooler full of your favorite beverages!

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  • 4

    Dakota Zoo

    The Dakota Zoo is an awesome spot to spend summer afternoons with the family. Kids will have a great time wandering around while viewing a wide variety of animals.

    Dakota Zoo provides the opportunity to feed certain animals, learn through interactive displays and get a great look into how different species behave and live.

    For those with smaller children who may have trouble keeping up throughout the day, there is a train that gives a leisurely ride around the entire zoo.

    For a complete list of times and prices, visit the Dakota Zoo website.

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  • 5

    Water Parks

    Swimming is a great way to spend a hot Saturday and the area is full of great pools!

    For families with younger children Elks Aquatic Center is great with shallow swimming areas along with fun water obstacles the kids will want to run through over and over. There is even a playground for children to play on as they dry off.

    If you have a group with a variety of ages the Wachter Aquatic Complex is a personal favorite. The pool creates a series of ocean-like waves that run periodically throughout the day.

    Raging Rivers Waterpark is BisMan's number one spot for swimming as it has a wide variety of activities. The lazy river is perfect for those who want to relax and get a tan while the giant slides provide endless fun.

    Parks and Rec has a list of the area's pools, prices and information on how to rent the facilities for parties!

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