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Camping at the International Peace Garden

Disclosure: This post is part of a paid partnership with North Dakota Tourism but all opinions are our own. 

We rarely write a whole blog post on one camping spot alone. Typically we will feature an entire RV route and list the places we camped as we drove through a state or region. 

However, the International Peace Garden is worthy of it’s own post. It’s not just a great spot to camp, it’s an experience and it’s a place with a story that anyone can appreciate. 

Where is the International Peace Garden?

We get it, we had never heard of it either. Which is truly a shame because it deserves the recognition. The International Peace Garden is in Dunseith, North Dakota…and Boissevain, Manitoba! Yep, the property sits on both American soil and Canadian, which is the whole purpose behind why the garden was built (more on that below).

One of the fun parts of visiting the International Peace Garden is that you can essentially hop from country to country. They built a channel that divides the formal garden and serves as a visual to show where the border between the two countries would be. So by standing where we are in the photo below, you can go from one to the other.

This means you’ll need to bring along your passport or drivers license and birth certificate in order to visit. RVers, you’ll want to be prepared for a stop at border control. We have a post with tips for crossing into Canada in an RV, but you’ll want to check the most updated requirements and information on the Canada Border Services Agency website.

What is the International Peace Garden?

Glad you asked! They are SO much more than what the photos show and there is so much more to the 2,400 acre property than just pretty flowers. 

The History

The garden was first built on an idea in 1928 by Dr. Henry J. Moore, a Canadian man who wanted a place where “people could share interests and celebrate friendship”. The National Association of Gardeners approved the plan and selected a site for the garden, which they wanted to be near the geographical center of North America.

They had a dedication ceremony in July of 1932 and 50,000 individuals traveled from all over the United States and Canada to be there! At that time, it was just two flags and an idea but two years later, construction was underway.

 

Side note: on your way to the garden be sure to stop and take a photo with the stone monument that marks the Geographical Center of North America in Rubgy, ND. While you’re there, visit the Prairie Village Museum too!

center of north america monument in rugby north dakota

What Makes it Special

The idea for the International Peace Garden was conceived during the great world depression and followed by World War II. Despite such hardship, the citizens of two separate countries came together to build a beautiful place to serve as a symbol of peace and friendship. And the garden has not only served that purpose but has been flourishing and growing ever since. 

As cheesy as it sounds, you can feel the peace when walking along the garden. It feels like a private little slice of heaven and you’ll stumble upon little treasures everywhere you turn, like the Hands of Peace sculpture in the fountain (which was donated by an RV organization), the lily pads, fountains, or the ringing of the Carillion Bells.

Don’t make the mistake of visiting the garden for just a few hours, though. You can easily spend an entire day or two, heck even three or four. We’ll share our experience staying overnight at the on-site campground and the things we suggest enjoying during your stay. 

Camping Information

The International Peace Garden has 36 campsites that can accommodate anything from a tent to a large RV. Many of the sites have electric and water hook ups as well as a firepit and picnic table. But what we loved was how shady, spacious, and private the sites are. We were surrounded by aspen and oak trees.

Camping at the international peace gardensThe campground is open mid May to end of September, depending on weather. Gate admission is not included but you can easily book your campsite right on their website

 

Things to See and Do While Visiting the Peace Garden

We were shocked by how many attractions they have at the Peace Garden. We spent two days there and still only scratched the surface. 

The Formal Gardens

It’s obvious that the most notable attraction of the Peace Garden is its formal gardens. You could wander for hours along the pathways in awe of the beautiful, vibrant colors. Each year they plant around 80,000 flowering annuals and perennials in a design according to a theme. So every year you visit you will see a different pattern and different colors. The photos hardly do the formal garden justice, it’s stunning!

Enjoy a Meal at the Cafe

We ate multiple meals at the on-site cafe during our visit here. Since they are open from 10:00am to 6:00pm, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We loved sitting on the back patio, which is dog friendly, and seeing the staff come out to the garden to get fresh ingredients! The food was consistently delicious. 

Or Have a Picnic!

There are picnic areas scattered all around the property if you want to pack your own meal. We can’t imagine a better place to have a picnic! We’d suggest one of the picnic areas overlooking a lake.

Visit the 9/11 Memorial

In 2010, remnants from the actual twin towers at the World Trade Center were donated to the International Peace Garden, where they display them proudly and honorably. A trail leads you around the remnants, which is of course surrounded by beautiful red, white and blue flowers. Every year, local organizations host a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the garden’s memorial. 

9/11 memorial at international peace garden

Enjoy the Water

Many people don’t even know that the property has lakes and ponds because they don’t wander far from the formal gardens. There’s even several access points available for kayaking and canoeing. But even if you don’t get on the water, you’ll surely enjoy the beauty that they add to the property.

Explore the Hiking & Biking Trails

Being surrounded by the beauty of the Turtle Mountain region makes the International Peace Garden a great place to enjoy nature on foot or on wheels. They have an impressive network of trails that take you through prairie and wilderness.

There’s Beauty Indoors, Too!

If the weather isn’t cooperating for outdoor adventures, have no fear. There are more than 200 structures inside the Peace Garden.

You won’t want to miss the conservatory, which boasts more than 5,000 species of cacti and succulents.

tons of cacti at international peace garden
Cacti in their temporary home as the Conservatory gets expanded!

We also loved the beautiful limestone Peace Chapel, where you can spend time reading and feeling inspired by the inscribed quotes about peace from international leaders. 

This is only some of the attractions they have at the International Peace Garden. Check out the full list of their attractions on their website.

They are open all year long and the property transforms into a winter wonderland, which makes the International Peace Garden a place you have to visit more than just once! We know we certainty will be back someday. 

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