Minnesota Fall Weekend Getaways: Ways to See the Fall Leaves
colors from the cliffs surrounding Red Wing, MN.
vineyard. Have a tasting along the colorful fall vines.
enjoy history and fall colors before the season ends.
Hit the road this fall and see top spots in MN to see the fall colors. Enjoy an afternoon overlooking the river bluffs or Lake Superior, or take in the unique views of the fall prairie. Amid the cool air and brilliant colors, take in a wine tasting or art tour, hike top MN trails and dine at top spots in the state. This fall, try one of these top MN fall getaways.
Mississippi River Bluffs Road Trip
Head south along Hwy 61 to the beautiful and historic Mississippi River towns. Start your road trip in Red Wing, MN, with a day of shopping, dining and theatre along the downtown riverside. Take in the shops along Main Street, or nearby Red Wing Pottery and Red Wing Stoneware.
After an afternoon of shopping, enjoy the cool fall air and a wine tasting at Falconer Vineyard and Winery, one of MN’s most established wineries located just north of downtown Red Wing. Enjoy wood fired pizza on the vineyard’s expansive deck overlooking the beautiful fall vines. Look for special fall wine tasting events.
Later, take in the fall views from atop Red Wing’s well-known Barn Bluff overlook. Or head south and see the views from Frontenac State Park, a park known for its great birding opportunities. In the fall, catch views of hundreds of species of birds as they begin their migration, including bald eagles.
Finally, head to Wabasha and the National Eagle Center. Participate in a viewing event and see the eagles as they migrate along the river amid the fall colors. More than 2,000 eagles are said to migrate through the area. Because of the inflow of water into the area, hundreds of birds stick around and overwinter here. Viewing is especially good later in the fall, in November. Don’t forget your camera!
North Shore Adventure
Minnesota’s North Shore offers some of the best fall views and diverse ways to enjoy the colors. Top recreation, shopping and dining are just a few opportunities to enjoy the cool fall breeze.
Begin your journey along Hwy 61. Along the way, enjoy some of the state’s top parks. From Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock on the southern end (or west, as true North Shore natives say) to Grand Portage on the northern end (east), hike, camp and enjoy some of Minnesota's best waterfalls as you see the fall colors.
For more hiking, spend the day on the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail offers numerous scenic overlooks with spectacular views of the lake and the fall colors.
After a day on the trail, enjoy some of the state’s top dining spots on Hwy. 61. See the fall colors and enjoy fine dining at New Scenic Café and Nokomis Restaurant. Or pick up smoked fish at Russ Kendall’s Smoke House and enjoy it along the shore.
If shopping’s your desire, take a chance to enjoy the many shops along the North Shore. Beginning in Duluth’s Canal Park and ending in downtown Grand Marais, MN the North Shore is dotted with unique shops and galleries. Near Two Harbors, visit Waterfront Gallery on your way to tour the town’s lighthouse. Further North near Grand Marais, visit Last Chance Studio and Gallery or Kan-Nee-Tah.
In late September and early October, take a MN fall art tour on the Crossing Borders art studio tour. The self-guided tour showcases works by two dozen local artists.
Places to Stay: The North Shore offers numerous unique stays. In Duluth, consider a historic bed & breakfast – the city is one of the top bed & breakfast towns in the state. Further along Hwy 61, look for a unique getaway at Northern Rail Traincar Suites, or plan to drive to Naniboujou Lodge near Grand Marais for a historic lodge stay.
MN Prairie Road Trip
Take in a different view of the MN fall colors on the prairie. Head west to see the scenes at Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne, MN. If you arrive on the fall equinox, head to the 1,250 foot rock line in the park. Nicknamed “Minnesota’s Stonehenge,” the ancient rock line is perfectly aligned with the fall and spring equinox.
Nearby, visit Pipestone National Monument, a state treasure. The walking path and waterfall provide views of the surrounding fall prairie amid the beautiful red pipestone.
Take in a different view of the fall prairie further north near Granite Falls and Montevideo. Hike the rolling hills of Upper Sioux Agency State Park for beautiful fall vistas. Then take in a tasting at Hinterland Winery and Vineyards in Clara City, set on a working farm. The winery offers some of the best cold-hardy wines in the state.
Or, head further north to Fergus Falls, on the edge of the prairie. The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center showcases fall on the transition zone from prairie to forest. Nearly 300 species of birds have been observed in the area during their seasonal migrations.
Places to Stay: Near Pipestone, check in to the Historic Calumet Inn, nearby Pipestone National Monument and Blue Mounds State Park. In Montevideo, plan a unique stay at Moonstone Farm Stay a working farm. If the weather’s nice, stay in a real tipi at Upper Sioux Agency State Park.
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