Are you wondering what to do in the fall in Minnesota? Or looking for somewhere to see the amazing fall colors? I’ve got you covered!
This beautiful season is a time that the landscape transforms into a canvas of breathtaking beauty and color, and time slows down.
With the changing leaves, amazing activities, and fun to be had for everyone, this is a favorite season for many people.
From hiking through the stunning North Shore to apple picking in the orchards, there’s no shortage of ways to embrace the season and bask in the beauty of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
I love the fall season and as a Minnesota native, I’ve spent so much time admiring the beauty of this state!
In this post, I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about Minnesota fall, from what to wear to what to do and where to see the colors. Let’s dive in.
Best Things to Do in Fall in Minnesota
Below are the very best things to do during the fall season. There are so many great activities that you might not be able to squeeze them all into your schedule!
1. Visit Haunted Houses
What better way to experience the thrill of Halloween than by visiting a haunted house?
Minnesota boasts some pretty hauntingly impressive attractions, with each one offering a unique and terrifying experience that will leave you scared.
From the terrifyingly realistic set design to the bone-chilling sound effects and the incredible actors, you’ll be nervous to wander around every corner!
Whether you’re a seasoned scare-seeker or a first-time visitor, you’re bound to leave with goosebumps, meaning the haunted house did its job!
There are so many to visit across the state, but a few of the top-rated are Scream Town in Chaska, Dead End Hayride in Wyoming, and the Haunting Experience in Cottage Grove.
2. Go on a Hayride
Fall time brings up all sorts of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy, and going on a hayride is one them!
Whether you’re looking for a haunted hayride or one that you can bring your littles on, there are plenty of options to choose from!
As you stroll around the farm, you might get to take in the beautiful peak fall colors in MN, see the farm animals grazing, or wander into a pumpkin patch.
If you’re looking for a haunted hayride, the Dead End Hayride in Wyoming is calling your name, and for families, head to the Twin Cities Harvest Festival.
Bundle up, climb aboard, and embark on a journey around the farm or property that you’re visiting as you enjoy the cool breeze on your face.
3. See the Fall Foliage
Fall is a magical time of year in Minnesota, where the trees explode in a breathtaking array of colors, ranging from deep reds to brilliant oranges and yellows.
Something as simple as a drive through the countryside will allow you to witness the fall colors, or you can head out for something a bit bigger like a hike.
Below I’ll tell you more about the best places to see fall colors, but some of the top locations are the North Shore, the St. Croix River, and Winona.
Plus, multiple scenic byways around the state make for the most perfect way to see the fall colors in Minnesota.
Witnessing the fall colors is the quintessential fall experience, so be sure to get out and experience nature putting on a show that’s truly awe-inspiring.
4. Attend a Family Fall Festival
Fall festivals are kind of like a one-stop shop for fall activities, as you can experience many of them all in one place at a festival!
Activities galore will help keep everyone in the family busy, including the littlest members!
They’re a celebration of all things autumn, with something for everyone to enjoy, from pumpkin patches to playgrounds and food vendors.
Enjoy delicious food, live music, and family-friendly activities like hayrides, corn mazes, and apple picking.
Some of the festival even have small markets that you can wander through to taste or buy some of the state’s local goods.
A few local favorites include Sever’s Fall Festival, Twin Cities Harvest Festival, and the Stillwater Harvest Fest.
5. Pick Apples and Make a Pie
What’s better than the smell of a fresh-baked apple pie floating through your home after a day at the apple orchard? I almost bet nothing!
After arriving at the orchard, you can wander among the rows and rows of apple trees, each one heavy with fruit waiting to be picked.
From sweet to sour, depending on what you like, you can find a variety that everyone will love.
But apple orchards aren’t just about picking apples; they’re also a destination for fun and adventure. From apple cider tastings to hayrides, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.
And after your outing, head back home to prepare those apples into something delicious, like a pie or apple crisp.
6. Pick Out the Perfect Pumpkin
One of the most classic fall activities is visiting pumpkin patches and there’s nothing quite like a visit to one during this time of year.
Walking through the patch, you’ll be surrounded by fields of bright orange pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.
From tiny decorative pumpkins to massive ones that will make the perfect Jack-O-Lantern, you’ll find the perfect one for whatever you want.
But pumpkin patches aren’t just about picking pumpkins, they’re also a fun-filled destination with activities for the whole family.
From corn mazes to hayrides and cups of fresh apple cider are other fun things that you can do during your time at the patch.
7. Go on a Fall Hike
Hiking is one of the very best ways to soak in all of the fall colors that explode around the state of Minnesota in fall.
Getting out on the trail and deep into the forests allows you to truly appreciate the beauty that comes with Autumn.
From short day hikes to multi-day hikes, there’s something that everyone can enjoy and take part in.
I, for one, love getting out on the North Shore hiking trails, because I find them to be the most beautiful with the best viewpoints!
Another place that you can go hiking that’s a bit closer to the Twin Cities is Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls, or along the river in Stillwater.
8. Take a Long Scenic Drive
If you aren’t up for hiking and would rather spend time relaxing while you watch the colors of fall in Minnesota change around you, consider a scenic drive.
There are so many places around Minnesota that you can embark on a scenic drive.
In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere special! You could go down a nearby backroad or highway in your hometown and find some amazing colors.
But if you want to venture out and explore a bit, consider visiting one of the many scenic byways that Minnesota is known for.
One of the most popular is the North Shore Scenic Drive, but there are others, such as the Saint Croix Scenic Byway.
9. Visit the North Shore
As you’ve probably seen me mention many times, the North Shore is a must-visit place during the fall season.
With endless viewpoints of changing leaves, amazing hikes, Lake Superior, and other fun fall activities, you will seriously never run out of things to do.
A few of the best things to do are ride the gondola at Lutsen Mountains or the alpine slide, which both send you right through the thick of trees.
Or, you can head out for a hike, such as Bean and Bear Lake, Caribou Falls, Oberg Mountain, or Shovel Point.
Even something as simple as visiting the small towns will give you phenomenal views of the leaves, and provide you with a stellar time!
10. Try to Escape a Corn Maze
Corn mazes are something that the entire family can do together, as you work to find your way out of the maze!
As you navigate through the twists and turns of the maze, you’ll need to use your problem-solving skills to find your way out.
Paired together with family, corn mazes can be a great way to bond and learn to work together!
Plus, you can enjoy a whole array of other activities that you might find such as a pumpkin patch or hayrides.
11. See What Oktoberfest is All About
Oktoberfest is a unique celebration, originating in Munich, Germany, that has become a worldwide celebration in the month of October.
From the moment you arrive, you’ll be immersed in the lively atmosphere of the festival, with the sounds of live music and the aroma of traditional German food filling the air.
You can sip on a cold beer, try some delicious bratwurst or schnitzel, and take part in a variety of activities, from dancing to games.
Many people will be dressed in their traditional German lederhosen or dirndl to add to the fun and make your visit special.
There are many different Oktoberfest celebrations around the state, with the most popular being the Twin Cities Oktoberfest in Brooklyn Park.
Best Places to See Fall Colors in Minnesota
While you can see incredible fall foliage from all over the state, including on the sides of roads and in the Twin Cities, these are some must-see places to go during fall.
If you want to see one of the most magical showcases of fall foliage, then you better add Lutsen to your bucket list.
Around the North Shore, you can see fall foliage everywhere, but Lutsen in particular puts on quite the display.
One of the very best ways to take in all of the sights is to ride on their gondola up to the top of Moose Mountain, where you’ll have 360 views of the surroundings.
The fiery reds, oranges, and yellows glow against the backdrop of Lake Superior and make for one amazing scene.
There are also several hiking trails in the area that provide some of the most amazing views, like Oberg Mountain and Bear and Bear Lake.
Split Rock Lighthouse
Also on the North Shore, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is another fantastic place to see fall colors on display.
With many hiking trails around the park and the opportunity to walk along Lake Superior’s shoreline, you can see them from an all-new perspective.
Plus, you can view the beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse as it sits perched 130 feet above the great lake.
The state park is found within the Superior National Forest, which in itself has some amazing spots to view the changing leaves.
Itasca State Park
Being home to the Mississippi Headwaters makes Itasca State Park a popular destination to travel near Park Rapids.
During your time here, you can wander around the banks of the Mississippi River, bike on the paved trails, or head out for a hike.
Whatever you decide to do, there are gorgeous bright colors surrounding you!
Voyageurs National Park
Minnesota’s only national park is just over a 4-hour drive from Minneapolis, and makes for a great spot to see the changing leaves.
Whether you get out on a boat and float around the shoreline in search of the colors or you plan to hike around the park, you’ll see them all over.
Over 1/3 of the park is underwater, so the best way to really appreciate the colors is to boat, kayak, or paddleboard and admire them from the water.
St. Croix River
If you’re looking to see the fall colors but not go too far from the Twin Cities, then the St. Croix River Valley is the perfect place to be.
From state parks like Interstate State Park or small towns like Stillwater, there are hiking trails and overlooks all over the river that allow you to soak up the views.
With all of the river bluffs lining the water, it makes for one magical and unique site.
You can also get in the water and kayak down the river to see the leaves from a new perspective, or book a tour on the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat to enjoy dinner with a view.
Gooseberry Falls State Park
Another of the North Shore’s phenomenal parks is Gooseberry State Park, which is home to some of the most popular waterfalls in the state.
You can see them just a short distance from the parking lot, or you can wander a fit further off the beaten path to experience some solitude.
Either way, you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous yellows, reds, and oranges as all of the trees and greenery changes color in the fall.
Enjoying fall in Minnesota on the North Shore is one of the very best ways to do it!
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
One of the most remote wilderness areas in the country is found right here in Minnesota, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
If you’re searching for some real solitude and an escape from the real world, then the BWCAW is going to be perfect for you.
Escape into the quiet of nature and canoe through the hundreds of miles of canoe trails, and watch as the colors change around you.
All sorts of shades of bright colors will be a feast for your eyes, and you can spend time just soaking in the glory of nature.
Similar to the St. Croix River Valley, the Mississippi River is surrounded by amazing river bluffs that drop into the water, creating a dramatic view.
One of the best hikes is to Sugar Loaf Bluff, which leads you to the top of the bluff, where you can see the mesmerizing fall colors for miles.
You can also see amazing fall colors from Lake Winona, which is found just off of the river valley.
An even closer location to Minneapolis to admire the fall colors is Minnehaha Falls, located right in the city.
This plunging waterfall is surrounded by greenery in the summer, but when fall comes around, colors line the falls.
Plus, you’ll experience far fewer crowds here than you will in the summer, which is always a nice plus!
This is really the best place to see fall colors near Minneapolis.
Lake Bemidji State Park
In Central Minnesota, you’ll find Lake Bemidji State Park, another fantastic place to hike, bike, or drive to soak in the fall foliage.
The state park is located on the northeastern side of the lake, but there are opportunities to explore the colors all around the body of water.
In fact, there’s a large, paved loop trail that starts in the state park and loops around the entire lake, so you can see the entire thing!
Because it’s paved, you can either walk or bike on it, since it’s 16 miles and it might be tough to walk the entire thing.
Minnesota Scenic Byways
There are 22 different scenic byways around the state of Minnesota, all of which are perfect for taking a scenic drive and enjoying the colors.
If you’d rather have a leisurely day without hiking or biking, then scenic drives are the way to go!
A few popular ones are the Gunflint Trail, the North Shore Scenic Drive, the Saint Croix Scenic Byway, and the Paul Bunyan National Scenic Byway.
Fall Weather in Minnesota
Weather can be a really weird thing in Minnesota, and it’s always unpredictable, no matter the season.
So fall is no different, and you can expect pretty varying temperatures when it comes to September and October!
Early fall in September sees average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the low-70s, making it a comfortable time for outdoor activities. Although mornings can drop into the 40s.
Once October hits, the temperature starts to dip, and the first frosty mornings arrive. Temperatures range from the mid-30s to the mid-50s.
You won’t see a whole lot of snow, except for possibly towards the end of October. We always seen to get hit with some snow on Halloween!
Overall, fall in Minnesota offers a delightful blend of crisp, cool air and colorful scenery that makes it a favorite season for many.
What to Wear in Minnesota in Fall
Fall can be a really strange time for getting dressed or packing for your trip, because there is such a range of temperatures to plan for.
In the morning, it could be 35 degrees, but by the time lunch comes around, its 65 degrees and you’re sweating because you wore that cute, fall sweater. (Speaking from experience.)
Below I’ve highlighted some of the best things to wear or pack for your visit to Minnesota in Fall so that you’re prepared for all the fun!
- Layers: One of the best things you can do is wear layers. Bring short sleeves, long sleeves, and a light jacket. You can shed them as the day goes on.
- Comfortable Shoes: When you’re walking around at festivals, the pumpkin patch, or otherwise, you’ll want your feet to be comfortable!
- Hat & Gloves: On chilly mornings, you’ll be glad that you packed these two items!
- Sunscreen: Just because the sun is starting to fade away doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt! Always wear sunscreen to protect your skin.
Typically, fall colors peak in Northern Minnesota around the last week of September and the first week of October. This can change from year to year, but this is the most common time.
The best time to see fall colors in Minnesota is around the first week of October.
If you want to stick near Minneapolis, then heading to the St. Croix River is the best place to see fall colors. Around Stillwater and Taylors Falls are beautiful bluffs with amazing colors surrounding them.
Fall is around the months of September and October. The first official day of fall is September 23rd.
Yes, Minnesota has amazing fall colors that will truly blow you away. They’re spread out all over the state and don’t last for long!
The best place to experience Minnesota’s fall is the North Shore. Lining Lake Superior, this beautiful place offers exceptional hikes, viewpoints, and scenic drives to enjoy.
October can be a chilly time in Minnesota. Temperatures typically range from around 35 degrees F to around 50 degrees F. But they can sometimes get higher than that.
Fall colors usually peak around late September to early October.
Yes, mid-September is the beginning of fall. September 23rd is the first day.
It’s best to go wherever you want to see the fall colors around late September to early October. This can vary by where you’re going and the year, but this is typical prime time for peak colors.
Wrap-Up: Fall in Minnesota
Fall in Minnesota is truly a remarkable season that showcases the beauty of nature in all its glory with incredible fall colors and the changing of the seasons.
From the breathtaking fall foliage to the endless outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, make sure to take advantage of all the season has to offer and immerse yourself in the natural wonderland of Minnesota’s fall.