Once September starts, I am all ready for fall. I love everything about this time of the year- the beautiful fall colors, the weather, the sounds, smells, soups and sweaters. Fall in the Midwest is a beautiful but very short time of year. We always try to make the most of it for the short time we are able to enjoy these few fabulous fall weeks.
We created this list of some of our favorite fall activities/ places to visit in Minnesota throughout September, October and November. If you are feeling inspired to get out and see what this time of year has to offer in the Upper Midwest, this guide is exactly what you need!
1. Drive up the North Shore for scenic views of Lake Superior
The North Shore is the part of Minnesota that is north of Duluth and continues up the coast of Lake Superior all the way to Canada. There are so many scenic views and great biking/ hiking trails to explore along the coastline. Some of the more famous stops along this drive include Duluth itself, Betty’s Pies, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse. If you continue North, there is a lot more to see and do, so take some time and explore!
We like visiting Duluth because there are so many great choices for food and drink here- Canal Park, Fitgers, and Crank & Dasher Icecream just to name a few! You can also see the famous lift bridge and watch huge shipping boats passing through on their way to the Atlantic.
Once you leave Duluth and continue northwards on Highway 61, make a stop at Betty’s Pies. They are constantly baking new fresh pies and they are available for purchase by the slice or you can get a whole pie! We recommend grabbing a slice to go and taking it with you to the next stop- Gooseberry Falls State Park. This is a beautiful place to stop and have a picnic (or a slice of pie) and walk to the falls, taking in all the beauty surrounding you.
If you continue north from there, you will come across the famous Split Rock Lighthouse. You can get scenic views of the fall foliage and the lighthouse with Lake Superior in the background. There are more hiking trails and picnic areas here as well.
There is a lot more to see and do on Minnesota’s North Shore that we do not have time to write about now, but if you make the trip up here, you will not be disappointed with a plethora of outdoor activities, jaw dropping views and quaint coastal towns.
Let us know what you like to do on Minnesota’s North Shore!
2. Visit an apple orchard/ pumpkin patch
This is one of my most favorite things to do on a sunny, cool, crisp fall day. There are so many great apple orchards and pumpkin patches around the Twin Cities area to visit! One of our favorites is the Luce Line Orchard. They have beautiful gardens, corn mazes, animals, great food and even better caramel apples. You can stop in their shop to get fall decorations or pre picked apples and homemade pies to take with you.
If you want to pick your own apples, there are rows and rows of apple trees here with an amazing variety of fresh, crisp, sweet apples for you to pick and take home with you.
This is a great place for small kids because there are short trails to walk on, lots of cute little animals to visit, playgrounds and lots of space to explore. Dogs are also welcome here and there is a lot of parking available, so you don’t have to worry about driving all the way to Waconia and not finding a place to park (even though the drive is gorgeous and makes the time in the car worth it).
3. See the pumpkin display at the Minnesota Zoo
The Minnesota Zoo puts on an amazing display of glowing jack-o-lanterns each year during the month of October. There are over 5,000 carved and lit pumpkins of all sizes and with just about any face (or animal) you can imagine! Tickets are needed for this event and should be purchased in advance. You walk along a paved trail (about a half mile) and can marvel at the sights and sounds of all the glowing pumpkins and the Halloween music playing in the background. Don’t forget to look for Waldo and Carmen SanDiego!
4. Hike the trails along the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers
These rivers are beautiful places to explore any time of year, but our favorite time to visit is during the fall when most of the leaves are in their peak color for the year. There are so many great trailheads to start from, so pick one that sounds interesting and enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding you. There are also many orchards, pumpkin patches and small towns to tour along these rivers.
5. See the scarecrows and fall plants at the MN Landscape Arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a great place to visit. With thousands of plants and trees to look at and miles of trails to walk, bike, or drive through, you can easily spend a whole afternoon here. In the fall, they decorate the gardens with scarecrows made of all sorts of things you can find in a garden or your own backyard.
Down the road from the Arboretum, you will find the AppleHouse. Here you can find bags of delicious apples, baked goods, caramel apples and all kinds of fall decorations available for purchase. There is also usually a truck outside selling apple cider donuts if you want something warm to satisfy your sweet tooth!
We hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite fall activities and you are inspired to go out and try some of these things too! What are your favorite things to do in the fall? Send us an email or leave a comment and let us know what your favorite fall activities are. We are always looking for something new to try!