Moving to North Dakota

Have you ever considered making a thrilling move to a place where the great sky stretches endlessly above, and the vast, golden fields of grain dance playfully in the wind? Well, allow us to introduce you to North Dakota - a hidden gem that beautifully combines breathtaking nature, a booming economy, and warm, welcoming communities. Our comprehensive North Dakota relocation guide will allow you to uncover all the charming secrets of this captivating state. So, hold onto your hat and join us on this exciting journey!

Moving to North Dakota landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to North Dakota

1. Welcome to the Land of the Freezing Cold

North Dakota may be known for its wide-open spaces, friendly people, and low cost of living, but it's also famous for its ridiculously cold winters. Temperatures regularly plummet into the negative double digits, and the snowstorms can be intense. So, if you're planning on moving to North Dakota, be prepared to invest in a good winter coat and a sturdy snow shovel. Locals will tell you that you eventually get used to the cold, but they may just be trying to make themselves feel better about having to scrape ice off their cars every morning.

2. The Booming Economy

While many states are still clawing their way out of the recession, North Dakota has been enjoying an economic boom in recent years, thanks to the explosion of the oil industry. This has led to low unemployment rates, job opportunities across an array of industries, and a thriving housing market. However, it's not all sunshine and daisies - the rapid influx of money and people has also led to some growing pains, such as increased traffic and higher costs of living in some areas. But overall, the benefits of a strong economy far outweigh the downsides.

3. North Dakota Loves Its Sports

If you're a sports enthusiast, you'll fit right in in North Dakota. While the state may not have any professional teams, that doesn't stop locals from passionately supporting their local college squads, such as the North Dakota State University Bison football team and the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks hockey team. And if you're more of a participant than a spectator, you'll find ample opportunities to join community sports leagues and clubs, from curling to ultimate frisbee.

4. Get Ready to Embrace Your Inner Outdoorsman (or Woman)

One of the best aspects of life in North Dakota is the abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy. With prairies, badlands, and two national parks (Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Knife River Indian Villages), there's no shortage of hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and fishing opportunities. In the winter, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing are popular pastimes. Not to mention, the state boasts more wildlife refuges than any other state - perfect for bird-watching enthusiasts and nature photographers alike.

5. The "Geographical Center of North America" Controversy

Here's an interesting tidbit you may not know: The town of Rugby, North Dakota, claims to be the geographical center of North America. However, this claim has been disputed, with some experts saying the true center is actually near the town of Center. Regardless of which town reigns supreme, it's a fun bit of trivia to impress your friends and a convenient excuse to snap a selfie next to Rugby's 21-foot tall, red-white-and-blue monument marking the spot.

6. The Unique Cultural Attractions

It's not all about the great outdoors in North Dakota. The state is also home to a number of unique cultural attractions that will impress and entertain both locals and visitors. The world's largest buffalo monument resides in Jamestown, and it sits beside the National Buffalo Museum, which pays homage to these magnificent creatures. North Dakota is also home to the International Peace Garden, a lovely 2,300-acre park dedicated to fostering goodwill between the United States and Canada, featuring stunning gardens, sculptures and even an entire chapel constructed of driftwood. A visit to the Enchanted Highway, a collection of giant metal sculptures that line a 32-mile stretch of road between Regent and Gladstone, is another must-see experience.

See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Pros and Cons of Living in North Dakota

Pros of Living in North Dakota

Low Unemployment Rate

North Dakota boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, thanks to its stable economy and job opportunities in various fields, such as agriculture, healthcare, and energy. This makes it easier for residents to find and maintain jobs, providing financial stability for families and individuals moving to the state.

Affordable Housing

Compared to other states, North Dakota offers affordable housing options for both renters and homeowners. There is a wide range of homes available, from single-family residences to multi-unit apartments, making it more accessible for people moving to the state to find a place to call home without breaking the bank.

Strong Sense of Community

Small towns and tight-knit communities are a hallmark of living in North Dakota. Residents are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, making newcomers feel right at home. Opportunities to get involved in local events, clubs, and organizations abound, fostering a strong sense of belonging and connection among residents.

Outdoor Recreation

North Dakota offers a wealth of outdoor recreational activities for nature enthusiasts. From hiking and biking in the beautiful Theodore Roosevelt National Park to fishing and boating on Lake Sakakawea, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the state's natural beauty and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

Low Crime Rate

North Dakota has consistently low crime rates, making it a safe place to live and raise a family. Both property and violent crime rates are well below national averages, providing peace of mind to residents and ensuring community safety and wellbeing.

Cons of Living in North Dakota

Harsh Winters

North Dakota is known for its brutal winters, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing and heavy snowfall blanketing the state for months on end. For those not accustomed to such extreme weather conditions, adjusting to the long, cold winters can be challenging, and the snow and icy roads can make travel difficult and potentially dangerous.

Limited Entertainment and Cultural Options

As a largely rural state, North Dakota lacks the extensive entertainment and cultural options more commonly found in larger cities. While there are museums, theaters, and other cultural attractions, residents may find that their choices are more limited compared to more populous states. This may be a drawback for those seeking a more vibrant arts and entertainment scene.


With its small population and rural landscape, North Dakota can feel isolated, especially for those who come from larger cities. The state's larger towns are few and far between, which can make it difficult to find the amenities and social opportunities typically found in more urban areas. This may be a downside for those who crave the excitement and diversity of city living.

Limited Public Transportation

Public transportation options in North Dakota are limited, particularly outside of larger cities. This can be challenging for residents who rely on buses or trains for daily commutes and may necessitate car ownership for those living and working in the state.

Wind and Extreme Weather

In addition to cold winters, North Dakota is known for its strong winds and occasional extreme weather events, such as tornadoes and hailstorms. These conditions can pose challenges for residents, including potential damage to homes and property, as well as complicating travel and outdoor activities.

Nighttime picture of North Dakota highlighting pros and cons of living in North Dakota

Is North Dakota a Good State to Live In?

North Dakota is a great place to live because of its low unemployment rate, affordable housing, and beautiful natural landscapes. The friendly community, great schools, and diverse recreational opportunities make it an ideal state for families and adventure-seekers alike.

What Is North Dakota Famous For?

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota's very own slice of natural beauty is the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Named after the 26th president of the United States who had great fondness for the area, this park features stunning landscapes such as the picturesque Badlands, abundant wildlife, and the Little Missouri River meandering through it all.

The International Peace Garden

Where friendship blooms! The International Peace Garden, located on the border between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba, is a symbol of peace and unity between the two nations. The 2,300-acre park boasts lush floral displays, serene walking paths, and even an 18-foot tall floral clock, ticking away in the gentle summer breeze.

Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre

Calling all thespians! The Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre or FMCT in North Dakota has been a thriving hub of local talent and cultural exchange since 1946. Hosting diverse performances, events, and educational programs, FMCT invites individuals of all ages and abilities to immerse themselves in the magical world of theater, both onstage and behind the scenes.

The North Dakota State Fair

Get ready to celebrate the heart and soul of North Dakota at the annual State Fair held in Minot. With thrilling rides and games at the midway, agricultural exhibits showcasing the state's bountiful produce, mouth-watering food, and top-notch musical entertainment, there's something for everyone at this delightful festival of everything North Dakotan!

Capital building of North Dakota in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In North Dakota, property taxes are primarily set by local governments and based on the assessed value of property. The average effective property tax rate for residents in North Dakota is 0.99%, which is relatively low compared to the national average of around 1.07%.

Sales Tax

The state sales tax rate in North Dakota is 5%, while local jurisdictions can impose additional sales taxes, resulting in a combined rate ranging from 5% to 8.5%. This ranks North Dakota as the 26th highest combined sales tax rate among all states in the United States, remaining moderate compared to other states.

Income Tax

North Dakota has a progressive income tax system, with rates ranging from 1.1% to 2.9% for individual taxpayers. This places North Dakota among the states with the lowest top income tax rates in the country. These rates are significantly lower than many other states with progressive income tax systems.

Housing Market

North Dakota's housing market offers affordable options for both renters and buyers compared to other states. With a median home value of $243,121, North Dakota ranks well below the national average. Additionally, the state has a low cost of living and relatively stable property taxes. For renters, the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is around $1,000 per month. A diverse range of properties includes single-family homes, townhomes, and apartments, catering to various lifestyles and budgets. Overall, North Dakota's housing market presents an attractive opportunity for those seeking a lower cost alternative to the national market.

Housing market analysis of North Dakota

Cost of Living

North Dakota's cost of living is relatively lower compared to other states in the US. Several factors contribute to this affordability, including lower housing costs and competitive utility prices. The overall cost of living index in North Dakota is 89.9, which is below the national average of 100. This advantage makes North Dakota an attractive destination for residents, particularly those seeking more affordable living options without compromising on the quality of life.

Weather & Natural Disasters

North Dakota experiences a continental climate characterized by cold winters and warm summers, along with distinct seasonal variations. The weather can be described as unpredictable, with frequent fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns. Winter months are typically frigid, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing, accompanied by snowfall and icy conditions. On the other hand, summers are generally warm and humid, sometimes reaching into the mid-80s Fahrenheit. Spring and fall see milder temperatures, with occasional showers and thunderstorms.

Natural disasters in North Dakota mainly revolve around extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and blizzards. The state is relatively tornado-prone, with an average of 23 tornadoes occurring annually, primarily between May and July. Severe thunderstorms and hailstorms also pose a concern during the warmer months. Flooding, particularly in the Red River Valley, tends to occur in the spring, due to melting snow and ice jams. Though infrequent, North Dakota has witnessed instances of large wildfires, primarily caused by lightning strikes or human activities.

Economy & Job Market

Agriculture (leading national producer of spring and durum wheat)

Energy (both traditional and renewable forms such as wind power)

Manufacturing (food processing and aerospace sectors)

Natural Resources (coal, oil, and natural gas production)

Tourism (attractions such as Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Fargo's downtown)

North Dakota's economy has a rich history rooted in agriculture, making it a major powerhouse in producing spring and durum wheat for the nation. In addition, the state has capitalized on its vast resources and natural beauty with thriving energy, natural resource, and tourism industries. Over the years, North Dakota has also seen growth in the manufacturing sector, particularly in food processing and aerospace. All these components combined make North Dakota's economy a diverse and dynamic force to be reckoned with!

If you're planning to take a one-way U-Haul trip to North Dakota, you'll need more than just warm socks for the winter months—you'll be looking for that perfect job too! Starting with the good news, North Dakota often boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates across the nation. On that note, cities like Fargo and Bismarck can offer some of the most job opportunities in various sectors such as healthcare, finance, and technology. With a colorful mix of industries and great chances of landing a job, you're not only stepping into North Dakota's picturesque landscape, but also into a promising and vibrant job market. Happy job hunting!

Traffic and Transportation

Get ready to hit the road and explore the transportation landscape of North Dakota! In the great expanse of this fine state, commuting is usually a breeze, thanks to the relatively low population density. In the bigger cities like Fargo and Bismarck, you'll find the average commute time to be around a speedy 15-20 minutes. No white-knuckle traffic jams here!

While North Dakota may be more focused on personal vehicles, the cities still offer some handy public transportation options. Hop on board the MATBUS in Fargo or the CAT in Bismarck, both excellent choices for efficient public transit. Plus, there's the added bonus of making a few new friends along the way!

Last but not least, let's take to the skies! Boasting several commercial airports, North Dakota makes air travel a breeze. Get set to jet from Fargo's Hector International Airport, Bismarck's Municipal Airport or Grand Forks International Airport, among others. With friendly skies and a laid-back atmosphere, North Dakota's transportation scene is ready to take you places!

What is the traffic like in North Dakota?

Things to Do

Welcome to the great state of North Dakota! This midwestern gem offers an impressive range of activities, scenery, and hidden treasures waiting to be explored. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, North Dakota has something for everyone. Here are seven top things to do (including a couple lesser-known gems) in your new home state:

1. Kick back at the Medora Musical

Experience a true North Dakota tradition by attending the Medora Musical. Held in the stunning outdoor Burning Hills Amphitheatre every summer, it's a one-of-a-kind live performance that showcases the best of North Dakota's history, culture, and music. Surrounded by gorgeous badlands scenery, it's not only entertaining but educational. The nearby historic town of Medora offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities to complete the experience.

2. Step back in time at the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Immerse yourself in the history of the Northern Plains by paying a visit to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Not only is the park set in beautiful surroundings, but it's also home to the reconstructed home of General Custer and the On-A-Slant Indian Village. You can explore the living history events, take a guided tour, or participate in one of the many interactive programs. It's a fun and informative way to spend the day.

3. Channel your inner Lewis and Clark at the Sakakawea Scenic Byway

Named after Sacagawea, the Native American guide for Lewis and Clark, the Sakakawea Scenic Byway takes you on a breathtaking journey following the Missouri River. Stretching 64 miles, the byway offers views of picturesque badlands, expansive plains, and beautiful Lake Sakakawea. Revel in the many scenic overlooks, historic sites, and hiking trails that pepper the route. Don't forget to stop off at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center to deepen your appreciation and understanding of this iconic journey.

4. Get artsy at the Capital Gallery

If you're a fan of the arts, the Capital Gallery in downtown Bismarck is a must-visit destination. Featuring a stunning array of artwork by local and regional artists, this intimate gallery offers everything from oil paintings and sculptures to jewelry and pottery, all available for purchase. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions, concerts, and workshops, so there's always something new and inspiring happening here.

5. Discover your wild side at the Dakota Zoo

Meet more than 600 animals from 125 species at the Dakota Zoo, located along the Missouri River in Bismarck. Established in 1961, this beloved zoo is home to a wide variety of creatures from around the world, including bears, tigers, monkeys, and camels. In addition to observing the animals, you can also participate in educational programs or enjoy the seasonal train and carousel rides. It's a wonderful way to spend the day with family or friends.

6. Test your luck at the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge

Feeling lucky? Head to the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, North Dakota. With over 700 slot machines, table games, poker, and bingo, this casino offers plenty of chances to win big. And if gambling isn't your thing, you can still enjoy live entertainment, delicious dining options, and gorgeous views of Lake Sakakawea, all in one convenient location.

7. Discover a hidden gem at the Sertoma Butterfly House

One of North Dakota's best-kept secrets, the Sertoma Butterfly House in Minot is an indoor tropical paradise that's home to over 25 species of free-flying butterflies. Wander through the lush gardens, observe the beautiful creatures up close, and learn about the fascinating world of butterflies in the on-site education center. It's the perfect escape from the bustle of everyday life, and a truly unique experience in the state.

With so much to see and do, you're bound to fall in love with North Dakota and all it has to offer. Hop in your car, grab a map, and get ready to create some unforgettable memories in your new home state!

Things to do in North Dakota?

Find Movers for Your North Dakota Relocation

As you embark on your journey to make North Dakota your new home, let Great Guys Moving help make your relocation experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible. From the friendliness of the locals to the awe-inspiring landscapes, we're confident that you'll quickly come to appreciate all that this magnificent state has to offer. To start receiving free moving quotes from the most reliable, licensed, and insured moving companies in the industry, simply submit your move details through our user-friendly platform. You'll be connected with the perfect movers to facilitate your transition to life in North Dakota. Don't delay; request your free moving quote today!

Movers for moving to North Dakota

See The Best Movers For Moving To North Dakota From...

City Moving Guides in North Dakota

Find out how much your move costs!