Every season in the upper Midwest has something special to offer, but Fall is definitely my favorite! There are SO many things to do, or not do in some cases. For people like me who simply tolerate a Minnesota Winter because the other 3 seasons make it worth living here, Fall is a great time to soak up a bit more outside time before hunkering down. It’s also a great time to perfect your soup and chili recipes. Like my Ethiopian Spiced Stew. Throw something in the slow cooker before heading out to enjoy some of these activities!
For the Runners
Fall race season has many fun things to offer. Routinely voted one of the most beautiful marathons in the US, the Twin Cities Marathon happens on the first Sunday in October with the Chicago Marathon the following weekend. The Saturday before the Twin Cities Marathon, there are family events for every one from the crawler on up.
If you’re looking for more of a fun run/walk, check out the Run for the Apples at Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake, MN. This is a 5-mile event through the orchard. There is also a kids’ run. The best part of this event is the post-run treats! There are delicious bakery-fresh cookies, fresh-picked apples, and apple cider to wash it all down. Because the real reason for running is being able to eat more, right!? There are races happening throughout the country every weekend, and fall is a great time to get out to walk or run!
Apple orchards are a great place to spend a day with many orchards offering a lot more than just apples, such as a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and wagon or pony rides. There are countless other orchards offering much of the same throughout the country. Keep in mind, the Mississippi River Valley is home to some of the best apples in the world thanks to the University of Minnesota developing a number of new varieties.
Other fun family activities include Halloween events. Haunted houses are fun, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, check out the William A Irvin in Duluth, MN. There are Halloween Parades in most cities across the country. Save your legs and collect candy on the curb while watching one of these festive events!
Along for the Ride
If you’re wanting to sit back and relax while enjoying the beauty that fall in the Midwest has to offer, check out some of the paddlewheel rides up and down the Mississippi and St Croix Rivers. There are also lake cruises available on the Great Lakes, offereing a relaxing way to enjoy the cooler weather. For a full day, go on an afternoon cruise, then head towards a family friendly winery to sample this season’s fruit and get a bite to eat.
Leaves are the hallmark of the fall season. Some of the best places to take in great scenery are along the North Shore, beyond Duluth, or in Door County, WI. While I’ve never seen it myself, fall in New England is a bucket list trip for many. I also highly recommend day hikes through any number of the State Parks or National Parks. If the crisp evenings don’t bother you, pitch a tent and enjoy some fall camping. The skies seem more clear, campgrounds can be much quieter (and cheaper), and a campfire is even more enjoyable as temps dip. Added bonus, the bugs aren’t as bad after the first frost!
Something for Everyone
While all the above things are just a sampling of some of my favorite fall activities, there is truly something for everyone. With all the German heritage in the Midwest, there is no shortage of Oktoberfest celebrations. Fall brings some delicious beer samplings from most of the craft breweries. If brats, sauerkraut and beer aren’t your cup of tea, check out a Harvest Festival, like the one in Clear Lake, IA. Small towns across the country stomp grapes, roll pumpkins, and celebrate the end of a hopefully abundant growing season.
While there are so many more great things to do in fall, don’t forget to turn loose your inner child and jump into a pile of leaves. (Preferably one that your neighbor raked up)