Bastions of the Great Plains, North Dakota and South Dakota offer an immersion in American culture and the country's outsized landscapes. A stay in this region, combines both historical sites, walks in the middle of nature and the discovery of typical cities.
You'll make a foray into vibrant Minneapolis, Minnesota before exploring the two Dakotas from north to south. You will have the chance to discover iconic and historic cities mixing gold rush and Native American culture as well as the natural wonders of the many national parks and the beauty of their wilderness.
This program will allow you an in-depth discovery of this region that you can enhance with many optional activities: kayaking on the Mississippi, visit an authentic gold mine or the Tatanka Museum on the history of bison created by Kevin Costner, immersion in the heart of a PowWow, horseback riding, jeep safari, musical show, on the road to Lewis & Clark ... A wide choice to spice up your road trip!
Dakota from North to South Chad Coppes
DAY 1 - Flight to Minneapolis
Departure from France on a scheduled flight to Minneapolis. Upon arrival at the airport, you will pick up your rental vehicle.
DAY 2 – The city of Minneapolis, on the banks of the Mississippi
After a first night in Minneapolis, take advantage of the day to discover the most important city in Minnesota. Despite its imposing skyscrapers, the city is a true urban oasis that hosts a large number of lakes and parks. Stroll through Minnehaha Park in the heart of the city and contemplate its impressive waterfall. Immerse yourself in Minneapolis' cultural and artistic scene and discover one of its art museums, admire the fascinating sculptures of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or discover about twenty minutes from the city, Paisley Park, Prince's former home and music studio. For an adventure along the water, sail the famous Mississippi River aboard a kayak or canoe.
And in the evening? Why not opt for a musical at the Guthrie Theater!
Dakota from North to South Mr. Lonnie Paulson
DAY 3 – Minnesota to North Dakota
Leave Minneapolis and hit the road to Fargo, a bustling small town made famous by the Cohen Brothers' film of the same name and gateway to the plains of North Dakota. Upon arrival in Fargo, take time for a stroll through Bonanzaville, complex of museums and historic ancient buildings that will immerse you in the late 19th century. You can take advantage of the rest of the day to discover the various museums of the city, with various themes: the Plain Art Museum and the Rourke Art Gallery dedicated to modern art, the Hjemkomst Center which highlights Nordic culture and the Fargo Air Museum, a real gold mine of war aviation.
DAY 4 – Departure for the American prairies
After a foray into North Dakota, head to Sioux Falls, South Dakota's largest city, named after the Lakota-Sioux peoples who once thrived on these ancestral lands. On the road, don't miss the unmissable small town of De Smet where lived Laura Ingalls, author of Little House on the Prairie, made famous by the eponymous series, a true Proust madeleine of an entire era. When you arrive in Sioux-Falls, stroll through its bustling downtown, bustling with many restaurants, art galleries and shops.
The city has many green spaces such as Falls Park, an extraordinary urban park where the Big Sioux River meanders, punctuated by a tangle of waterfalls. The city's surroundings are also full of wonders to explore: northeast of Sioux Falls, discover the stunning rock formations of Palisades State Park. In the southeast of the city, stop at Good Earth State Park, a beautiful state park where nature and the history of Native American peoples meet.
North to South Dakota Travel South Dakota
DAY 5 – Along the Missouri River
Take the road to Chamberlain, a charming South Dakota town nestled on the banks of the Missouri River. Along the way, stop in Mitchell to admire one of the sights of the state, the Corn Palace, an amazing palace entirely covered in corn!
Chamberlain is the perfect place to learn about the region's Native American culture, and the history of Lewis & Clark, the first explorers to travel the United States from east to west. Visit the Akta Lakota Museum, a true sanctuary of the heritage of the First Nations Sioux Lakota and stroll along the American Memorial Bridge. This pedestrian bridge spanning the Missouri River, offers a beautiful panoramic view of the river and will allow you to observe the flora and also the local fauna, if you are lucky.
DAY 6 – Follow in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark
To reach Bismarck, located in North Dakota, you will take the scenic route, Native American Scenic Byway along the Missouri River and through landscapes of breathtaking great plains and the Native American reservations of Standing Rock and Cheyenne River. Arriving in Bismarck, a charming little town on the Missouri River and capital of North Dakota, visit the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum located on the campus of the Bismarck Capitol. You will find temporary and permanent exhibitions retracing the history of the state, from the ice age to the present day with many fossils and dinosaur skeletons that will fascinate young and old alike.
Rich in history, the surroundings of Bismarck offer many options for historical visits in a picturesque natural setting characteristic of the region.
North of the city, explore the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, an immersive site to better understand the importance of the Lewis & Clark expedition and their interaction with Native American peoples. Next to the center, you can visit the Mandan Fort, a reconstruction of the historic fort built by explorers. Further south, don't miss Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, an important military installation of the 19th century, surrounded by immense green plains.
North to South Dakota JOEL GEIST
DAY 7 – Enter the Badlands of North Dakota!
At the wheel of your car, head to the west of the state and gradually sink into the heart of the rugged, almost lunar landscapes of the Badlands. An anthology of unique panoramas will be offered to you between buttes, canyons, pinnacles and other extravagant rock formations. Then land for two nights in Medora, a picturesque town with decidedly cowboy charm, stationed at the gates of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Visit the castle of the Marquis de Morès alias Antoine de Vallombrosa, emblematic founder of Medora. More like a ranch, this 1883 mansion has 26 rooms and contains much of the original furniture.
A visit to Medora cannot be done without tasting the local specialty, the Pitchfork Steak Fondu. This dish is the equivalent of our Burgundy fondue, with one exception: the meat is dipped in oil using a fork! A convivial moment, made in the Far West!
In the evening, let yourself be tempted by an outdoor show, The Medora Musical, retracing the story of Theodore Roosevelt.
DAY 8 – Getaway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Not far from Medora, Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers incredible landscapes, a sublime mix of canyons, green meadows and colorful rock formations. It is also a place renowned for its wildlife and especially its large population of bison and wild horses. Take advantage of the day to stroll through the highlights of the park, following the scenic Loop Drive, overlooking spectacular viewpoints. Along the way, take a slight detour to admire the fascinating colors of Painted Canyon. North of the park you can walk in the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt at Elkhorn Ranch, former home of the president. To make the most of the panoramas offered by the site, we advise you to take part of the Maah Daah Hey Trail, a 232km long hiking trail connecting the different areas of the park. Finally, for an experience closer to cowboy culture, ride a horse in the heart of the Badlands of North Dakota!
North to South Dakota Janice Shanks, NPSNPS- TRNP
DAY 9 – Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Wild West in Deadwood
After the discovery of North Dakota, return to South Dakota and head to Deadwood, a small historic town and emblem of the gold rush, where time seems to have stopped. The main street is still marked by the passage of Wild Bill Hickock, murdered at Old Style Saloon No. 10 where it is still possible to have a drink. The alleys of Mount Moriah Cemetery bear witness to the many personalities who have walked the city's soil, such as the legendary Calamity Jane and Sheriff Seth Bullock. Deadwood enjoys an incredible location, surrounded by mountains dotted with dense forests characteristic of the Black Hills. Experience thrills, walking through the park in complete freedom, in a buggy. Take in the views at the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, a scenic drive that circles this impressive deep, narrow gorge carved out by thousands of years of erosion. Visit the Broken Boot gold mines in the heart of the Black Hills, a unique testament to the rich history of the gold rush. Motorcycle enthusiasts will prefer to visit the city of Sturgis, famous headquarters of the Bikers and place of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the largest gathering of motorcycles and bikers in the United States.
Dakota from North to South Chad Coppes
DAY 10 – Spectacular Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse
Head to Custer State Park in the heart of the Black Hills mountain range and reach the small town of Custer where you will spend the night. Along the way, stop at Mount Rushmore National Park and admire the colossal sculptures of busts of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, carved from the mountain. Still under construction, the Crazy Horse Memorial, wishes to restore its place to the history of the Native Americans of the region and now stands proudly next to Mount Rushmore. Explore the wilderness of Custer State Park, covered with hills dressed in pine forests and dotted with large meadows where herds of bison graze peacefully. The park can be discovered by car, on foot, on horseback or by jeep. The Blacks Hills are full of many treasures including Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument, both offering a fascinating underground world, home to some of the longest caves in the world.
For an authentic evening, board a real wagon and head to a picturesque camp where you will enjoy a typical Wild West meal!
Dakota from North to South Chad Coppes
DAY 11 – Discovery of Badlands National Park
Departure for Rapid City, nicknamed the "city of presidents" thanks to the many statues representing former American statesmen, which you can discover at every street corner! Stroll through the bustling streets of the city where many art galleries, art installations, restaurants and shops await you.
You can also take advantage of the day to explore the Badlands National Park and its unforgettable landscapes.
In the evening, discover the small town of Fort Hays where some sets from the film Dances with Wolves are still visible. Western atmosphere guaranteed!
North to South Dakota Travel South Dakota
DAY 12 - Return to the France
Enjoy Rapid City one last time in the morning. Stroll through Art Alley and its murals, stroll through the large green spaces of Memorial Park or take advantage of your free time to do some souvenir shopping on Phillips Avenue and its shops.
At the end of the morning, you will embark for the France
DAY 13 - Arrival in Paris in the morning.
North to South Dakota South Travel Dakota
· Day 01 – PARIS / MINNEAPOLIS
· Day 02 – MINNEAPOLIS
· Day 03 – MINNEAPOLIS / FARGO
· Day 04 – FARGO / SIOUX FALLS
· Day 05 – SIOUX FALLS / CHAMBERLAIN
· Day 06 – CHAMBERLAIN / BISMARCK
· Day 07 – BISMARCK / MEDORA
· Day 08 – MEDORA
· Day 09 – MEDORA / DEADWOOD
· Day 10 – DEADWOOD / CUSTER
· Day 11 – CUSTER / RAPID CITY
· Day 12 – RAPID CITY
· Day 13 – PARIS
The price includes
- International flights on scheduled airlines in economy class
- Airport taxes (fuel surcharge included) and solidarity tax
- 11 nights in quadruple occupancy in hotels mentioned in the program (or similar)
- The rental of a long-distance vehicle in unlimited mileage
- Local assistance from our French-speaking representative