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!
1. 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.
2. Duluth, Minnesota
I absolutely love going to Duluth for a weekend trip, or even longer if possible. With a ton of great hikes nearby, including Jay Cooke State Park, breweries, a distillery, the Glensheen Mansion, and plenty of fun ways to get on the water, Duluth is an awesome place for a fall trip. Read my detailed Duluth blog posts here and here.
3. Montgomery, Minnesota
Montgomery is not a super well-known town, but it’s the perfect place for a fall day trip. With an apple orchard, a great brewery, pizza shop, and generations-old bakery, it’s a quick and fun day trip from the Twin Cities. Check out my full blog post on Montgomery here.
4. 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. Afterward, grab lunch at the Redemption, then 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.
5. Red Wing, Minnesota
Hike along Barn Bluffs for incredible views of the Mississippi River. Then visit the Pottery Museum, which is totally free! Afterward, 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. For more information, check out my blog post on Red Wing here.
6. 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. If you love sitting outside, grab lunch on the patios of Contented Cow or Froggy Bottoms, which overlook the Cannon River. Or visit the two breweries in town, Tanzenwald, and Imminent. Take a hike through Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, which is a short drive from downtown Northfield and has a waterfall. And for something unique, visit the Red Barn Pizza Farm for dinner! For more information on Northfield, check out my detailed blog post here.
7. Stillwater, Minnesota
I’ve been to Stillwater many times, and each time I discover something new and exciting. To kick off your day, start with a hike Arcola Bridge for beautiful views of the St. Croix River. If you want a unique way to get on the river, take a gondola ride! Then, finish the day with dinner on the rooftop at Brick and Bourbon, and grab growlers at the Lift Bridge Brewery to bring home and enjoy later. Read my full blog post on Stillwater here.
8. 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! Afterward, 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. For more information on Mankato, check out my blog posts here and here.
9. 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. Afterward, visit the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Finish off the day by grabbing incredible donuts from Bloedew’s Bake Shop. For more information on Winona, check out my blog post here.
10. Taylors Falls, Minnesota
Start the day with a hike at 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 and sandstone bluffs. Then, fill up on sandwiches at Juneberry, and grab root beer floats from the Drive In. Finish up the day with root beer floats and mini-golf! Read my full blog post on Taylors Falls here.
Get Out 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 make for some extremely photogenic opportunities. While fall may be fleeting in Minnesota, we still get a few incredible weeks so go out and enjoy every minute!