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Magical Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

A few years ago my family woke up on a gorgeous fall Saturday in October and realized remarkably we had nothing on the calendar. This seemed like the perfect day to take a drive. So we filled up our travel mugs with hot coffee, promised the kids donuts at our first stop (they always need a carrot, just one covered in lots of sugar), and headed out for a fall road trip. As I recall, the day was perfection from beginning to end. No child complained in the car, the views were outstanding, the weather crisp, the treats amazing, and everyone oozed gratitude on the way home. 

Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

At least that’s how I remember it. 

Probably there was plenty of whining, lots of sugar crashes, and I certainly got hot and sticky by the end of the day from my overzealous desire to indulge in sweater weather when it was still sunny and 75 degrees. But none of that matters because as the memory lives in my head it was a magical day and I’m sticking to that. 

Do you need to add a magical memory to your brain bank? Of course you do! Then put on your best flannel, load up the car with all the right snacks and beverages, pick a direction, and head out on one of these great fall day trips sure to create lasting memories bright enough to help you forget the less magical moments. Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

SOUTH to FARIBAULT, MN (50 minutes from the metro)

Attention outdoor adventuring families: your ideal fall day begins near Faribault. Bikers will love the Singing Hills Sakatah State Trail. The trail runs for 39 miles between Faribault and Mankato and three miles of it run through Sakatah Lake State park making that a great place to start for young bikers. If you prefer to adventure on foot the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park offers stunning trails for all abilities, with fall colors peaking in Mid October. Round out your day with apple cider donuts at Crack of Dawn Bakehouse (open Thu-Sat) in Faribault. Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

WEST to NEW ULM, MN (90 minutes from the metro)

Nothing sings fall louder than an oompah band in a biergarten and New Ulm is the ultimate location for Oktoberfest enthusiasts. Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

Oktoberfest in New Ulm runs two weekends in October, 6-7 and 13-14, with music, food, fun, and beer, too, of course. Maybe you are asking if Oktoberfest is a great place to bring a family and New Ulm says YES! There are parades on both Saturdays of Oktoberfest weekends sure to delight kids of all ages and then stay downtown for food, music, yard games, horse-drawn trolley rides, and maybe a chance to dance with the New Ulm Gnome mascots! Schell Brewery in town is a great place to hang in the biergarten with peacocks on site and root beer on tap for the kids. If you or your kids love to dress up, this is the time to pull out the lederhosen!

Want to add on a stunning drive to your fun-filled day? Try hopping off the main interstates to follow the Minnesota River on Co. Rd. 6 and HWY. 93 from Belle Plaine to Le Sueur, then HWY. 169 to Mankato, then HWY. 68 to New Ulm. Ooh and ahh all along the way. 

NORTH to TAYLOR FALLS, MN (60 minutes from the metro)

The Scenic St. Croix River Valley is just stunning in the fall as the road winds through wooden hillsides and cliffs overlooking the river. Stop off at Interstate State Park for hiking including the challenging 120 steps up to the bluff overlook on the River Trail. The kids will love peering into the Glacial Potholes Area. To fuel up, don’t miss the Drive-In Diner at Taylor Falls for that classic car picnic. Also if your kids need some more running around, the Fraconia Sculpture Garden is an adventure not to be missed while up this direction. Even if you have been before, there is always something new to see at this unique attraction.Twin Cities Fall Day Trips

EAST to RED WING, MN (60 minutes from the metro)

There is no more beautiful place to enjoy the fall colors than along the Mississippi River valley. Make your way southeast down the river on side roads by starting in Hastings and taking country road 54 to 68 to 18 as you wind up and over hills along the river valley then make your way down 61 to Red Wing. Set among bluffs and along the river, Red Wing is a beautiful small town. The hike at Barn Bluff offered our favorite view and is a fairly easy climb for kids. Do your kids like playgrounds? Colvill Park has a huge newer playground, fun for the kids but with a relaxing view for the grownups. Once everyone is tired out, get back in the car and make your way to Wabasha wear you’ll cross over the river to the Wisconsin side and make your way back Northwest on this side of the river. The views are great but it’s the pie at Stockholm Pie Company that really keeps you going. Hot tip: order online ahead of time, skip the long lines, pick up your pie, and share bites down by the river. Likely after this day, everyone will sleep all the way home, filled with the magic you’ll remember forever. Twin Cities Fall Day Trips


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