Fargo has an average of 197 sunny days per year, and that means plenty of opportunities to get outside – even in the winter. Sure, the region gets around 38 inches of snow during the colder months, but that doesn’t keep the locals from enjoying the great outdoors.
Sledding and Skiing in Fargo
When the temperatures drop in Fargo, winter recreation options begin to heat up.
“With all the snow we get, there is so much to do outdoors – sledding hills, groomed ski trails and a winter chalet with skiing and snowshoeing for starters,” says Clay Whittlesey, director of recreation for the Fargo Park District. “One thing people really enjoy is how we clean all our bike trails in winter. People do a lot of walking on them even when it’s cold. We also have 17 outdoor hockey/skating rinks around town and a number of special events.”
One of those events is Fargo’s Annual Youth Ice Fishing Derby, held in February for participants ages 15 and under. The derby takes place at South Woodhaven Pond and includes free instruction, soft drinks and hot cocoa, and T-shirts.
“The youth get to learn about ice fishing and the equipment it requires. Then they compete to catch the most fish and get prizes,” says Tammy Fogle, marketing and communications specialist for the Fargo Park District. “There is also a Cross Country Ski Race in January at Edgewood Golf Course and a Family Winter-ific Day that includes horse-drawn sleigh rides, free ski rentals and sledding.”
Many special events cater to families, such as the annual Frozen Fantasy semi-formal dance in February at Doublewood Inn and Family Day at the Dike, a sledding party at the Dike West loft area downtown.
“Frozen Fantasy is a great opportunity to get out and do something fun with the family. People buy tickets, and there is a DJ, refreshments and photos,” Fogle says. “Family Day at the Dike includes races, sledding, and free hot dogs and pop.”
Winter is also a prime time for hunters in Fargo and Moorhead.
“I love to hunt and fish, and that’s one reason I’ve stayed in this area all my life,” Whittlesey says. “I hunt duck and deer. Sometimes I’ll hunt for 13 weeks straight.”
Swimming and Golfing in Fargo
When warmer weather returns, Fargo and Moorhead residents have even more reasons to play outdoors. The average July high temperature is around 82 degrees, perfect for splashing around in one of the area's six public swimming pools or teeing off at one of the Fargo-Moorhead region's 13 public or three private golf courses.
Dozens of parks and trails provide even more adventure, including two dog parks where people take their pets for exercise and the Fargo Skate Park, a destination for skateboarders, rollerbladers and bikers.
“For my family, these are low-cost, easy-access areas for new adventures, and the trails offer new scenery for walking, safe transportation to parks and places to check out nature,” says Carolyn Boutain, director of cultural activities for the Fargo Park District. “The outdoor pools are each different and provide variety for my kids, ages 14, 11 and 7. And the parks each have their own personality.”
Fargo Festivals and Lakes
In June, thousands of people flock to Island Park for Fargo’s annual Midwest Kid Fest, a one-day event that includes free carnival games, entertainment, inflatable bouncers and vendors. Other fun summer events include community block parties, the Fargo Birding Festival, Share a Story at Rheault Farm, Summer Movie Nights at Island Park, the Midwest Waterfowl Fest and the Island Park Show, featuring 160 juried arts and crafts booths.
Water-lovers can drive just 50 miles east of Fargo and be in the midst of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.
“My wife and I love to go pontooning at The Lakes in summer with our five dogs,” Whittlesey says. “We bring along our Labrador Retriever, two poodles and two Rat Terriers.”
Learn more about festivities in Fargo, ND.