Williston makes a good base to explore two historic forts: Fort Buford State Historic Site (where Sitting Bull surrendered to the U.S. Army) and Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. Fort Union, founded in 1828, was a vital trading post during the height of the fur trade. Exhibits, an interpretive trail and guided tours bring the fort's history alive. (You can also hike, fish or go cross-country skiing in the park.) The Fort Union Trading Post Rendezvous, held annually in June, includes a re-creation of the fur-trading days along with competitions and arts-and-crafts displays.

Before the forts were established, explorers Lewis and Clark passed through the area as they traveled along the Missouri River. You can learn more about their journey at the Lewis and Clark Trail Museum in Williston. (A park named for the explorers—Lewis and Clark State Park—is located 20 mi/30 km east of town near Lake Sakakawea.) You might also want to visit the Buffalo Trails Museum in the nearby town of Epping. Williston is 235 mi/375 km northwest of Bismarck.

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