Cheap Summer Vacation Series: Teddy Roosevelt National Park

This post is part of a series I’m doing for the summer on cheap vacations to National Parks across the country .  Today, we are going to look at Teddy Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota.

As you may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of Teddy (yea, we are even on a first name basis!).  I’ve written about him for yakezie, and I’ve read quite a bit about him as well.  Teddy grew up in New York, to a prominent family, but didn’t take the typical path that someone of that stature would have taken.  At one point in his life, he decided that he wanted to come out west and try his hand in the cattle ranching game.  He bought 2 ranches and came out to north dakota to run them.  One was named the Malteze Cross and the other was called the Elkhorn.  The ranches are in the the area they call the North Dakota Badlands, and the park is broken up into 3 units.  The south unit is located near Medora, North Dakota, and I didn’t venture to the other two units.  As usual, you should check the things to know before you head out.

This is what Teddy had to say about the area that the park now occupies:

The badlands grade all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantasticlly broken in form and so bizarre in color as seem to hardly properly to belong to this earth

Medora is a nice small town that has turned itself into a little theatre capitol.  There seemed like there was quite a bit of activity there, and there was also a “pitchfork fondue” dinner.  Although I didn’t go to that, it sounded like quite a bit of fun.  I’d encourage you to check out the town if you decide to head out to this park.

I didn’t camp in the park for this trip, I was at a smaller state park called Sulley Creek State Park, which sits on the Mah Dah Hey trail and on the banks of the little missouri.  It cost $10 for the camping spot and a $5 fee for the park It was a nice spot to camp in, but the reason we stayed there was because I brought along the dog, who was not allowed in the national park.   There was plenty to do at this state park, and I even got to see a rattlesnake!  It was quite the trip.  Below are some pictures.

This is a picture from our campground at Sulley Creek State Park.  It was an nice day (as you can see from the photo) and I enjoyed the camping there.  When on vacations to national parks that are difficult to get spots at to camp or if you’re unable to camp in the park for other reasons, check out the surrounding areas.  Some are protected by other federal agencies like the forest service or the BLM, and some are protected by the state.  They are also a bit cheaper on occasion.

This is the dog looking out the window after seeing her first buffalo.  This picture was taken in Teddy Roosevelt national park at some spot along the road.  Just look at those buffalo!  They are absolutely massive, and you’d never guess they were as fast as they are.  They are simply amazing creatures.

Above is a picture of the North Dakota Badlands, and this was the area where Teddy ranched.  It’s quite the site, I think.  Sitting on the edge of the road where the picture was taken, you feel like you can see forever out there – and there’s tons to see.

This is a nice national park, but probably wouldnt be one had a former president not owned the land at some point – if you’re interested, it’s worth the trip though.  Not only are these trips very cheap, they provide stunning views and time away from phones, internets and other things – you can easily lose hours on one of these trips, and you’ll remember it for years to come.

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5 thoughts on “Cheap Summer Vacation Series: Teddy Roosevelt National Park

  1. I visited the Badlands when I was a teenager and it was really quite breath-taking. I also remember buffalo at Yellowstone -my step mother wanted to get a “close up” photo of them. That was until one started following her!

    I’m looking forward to you covering Yosemite. I’m hoping to visit that park this summer! 😉

  2. Wow the visibility looks amazing there. There aren’t enough places in the world now where you can see for miles and miles without smog clouding things up. Looks like a beautiful place and awesome buffalo pic – you got really close up! Cool!

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