Vacations are a favorite American tradition. The main goal is to relax, with sightseeing, bird watching, natural attractions, fishing, family reunions, and enjoying God’s great outdoors. Most return from vacations needing a second vacation just to rest up!
A road-trip to one of the country’s (becoming more popular every year) vacation destinations is located in and around Devils Lake, North Dakota. Those who visit for fishing vacations or waterfowl vacations already know the allure. But, those who vacation – vacation, will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of reasons to consider this amazing spot on the globe.
Fishing is an easy reason to vacation there. Some of the world’s best winter perch fishing exists on Devils Lake. Walleye numbers have exploded. Pike are willing fighters. And, white bass round out the four major fish species. Seasons are open 12 months of the year. Limits are generous. The lake’s fabled guides show thousands of new and old clients exceptional world-class fishing.
Waterfowl vacations draw hunters from afar. Not only is Devils Lake on a major flyway, but the enormous number of local ducks and geese turn the fields and marshes into forever memories. Guides provide the best experiences. Most waterfowl hunts also include trophy fall walleye fishing.
Under the heading of vacation – vacations, Devils Lake is also home to a tremendous outdoor world of photography. Identifying and enjoying bird-watching is very popular. According to local waterfowl expert, guide and Woodland Resort owner Kyle Blanchfield, a dozen species of ducks and geese nest in and around Devils Lake. Of 41 American waterfowl species all but the ocean saltwater ducks show up during spring and fall migrations. “This is a special place for waterfowl,” he said. “We’re in the heart of the prairie pothole region plus the lake attracts the big-water divers. They love to eat freshwater shrimp just like the perch do.” The best time to see broods are late June and July.
Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge, 18 miles from Devils Lake, sees large concentrations of ducks and geese during the spring and fall migrations. The 12,000 acres of shallow wetland and grassland provides habitat for dozens of wading and shore bird species all summer long. Devils Lake also makes birding easy with a series of off-the-beaten-path “bird drives.” See their website devilslakend.com for details.
Marsha and Jim Samson taught school in Devils Lake for much of their careers. They share their birding passion with others admitting the area is ideal for beginning birding fans. “Within 20 miles of town there are many different habitats, ideal for seeing multiple species.” At White Horse Hill, experts have identified 214 species. A couple of rare species seen by the Samsons are the Baird’s sparrow and a Merlin falcon. The falcon often appears in the cemetery in the northeast corner of the city. During the warbler migration, more than 20 species visit and move on.
Wildflowers, birds and buffalo call White Horse Hill National Game Preserve home. So do hundreds of other critters and plants. Located 10 miles south of Devils Lake, this heavily forested terrain in a largely treeless state entertains hikers. A nature trail allows access into the inner spaces of this area. White Horse Hill's interactive bird and wildlife partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service showcases and teaches about the unique local prairie potholes.
Fort Totten State Historic Site offers a glimpse into the past. With self-guided audio tours, the museum exhibits in original buildings are a must-see. The frontier military post was constructed in 1867. It is one of the best preserved posts west of the Mississippi River. It’s also on the National Registry of Historic Places. “If only old buildings could talk,” is a common refrain from visitors.
The most visited North Dakota state park lies on the water’s edge. Grahams Island State Park claims nearly 1,000 acres of woods, prairies and nature trails to explore. The park offers RV and tenting sites, boat launch and docks, picnic shelters, showers, a dump station and more. This pet-friendly park hosts many local and national walleye fishing tournaments.
The city is a shopping center for ranchers, farmers, hunters, fishermen and visitors who come from miles around for all their needs. Campers and visitors often spend a day to investigate nearly 400 unique shops, businesses and restaurants or stock up on supplies. Specialty restaurants cater to all taste buds. From Anna’s Cocina and Old Main Street Café to Applebee’s and national chains, food is a Devils Lake highlight.
Devils Lake (the city and lake) has modern motels, classy resorts and a casino to meet all lodging needs. Many motels and resorts have fish-cleaning stations. A free, public fish-cleaning station is located near Ed’s Bait shop in town. Most lake accesses (launch ramps) also have free, public fish-cleaning stations.
Summer outdoor concerts in parks and resorts draw huge crowds. So do the Casino’s indoor concerts. Visitors and locals enjoy RibFests, ShiverFests, fishing tournaments, arts in the park, runs and many other events throughout the year. Suzie Kenner, director of all things touristy, said, “In Devils Lake, our collective goal is to meet every need of guests. See you soon.”
Wondering about a fishing or waterfowl vacation or to vacation with the family, check out this website: devilslakend.com. Send for a Visitors Guide and discover more Trip Ideas.