Off the Beaten Path: Tobacco Gardens

Lake Sakakawea has over 15-hundred miles of shoreline. A small segment of the manmade lake's beachfront property is anchored around Tobacco Gardens.

"We're a little bit of Heaven in the middle of nowhere," says Peggy Hellandsaas, Tobacco Gardens Owner.

Peggy Hellandsaas took over ownership of this campground in 2009 and made many major improvements. Folks looking to enjoy the great outdoors come from all over Montana, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Canada to spend quality time communing with nature.

"Just sit back and relax and enjoy the time and peacefulness. It's nice, it's nice, nice and relaxing," says Wendy Polensky, Belfield, North Dakota.

Others come here to take advantage of what the big lake has to offer.

"I love to fish, love to be outdoors and this is a great place to come," says Don Thompson, Missoula, Montana.

Water sports are just one of the outdoor options campers enjoy. Hiking in the adjacent Little Missouri National Grasslands, or hunting in the fall are other popular forms of recreation. There are lots of wide open spaces here, even if you never leave the campgrounds.

"The campground is unbelievable, lots of room out here. The campers are nicely spread apart, really great people we've met out here the last few years," says Chris Delaunay, Williston, North Dakota.

The campground got its name many years ago from a plant Native Americans called kinnikinnick. It used to grow wild all around the area.

"They dried it and then used it for trade and they smoked it but it has no hallucinogenic or medicinal properties," says Hellandsaas.

Tobacco Gardens has a full-service restaurant, rents primitive cabins, and offers modern bathrooms and bathhouses. The gneral store sells bait, tackle, fishing licenses, souvenirs and gas.

"Many people who do stop in for the first time are surprised to find this little oasis in the middle of nowhere," says Hellandsaas.

This place is like nowhere else for lots of the folks who camp out at Tabacco Gardens.

Tobacco Gardens is located 25-miles north of Watford City on Highway 1806 West. For more information on Tobacco Gardens call 701-842-4199 or visit their website: