Did you know that being outdoors can reduce blood pressure, lessen stress and make you feel better emotionally? It’s true! So why not reap the benefits, while exploring endless outdoor activities in North Dakota?

Start with a healthy hike or bike ride. North Dakota’s national and state parks offer miles of trails and ample wildlife viewing opportunities. Lake Metigoshe State Park is nestled in the scenic Turtle Mountains and features rolling hills and sandy beaches. Located in the picturesque and heavily wooded Sheyenne River Valley, Fort Ransom State Park has over 20 miles of loops and connecting segment trails.

The 144-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail, which runs through the North and South Units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, offers hiking in the Badlands and rolling prairie landscapes. If you are looking for a challenge, the Maah Daah Hey races in August will push competitive riders of all levels.

If you prefer your nature on groomed greens, there are many golf courses throughout the state, each featuring their own signature landscapes and challenges, including King's Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks, the Fargo Country Club or the Vardon Golf Club in Minot.

The Lewis and Clark Golf Trail invites you to walk in the footsteps of the explorers’ journey through central North Dakota and consists of 19 must-play courses, including Riverwood Golf Course in Bismarck, the Painted Woods Golf Course in Washburn and the Black Sands Golf Course in Beulah.

The Triple Golf Challenge includes discounted rounds at three of the state’s, and nation's, top-rated golf courses: Hawktree in Bismarck, The Links of North Dakota near Ray and Bully Pulpit in Medora. With 116 nine- and 18-hole golf courses, North Dakota is a golfer’s paradise.

If being on the water is more your speed, there is an abundance of rivers and lakes throughout the state. The Missouri River enters North Dakota northwest of Williston and exits at Lake Oahe at the South Dakota border. In-between, the Missouri River includes a scenic mix of sandbars, wooded river bottoms and Lake Sakakawea, a 368,000-acre lake with more shoreline than the state of California.

Recreation is a top draw to Devils Lake. This natural lake is a mecca for anglers and boaters alike, and Lake Ashtabula near Valley City offers unique wildlife habitat (including the white pelican) and fishing, boating, camping and swimming in one of the most scenic river valleys in North Dakota.

Summer is short, so get outside, breathe in the fresh air and immerse yourself in nature. Improve your mood, your health and be legendary in North Dakota this summer. Visit www.NDtourism.com to find out how.