Though it's diminutively referred to as the "Road to Nowhere" there's truly a plethora of things to enjoy along US-83. Not only will you witness firsthand the semi-arid steppes of America for most of the trip, you'll also discover the myriad of interesting, exciting, and curious attractions along the way. No matter what, you're sure to discover just how much awaits you along US-83's Road to Nowhere.
Beginning in Minot, North Dakota, visit the Gol Stave Church Museum. It's a replica of a famous Norwegian church that was built in the 1200s. The crazy building is located in the Scandinavian Heritage Park, where, you can also find a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish windmill, and 25-foot-tall Swedish Dala horse as well. With all of that, it does a pretty good job of paying tribute to all kinds of aspects of Scandinavian culture.
1712 20th Ave SE, Minot, ND, US
Also in Minot is Schatz Crossroads, a no-frills truck stop. This 24-hour diner serves up an amazing breakfast, but don't get too full on omelettes and hash browns, because this place is best known for their delectable pies, hand-baked by a longtime employee.
1150 37th Ave SW, Center, ND, US
The Plains of North Dakota have a rich Native American history, and you can get a good taste of it at Fort Clark Historic Site. You'll find the archaeological remains of two settlements, built by the Arikara and Mandan tribes during the early 19th century. The site also touches on the history of Lewis and Clark.
3102 37th St NW, Mandan, ND, US
Because the railroad has played such a huge role in the history of this part of the country, plan to stop at the North Dakota State Railroad in Mandan. Old buildings, vintage train cars, and all kinds of artifacts can be found at this little but well curated stop.
422 E Main Ave, Bismarck, ND, US
Once you reach Bismarck, head to the Peacock Alley American Grill and Bar. This classy joint is a Bismarck favorite, thanks to its delicious menu of rotating chef's specials, martinis and other craft cocktails, and its bacon grind burger, which has ground bacon added into the burger patty for a truly decadent meal.
807 North 6th Street, Bismarck, ND, US
If you need a hotel in Bismarck, Kays Bed and Breakfast is a great choice. This historic home has two guestrooms in it, both adorned with antiques and other interesting artifacts collected from Kay's travels. She also makes a great breakfast to send you off in a sunny mood!
117 N Broadway St, Linton, ND, US
If you've go a hankering for something sweet and homemade, stop in at Model Bakery in Linton, ND, where kuchen, donuts, bread, cookies, and other treats line the shelves of this small town bakery.
845 88th St SE, Strasburg, ND, US
Whether or not you enjoy Lawrence Welk (or even know who he is, if you're a young 'un) there's no denying that he was an inspiring American who worked his way out of small-town North Dakota, with just an accordion and pure will. Welk was never supportive of the town restoring his birthplace (since he didn't have a very happy childhood), but the locals put a lot of love into this museum.
900 Governors Dr, Pierre, SD, US
Next up: South Dakota! Get a sense for the culture of South Dakota by immersing yourself in the state's history, and all of the influences on it at the State Historical Society/Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. From Native Americans to early settlers, there's plenty to explore, and the museum's gorgeous displays do an excellent job of uncovering the rich history of the state.
110 East Dakota Avenue, Pierre, SD, US
The Plains states are known for being a great place to raise cattle, so you know that the steakhouses here not only have some of the best beef in the country, they also know how to cook it. Mad Mary's Steakhouse and Saloon in Pierre is an old-school joint that's renowned for their delicious prime rib and pork chops.
710 Verendrye Dr, Fort Pierre, SD, US
If you need a hotel in Fort Pierre, SD, Eagle's View Bed and Breakfast is an excellent choice. The location, on a bluff, offers great views of the rolling prairie and the Missouri River. The place was built fairly recently, so you don't have the creaky old floors and cramped shared bathrooms you get at most B&B's. It's definitely a quiet, relaxing place to spend the night.
1020 N Deadwood, Pierre, SD, US
In South Dakota, they have National Grasslands instead of National Forests! Part of Dances With Wolves was filmed at Fort Pierre National Grassland, so you can unleash your inner Kevin Costner here, or just spend a bit of time watching an adorable, bustling prairie dog town.
503 E. 5th St., Murdo, SD, US
Even if you don't know a ton about cars, you'll be charmed by the Pioneer Auto Museum's collection of automobiles from the 1910's-1980's. And if that doesn't do it for you, they also have collections of old toys and other kitschy memorabilia, and a little recreation of a Wild West town for kids to explore.
212 Kennedy Avenue, Murdo, SD, US
Fried broccoli, funnel cake fries, and mac and cheese bites, as well as classics like shakes, burgers, and onion rings can be found on the menu of Murdo Drive-In, an old Murdo, SD roadside staple. Don't forget to finish off your meal with a swirl of soft serve!
90165 Smith Falls Rd, Valentine, NE, US
Head down to Valentine, Nebraska's Smith Falls State Park for something to look at that isn't grassland! Take a canoe trip down the Niobrara River, or just enjoy the short hike to the rushing waterfall, the tallest in Nebraska. The canyon in which the falls are located has provided a good environment for trees to grow; not something you normally get to see in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.
1249 N Homestead Rd, North Platte, NE, US
Next up is North Platte, NE. Here you should stop at the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center. Railroads might seem like a kind of outdated form of transportation, but a visit here will show you that trains are very much still running. This is the world's largest railroad classification yard, and tons of trains pass through here to be sorted or repaired as they make their way across the country. The Golden Spike Tower is the best place to view the organized chaos, and to learn about how the busy rail yard came to be.
451 Halligan Dr, North Platte, NE, US
Down the road is Penny's Diner. Located in a classic silver dining car, this retro diner still serves up really solid road food. You can't go wrong with the chicken fried steak or a breakfast special piled high with eggs, hash browns and sausage!
209 East Frontier Parkway, Oberlin, KS, US
And if that's not enough for you, just over the border in Oberlin, Kansas is Frontier Restaurant. Home-cooked staples like biscuits and gravy and sandwiches make this place a reliably tasty place for a meal. If you can snag a peanut butter cinnamon roll, though, you'll definitely understand why the locals love this joint.
189 S Penn Ave, Oberlin, KS, US
You're in Kansas, so why not spend the night in the Victorian West? The Landmark Inn at the Historic Bank of Oberlin has a special place in the town's past, and each room is not only done up in unique vintage charm, but they all have stories to them. Thankfully, amenities like wifi and TVs provide modern convenience.
700 W 3rd St, Oakley, KS, US
Go back even further in time at the Fick Fossil and History Museum. It's free to check out their exhibits of fossils (seriously, when it comes to fossils, Kansas is super impressive: who knew you could find shark teeth here?), bones, folk art, and more.
Oak Street,, Holcomb, KS, US
Next, you'll come to the town of Holcomb, which has a rather macabre claim to fame. Here you'll find the Clutter House, a humble little home with a fascinating place in American history. Two drifters brutally murdered a family living here during the late 1950's, and the crime, subsequent hunt for and capture of the murderers, and eventual trial, were written about by Truman Capote in his well-known true-crime novel "In Cold Blood." The house is on private property, but you can cruise past and get an even better sense of the wild story.
607 Country Heights Rd, Lakin, KS, US
When you're ready to call it a night, stop in Lakin, KS at the Windy Heights Bed and Breakfast. You'll feel right at home in this cozy little B&B. The beds are heavenly, and the hosts are accommodating, but not overbearing, so it really does feel comfy but not stuffy.
301 N Main, Garden City, KS, US
Sometimes it can be hard to find a good cup of coffee on the road, so stop off at Patrick Dugan's Coffee House in Garden City to refuel and recharge with some excellent drinks and delicious pastries. There's nothing like a nice, strong latte to keep you going!
567 Cedar St, Liberal, KS, US
Your next stop is in the Land of Oz. The Wizard of Oz has been a childhood classic for generations, and since you're in Kansas, your road trip along US 83 will take a detour into the Land of Oz...but not before you tour Dorothy's house (they kind of take some liberties with the classic story's details, but it all adds to the experience). It's a nice reminder that there really is no place like home!
Marshall Drive, Canadian, TX, US
There's no rhyme or reason to the dozen or so concrete statues that adorn Gene Cockrell's yard in the town of Canadian, Texas. They range from a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader to dinosaurs to aliens to Jesus. They're incredibly impressive, especially since Gene made them all himself, but remember that this is private property, so admire from the road.
101 E. 12th Street, Shamrock, TX, US
Next you'll come to the town of Shamrock. Route 66 enthusiasts and fans of the Disney movie "Cars" will likely recognize this classic roadside icon: the art deco design makes it the sexiest gas station along Route 66. It no longer serves up grub or gas, but it's been lovingly restored since being abandoned in the 1960's, and now houses a little museum and gift shop, and plans to open a soda fountain-style eatery inside are in the works.
406 Avenue F NW, Childress, TX, US
Many places try and emulate the distinctive feeling of classic Texas BBQ joints, but J T's Drive-In in Childress is the real deal. Burgers, smoked sausage, brisket, slaw, beans, and homemade BBQ sauce are served to you on those iconic tin plates in this little joint. How much more authentic does it get?
1804 Avenue F Nw, Childress, TX, US
While in Childress, spend the night at the Magnuson Hotel. This basic hotel might be simple, but it's incredibly comfortable. Free parking and wifi, a safe location, and breakfast in the morning ensure you get a good night's sleep, and are ready to take on the next day.
625 North First Street, Abilene, TX, US
Ever wondered what it was like to live in the Wild West? Apparently it wasn't all drinking whiskey while watching can-can dancers and avoiding gunfights in the street all the time. Learn all about Texas during its frontier days at Frontier Texas! This Abilene museum shows that living in Texas in the 19th century was hard work, and you'll learn all about it with their interactive, hands-on exhibits.
625 N. 1st St., Abilene, TX, US
Get your camera ready, cause the World's Largest Buffalo Skull is a great Abilene photo op. It might not be a Texas longhorn, but a picture posing with this roadside oddity will make for a great memento of your trip through the plains.
3909 S 7th St, Abilene, TX, US
Before leaving Abilene, fuel up at Mezamiz Coffee House. Locally-roasted coffee and a selection of booze really make this place feel like a European coffee joint where you can hang out with friends over a drink, but the covered back patio and sandwiches make it a casual place to grab a quick meal as well. Plus, it has comfy couches and free wifi!
2969 County Road 422, Talpa, TX, US
After being on the road so long, you might want to pamper yourself. The best place to do that is Rancho Loma in Talpa, TX. This massive ranch hides a sleek, modern boutique hotel, but it's a family-run operation and serves a homemade breakfast, so it still has a little bit of the B&B feel. Basically, it's the best of both worlds. The onsite restaurant is legendary as well!
13801 Hwy 87 E, Melvin, TX, US
When you're ready to unwind with a beer, visit Mr. P's Hitching Post in the town of Melvin. Pool, shuffleboard, and line dancing make this one of the most authentic Texas saloons left. Grab a drink and chat with the friendly locals!
Williams' Creek Depot - FM 470, Tarpley, TX, US
"Red drum with lemon aioli" and "Ancho chili honey basted quail" aren't things you'd expect to find on the menu at a tiny little roadside joint in the middle of nowhere, but Mac & Ernie's is something special. It's seriously the best meal you'll ever eat off of a paper plate on a picnic table.
36517 Ranch Road 187, Utopia, TX, US
This part of Texas has a lot of great places for motorcyclists to drive, so it's no surprise that there's a museum dedicated to the motorcycle here. From British antique bikes to newer models, there's a lot to see at the Lone Start Motorcycle Museum in Utopia.
Finally, finish up your road trip down America's Road to Nowhere in Laredo, Texas. Zaragoza Street is the main strip of historic Laredo. Think, cobblestone streets and beautiful old Spanish architecture, with plenty of shopping and dining, and some attractions thrown in for good measure.
The best time of year to take a road trip down America's Road to Nowhere is spring, summer and fall. Driving, particularly up north, is a bit precarious during winter, with unpredictable snowstorms hitting the plains. Summer time is high season for tourists, but luckily, the Road to Nowhere isn't particularly famous for its crowded motorists, so you're pretty safe whatever time of year you choose to travel down it.