The 10 Best Fall Day Trips to Take in Minnesota

Minnesota is a beautiful place year-round, but the fall is an especially gorgeous season here. The cooler air and the changing colors create a unique experience in some of Minnesota’s best towns. Read on for the 10 absolute best fall day trips to take in Minnesota right now!

Things to do explore Hastings Minnesota
The ruins in Hastings

Hastings, Minnesota

Hastings is an adorable riverfront town just outside St. Paul. Hike the Vermillion Falls trail and enjoy the beautiful waterfall and the incredible ruins. After your hike, head down to the waterfront park and downtown area. Grab a bite to eat, and visit Spiral Brewery for a refreshing beer. Then stop into the cute antique shops before wrapping up your day. Want more details? Read my full blog post on Hastings here.

Things to do in victoria
Downtown Victoria

Victoria, Minnesota

Victoria is an upscale town about 30 minutes West of Minneapolis. Start off your day with a bike ride along the LRT Regional Trail. Then recover by grabbing takeout and eating in the park overlooking Steiger Lake. For a refreshing brew, visit ENKI Brewing Taproom. Finish the day by shopping along Main Street and visit any of the beautiful upscale boutiques.

best fall day trips in Minnesota
Downtown St. Paul

St. Paul, Minnesota

You’ll definitely want to visit the Minnesota Capitol to kick off the day properly. This impressive building has a massive staircase and gold statues. Walking around the Capitol is totally free and open to the public. From the Capitol steps you can see the beautiful St. Paul Cathedral in the distance. Head over there for yet another incredible building. Walk around the grounds and take photos in their beautiful gardens. Then, check out the Science Museum with kids (or adults!) and grab a great Italian meal at Cossetta.

Faribault Woolen Mill Minnesota
The Woolen Mill Museum

Faribault, Minnesota

Start the day with a visit to the Faribault Woolen Mill. Take a tour and learn all about the history, then visit the gift shop and treat yourself to a warm blanket. Afterwards, grab lunch at the Cheese Cave and take pictures with all the tilt-a-whirls located around town. Finally, finish the day with a cocktail at 10,000 Drops Craft Distillers. Looking for more information? Read my full blog post on Faribault here.

best fall day trips in Minnesota
Froggy Bottom's in Northfield

Northfield, Minnesota

This is one of my favorite riverfront towns in Minnesota! Walk around the campuses of St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, which are free and open to the public. Due to COVID, however, they may be temporarily closed to the public so check their websites before going. If you love sitting outside, grab a meal on the patios of Contented Cow or Froggy Bottoms, which overlook the Cannon River. Stop into the knitting store for a great yarn selection, then grab a pastry at the Cakewalk bakery. Also, check out the Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars shop for a great gift to give to friends.

things to do in red wing minnesota

Red Wing, Minnesota

Hike along Barn Bluffs for incredible views of the Mississippi River. Then visit the Pottery Museum, which is totally free! Afterwards, enjoy a glass of wine (or two) at Falconer Vineyards. Next, stop into the cutest Scandanavian store called Uffda Shop. Finally, grab treats from Hanisch Bakery and Coffee and sit in Colvill Park looking at the beautiful river.

Best things to do in Stillwater minnesota
Brick and Bourbon's rooftop with the Lift Bridge behind me

Stillwater, Minnesota

Park in town and then walk around Lowell Park. If you want a unique way to get on the river, take a gondola ride on the St. Croix river. If you love hikes as much as I do, consider walking along Arcola Bluffs or walk to Fairy Falls. Finish the day with dinner on the rooftop at Brick and Bourbon, then grab growlers at the Lift Bridge Brewery to bring home and enjoy later. Read my full blog post on Stillwater here.

Fall day trip to Mankato Minnesota
The bison at Minneopa State Park

Mankato, Minnesota

Kickoff the day with lunch at Chankaska Winery. They have a large and beautiful outdoor patio with a creek that runs along the property. Their pizzas and cheese boards are really good, too! Afterwards, head over to the Minneopa State Park to see the bison. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see them up close like we did! Finish off the day with a hike through Minneopa State Park to see a waterfall.

things to do in winona
Sugar Loaf hiking trail in Winona

Winona, Minnesota

Start off your morning with a walk through the Sugar Loaf Bluff hike for stunning views of the Mississippi River and the town of Winona. Then grab a beer at Island City Brewing. If you’re not up for hiking, visit the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Finish off the day by grabbing incredible donuts from Bloedew’s Bake Shop. 

Fall day trip taylors falls mn
Gorgeous view from the Interstate State Park

Taylors Falls, Minnesota

Hike the Interstate State Park and get a great look at the St. Croix River and the leaves changing colors. There are many trails to choose from and you can see glacial potholes or sandstone bluffs. Then, fill up on sandwiches at Juneberry, and grab root beer floats from the Drive In. Read my full blog post on Taylors Falls here.

Go and Enjoy Minnesota’s Best Season

This may just be my opinion, but I really think fall is the absolute best time of year in Minnesota. The crisp air is so refreshing and the changing colors along rivers, bluffs and lakes makes for some extremely photogenic opportunities. I hope you enjoyed this round up of my favorite place to visit in Minnesota during the fall!

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