North Dakota Road Trip Day 3: Devil’s Lake to Bottineau

On the third day of our road trip across North Dakota, we drove northwest on Hwy 2 from Devil’s Lake to the Geographic Center of North America and then north to the International Peace Gardens on the United States-Canada border. Along the way we stopped at several roadside attractions, including not one, but two. giant turtles.

North Dakota Road Trip Day 3 map

Geographical Center of North America

The first roadside attraction we came across was the monument marking the geographical center of North America in Rugby, North Dakota. When a 1931 U.S. Geological Survey determined the North America geographical center is in Pierce County, it didn’t take long for the community to erect a monument. The local Lions Club donated materials, and W.B. Paterson and E.B. Paterson built the cairn with the help of local Boy Scouts. The monument was erected by August 1932.

Geographical Center of US monument, Rugby North Dakota

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Prairie Village Museum

The Prairie Village Museum is just a few minutes from the Geographical Center of North America Monument.  Most of the twenty historic buildings are original structures that were moved to the museum site. The buildings include churches, a railroad depot, a school, shops, and homes.

Prairie Village Museum

As usual, I ended up behind bars in the jail.

Prairie Village Museum jail

The buildings are furnished and filled with really cool historic artifacts and memorabilia, dating mostly from the 1880s through the 1950s.


However, this doll creeped me out.

Doll at Prairie Village Museum, North Dakota

Besides the historic buildings, six exhibit halls house even more artifacts, like antique cars and farm equipment.


International Peace Garden

Back on the road, we headed north on Hwy 3 to Dunseith, which is just south of the International Peace Garden and the Turtle Mountains. Dunseith is also home to the Wee’l Turtle, touted as the world’s largest turtle sculpture, built of over 2,000 wheels.

Turtle made of wheels

The International Peace Garden celebrates the peaceful coexistence of Canada and the United States. Funding is shared equally by North Dakota in the United States and Manitoba in Canada. We spent two-and-a-half hours exploring the formal gardens and driving the loops on both sides of the border. We could have spent more time had it not started to rain in the middle of our walk.

International Peace Garden entrance

International Peace Garden

Tip: You will need a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to re-enter the United States or Canada from the International Peace Garden. A passport isn’t required, although it saves time since they can quickly scan it.

Lake Metigoshe State Park

Leaving the International Peace Garden, we headed west on Hwy 43 to Lake Metigoshe State Park. The park is popular for camping and water sports (canoeing/kayaking and fishing) in the summer and snow sports (cross-country skiing and snowmobiling) in the winter. Besides tent and RV sites, the campground includes family cabins, a yurt, picnic shelters and group facilities.

Lake Metigoshe State Park

Lake Metigoshe State Park campground


From Lake Metigoshe we drove south to Bottineau, where we spent the night. As we were driving around town we came across another giant turtle. At over 26 feet tall, Tommy the Turtle is the world’s largest snowmobile-riding turtle.

Tommy Turtle


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Stay tuned for more articles about our road trip through North Dakota. If you missed our previous articles about our trip, you can read them here: Day 1 Day 2


Disclosures: Our road trip through North Dakota was hosted by North Dakota Tourism. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a hotel room through this links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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3 thoughts on “North Dakota Road Trip Day 3: Devil’s Lake to Bottineau

  • October 7, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    The International Peace Garden is on my list of places to go in North Dakota- looks lovely!

    • October 9, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      You will enjoy the International Peace Garden, Sara. It’s gorgeous!

  • October 9, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Beautiful — on my bucket list :-)!


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