As Summer is close to starting people will have their vacations planned out, and some of those will be taking place south of the border.

For those who decide to drive down, oftentimes the first stop is in Minot, North Dakota, which sees a good amount of Canadian visitors every year.

They've seen a bit less over the last couple of years, thanks to COVID, but that looks to change with this year's crowd.

Stephanie Schoenrock, the Executive Director for Visit Minot, says they're very optimistic about their incoming northern neighbors.

"We are seeing a very nice flow of Canadians coming so far. You know, it's not to the levels that it was pre-pandemic yet, but we are seeing more and more Canadians being comfortable coming down. What we're seeing so far are people that are not on long holidays yet, but are people that are just looking for a weekend getaway."

"It's been wonderful to hear their stories, to hear them talk about how much Minot has changed in the past three years since they were here before the pandemic. It's nice to have our Canadian friends back."

Another factor is also helping the number of Canadians visiting and vacationing in Minot rising - gas prices.

Those are rising not just here but across the United States, so long trips could be a bit pricier.

"We are seeing that, we're talking with lots of Canadians looking to plan out their trip for the summer and the universal comment seems to be a lot of people saying 'typically we would go on a longer holiday or go farther away or fly somewhere that would cost more'. We're seeing a lot of Canadians that are reaching out and say they're not going as far as they usually go and are looking to Minot and North Dakota for their getaway."

Thanks to the high gas prices Minot will definitely see more Canadians spending their vacation time there.

Schoenrock thinks that there may be near post-pandemic levels, but it's hard to tell just yet.

"The optimistic side of me says yes - we've got a phenomenal north Dakota State Fair lined up, and Norsk Høstfest is back as well, there's a lot of interest in those. Part of me says we will be back to pre-pandemic numbers, just because of the interest we received," said Schoenrock, "And yet the other side of it is gonna say people are still hesitant or they're in a new pattern and with inflation and higher costs it's hard to say what that'll turn out to really be."