Every Minnesotans complaint is the same: autumn is the best season here, hands down. But it’s too short! The weather is a perfect balance of crisp air and sunshine; the foliage is beyond beautiful. Everyone is coming back from their lake homes and vacations, ready to pick apples and break out the scented candles.
Making the most of the shortest season is crucial – especially if you’re like me and you’re bracing for winter already. Here are a few of my favorites ways to explore our state this time of year.
Take advantage of Minnesota’s state parks and trails
Some of my favorite state parks / trails that can easily be done in an afternoon include:
- Taylors Falls / Interstate State Park. This state park is so unique and one of the only places in central Minnesota where you can hike over cliffs (many of MN’s state parks are rivers, prairies and grassland). Plus, the town of Taylors Falls is super cute, complete with my favorite drive-in.
- Stillwater / Afton State Park. Afton has awesome hiking trails and is a short drive from Hastings or Stillwater, both cute towns with plenty of restaurants and shops.
- St. Paul / Fort Snelling State Park. Who doesn’t look an afternoon in St. Paul? There’s way too much to do! Go for a quick hike at Fort Snelling State Park and hop over to St. Paul for lunch or afternoon drinks!
Road trip to a quaint Minnesota town
Minnesota has so many cute towns that are perfect for a fall road trip, but not too far from the cities. Many people venture to New Ulm where Schell’s is or LaCrescent/LaCrosse to celebrate Oktoberfest. If wine is more your thing, I recommend road triping down the southern border of Minnesota/Wisconsin and take in beautiful views of the bluffs.
Many other towns in Minnesota have apple orchards, like Jordan’s Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard or Whistling Well farm near Hastings.
See beautiful colors on the North Shore
There is no better time to experience Minnesota’s North Shore than in the fall. Though this year the colors may be a bit muted due to the drought, you’ll still see fantastic foliage. Check out some recommendations for a North Shore trip and plan your fall adventure up there!
My top tip is to check the Minnesota Fall Color Finder each week when planning your adventures. This way, you’ll have the best opportunity to see peak colors and can plan your fall weekends around where the color will be the most vibrant.
And remember if you’re ever wondering if you should go outside, this season doesn’t last very long! (#winteriscoming)