When it comes to exploring the Great Plains, you probably know most of the major cities – even if you’ve never visited them. Two of the biggest cities along the eastern edge of the Great Plains states are Fargo, North Dakota, and Omaha, Nebraska; Interstate 29 (I-29) connects them. Maybe you’re planning a trip between the two and wondering what the drive between Fargo and Omaha will be like.
In this post, you’ll learn all about the route that connects Fargo and Omaha. That includes how long it is, how long it takes to drive, and what you can see along the way, if you want to turn your drive between Omaha and Fargo into a proper road trip. This route will show you the best of the Great Plains: rolling hills, sweeping views, and fascinating roadside attractions.
The only question is: how much full will you have during your drive between Fargo and Omaha?
TL;DR: How long is the drive between Omaha to Fargo? The direct drive between Fargo and Omaha (or vice versa) is 423 miles (681 km) and should have a drive time of 6 hours, 14 minutes in normal traffic.
This post was originally published in April 2021, and was updated in May 2022 for the upcoming road trip season!
In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Bdewakantuwan (Mdewakanton), Yankton, Umoⁿhoⁿ (Omaha), and Báxoje Máyaⁿ (Ioway) peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Fargo to Omaha Distance
As the crow flies, it’s roughly 390 miles between Omaha and Fargo. Unlike some routes, the drive between Fargo and Omaha is relatively straight, so the driving distance is roughly the same.
On average, the distance to drive from Fargo to Omaha is 420 miles.
Keep in mind that your final distance depends on where you start in Fargo and end in Omaha, too.
Fargo to Omaha Drive Time
Driving nonstop from Fargo to Omaha typically takes around 6 hours. Your final drive time obviously depends on where you start in Fargo and your final destination in Omaha, and traffic conditions. However, the average speed limit on Interstate 29 is fast – between 65 and 80 miles per hour. This means you can expect to make the journey in around six hours’ time if you go straight through.
As you’ll see below though, there are some stops worth making that can extend your travel time.
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Stops to Make on Your Drive from Between Fargo and Omaha
At six hours in duration, the drive between Omaha and Fargo is long enough to merit a few pit stops or detours along the way t see a few sights. You don’t need to make this a two-day trip, but that’s no reason to rush a fun day road trip. Below are some of the great places worth visiting along the way between Fargo and Omaha.
1. Fort Abercrombie
Historically known as the “Gateway to the Dakotas,” this historic site is worth visiting. Located 35 miles south of Fargo, it contains various amenities such as the reconstructed bastions and palisades, the original guardhouse, among other permanent exhibits.
2. Circus Lightning Victims Memorial
This is another location that’s easily reachable from downtown Fargo and also a great stopover. Along the windswept Dakota plains lies a memorial for circus workers struck down by lightning in 1897 during one of their performances. You won’t need long to stop and see this site, but it’s definitely a unique one!
3. USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial
The major city along the route between Fargo and Omaha is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There are several sights here worth stopping for. It’s a great spot to make an overnight stop if you want to visit the city, too.
The historic USS South Dakota battleship memorial is a truly remarkable sight and worth visiting whenever you’re in Sioux Falls. The USS South Dakota battleship memorial contains one of the most decorated warships of World War II, and plenty of educational opportunities for those interested in this chapter of history.
4. Falls Park
As mentioned, your route between Fargo and Omaha (I-29) drives right through Sioux Falls. Located in downtown Sioux Falls, Falls Park is an amazing destination for nature lovers and family at large. The park covers 123 acres and has great falls dropping an average of 7,400 gallons of water drops 100 feet per second. Falls Park has an observation tower and also a visitor information center. It’s a perfect spot to stop for a picnic meal and stretch your legs on the long drive between Fargo and Omaha.
5. Shafer Round Barn
Looking for a quirky roadside attraction? The Shafer Round Barn is a great spot for a detour. This uniquely round burn on the national register of historical places was built in 1920. It’s located not far out of Sioux Falls south of the city.
6. Tri-State Iron Post Historical Marker
Originally set in 1859 between the Minnesota, Iowa, and Dakota territories, this historical monument is the Great Plains/Midwest answer to the Four Corners Monument (that marks the place where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona’s borders meet). The Tri-State iron post-historical marker is dedicated to the pioneers who settled this region, and its location allows you to stand in all three different states at once.
7. Pepsi Tank
If you’re out of gas (personally or for your car) and need a refill, you can always stopover at the gas station near the amazing giant Pepsi tank. This particular metallic tank painted in a Pepsi logo is located near Worthing east of I-29.
8. Chief War Eagle Memorial
The Chief War Eagle memorial is an important historic stop on the drive between Omaha and Fargo, as it offers the chance to remember that Indigenous peoples called this land home first. History buffs get to tour this historical monument that honors Waŋbdí Okíčhize, known by non-natives as the Chief War Eagle. He is known to have supported the American government during the 1812 war, which likely contributed to his memorial’s presence.
9. Loess Hill Lavender Farm
This beautiful flower garden located near the I-29 interstate north of Missouri Valley is a tranquil destination and perfect for a surprising Instagram spot. Founded in 2009 with only 1200 plants, Loess Hill Lavender Farm has grown into a spectacular flower bed over the years.
10. DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1958, the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is an 8,362-acre nature preservation park. It’s a great final stop if your legs are really sore or you need one last place to breathe the fresh air of the Great Plains before entering bustling Omaha. This park is also renowned for hunting, hiking, fishing, and boating on the large oxbow lake.
Other Tips for Your Drive Between Fargo and Omaha
Here are some final tips to help you plan your drive between Omaha and Fargo:
- The route from Fargo to Omaha takes you through four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.
- The two biggest cities along the route from Fargo to Omaha are Sioux Falls, SD, and Sioux City, Iowa.
- The halfway point between Fargo and Omaha is between Brookings and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. If you have to make a choice though, I recommend stopping in Sioux Falls which has far more amenities and attractions.
- Sioux Falls is also the best place for an overnight stop if you decide to make the six-hour drive from Fargo to Omaha across two days.
- There are several rest stops on the southbound drive from Fargo to Omaha: New Effington Information Center, Wilmot Information Center, Ward Rest Area, one near Lakeport, Iowa, one near Onawa, Iowa, a parking-only rest area near Mondamin, and the I-29 SB Missouri Valley rest area.
- There are plenty of gas stations and truck stops along I-29 if you need fuel, toilets, snacks, or other services.
Should You Fly Between Fargo and Omaha Instead?
It’s always tricky having to choose between these two means of transportation; however, it usually boils down to two factors; time and cost. As mentioned above, it takes six hours to make the drive between Fargo and Omaha drive, and covers 420 miles. Flying to the same destination, however, usually takes 1hour 17 minutes and covers a 390-mile distance.
Driving from Fargo to Omaha is relatively cheaper when compared to flying. If you have a time constraint, then flying from Fargo to Omaha is recommendable. It’s really all about the priorities you have for your trip between Fargo and Omaha!
If you’re continuing south on I-29 to Kansas City, be sure to read our road trip guide for the Omaha to Kansas City too!
Have other questions about the drive between Omaha and Fargo? Let us know in the comments!
Don’t forget: join our Great Plains Travel Tips group for even more travel inspiration!