Day Trip From Fargo: Things to Do in Valley City, ND

We love exploring our state when the kids are off from school. However, sometimes work and busy schedules make it difficult to take a full vacation. That’s why we love taking quick day trips to explore nearby towns.

Located one hour west of Fargo, Valley City offers amazing architecture, outdoor recreation, and attractions for the whole family.

To help you plan your excursion, here are some ideas on how to spend the day in Valley City!

Things to Do in Valley City

Rosebud Visitor Center

There’s no better way to kick off your visit to Valley City than by stopping at the visitor center. Here, you’ll find local maps and a wealth of information about the area.

The Visitor Center also features exhibits about the area’s rich history in agriculture and railroad development. There’s even an authentic 1881 railcar with original furnishings on display!

things to do in Valley City
Credit: Rosebud Visitor Center Facebook page

Valley City Historic Bridges Tour

Also known as the City of Bridges, Valley City is home to eight historic bridges built around the Sheyenne River. Visitors can embark on a self-guided City of Bridges Tour which begins at the Visitor Center and includes eight interpretive panels highlighting each site.

Water Recreation

Water sports fans will find plenty of year-round activities in Valley City at Lake Ashtabula and the Sheyenne River.

Lake Ashtabula

Located 15 miles north of Valley City, this lake is a great spot for swimming, boating, and fishing in the summer months. The surrounding area also provides scenic trails and campgrounds for an extended stay in the great outdoors.

But the fun doesn’t end in summer! When the lake freezes over, there’s ice fishing. Visitors can fish recreationally or participate in the annual ice fishing derby.

Sheyenne River

199 miles of scenic river bends from the north of Lake Ashtabula to the east end of Sheyenne National Grassland creates endless opportunities of exploration!

The Sheyenne River is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. The river is easily accessible in Valley City, and there are several locations that offer kayak rentals.

Barnes County Historical Society Museum

Founded in 1930, the Barnes County Museum is home to frequently changing displays and special traveling exhibits focusing on the area’s history. Featured exhibits include a triceratops fossil, a scale model of the area’s Hi-Line Bridge, and artifacts from pioneer, military, and agricultural life.

things to do in Valley City
Credit: Barnes County Historical Society Facebook Page

Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway

The Scenic Byway is a national award-winning route that winds through Lake Ashtabula, Valley City, Fort Ransom, and Lisbon. The 63-mile path features 40 interpretive sites which narrate the area’s history and development.

There are ample opportunities to pull over and explore the bridges, parks, and towns located on the scenic trail. Whether you’re visiting during summer, winter, or fall — you will find breathtaking views on the Cheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway.

Medicine Wheel Park

This landmark is located on Valley City State University’s campus. Medicine Wheel Park started as a class project in 1992 and has grown into an educational and recreational destination.

Over its 30 acres, visitors can explore a Meridian Calendar, a walking tour of the solar system, Native American burial mounds, and nature trails. The attractions provide a unique mix of science, nature, and history for visitors of all ages!

things to do in Valley City
Credit: Medicine Wheel Park Facebook page

Community Events

Valley City is an active community that provides year-round events for the whole family.

Summer visitors can attend Sheyenne RiverFest, the area’s largest watercraft festival!  This event features a kayak launch down the Sheyenne River, games, a craft and vendor show, and a kids day focused on the youngest attendees.

Summer is also the perfect time to attend Valley City Community Days — a series of family-friendly events featuring food, shopping, a car show, live music, and even a parade!

During the fall, visitors won’t want to miss a day of family fun at Park-tober Festival. This event takes place at Chautauqua Park and celebrates all things fall with a pumpkin patch, games, costumes, and bouncy houses.

Fine more upcoming events on the Valley City Calendar!

It’s clear Valley City offers something special for all visitors.  Whether you’re interests lie in regional history, architecture, or getting in touch with nature — consider Valley City for your next family getaway!

Other things to check out near Valley City:

Sheyenne National Grasslands

Fort Ransom State Park

The Arthur Market

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Anthea Varriano
Anthea is a Fargo native who graduated from NDSU in 2012 with degrees in Anthropology and Psychology. She loves the Fargo community and the opportunities available for her family here (but not so much the snow). Anthea is a self-described “Disney Nerd.” The movies, music, and theme parks – she loves it all! Anthea channels her love for Disney into her blog, Inspiring Magical Memories, where she shares Disney-themed recipes and crafts, Disney dinner parties, and trip planning articles for the Disney Parks. She and her husband have two daughters and a son: Aiden (2008), Gemma (2016), and Ezra (2021). With ages ranging from infant to teenager, Anthea keeps herself busy just trying to keep up with her kiddos! In the past 14 years, Anthea has seen the rules of parenting change and evolve, which just goes to show we are always learning and adapting. No parent is perfect! Which is why Anthea feels it is important for moms to have a network where they can support each other and learn from one another. Besides writing, Anthea enjoys cooking, crafting, working out, and attending community events with her family.


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