There is something you should know about me: I am a Clutz–with a capital C. When I go for a walk or a run, I don’t look up and enjoy the scenery. I look down at my feet because I have a tendency to trip over things, and if I am not concentrating on my footing, I will catch my toe and hit the pavement face first.
Another thing that is important to know about me. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the fun days of summer and the hopeful days of spring and the quietness of winter (until it starts to go on eight months and more, then it’s just being passive aggressive), but my absolute without a doubt favorite time of the year is the fall. When the air turns crisp in the evenings and I can smell the earthy scent of the maturing plants, I shiver in delight. When I can pull out my favorite sweater or jeans and lace up my cute leather boots while packing mychildren’s school supplies into their backpacks, I grin. When I can make a cup of coffee and wrap myself in my favorite afghan to sit on my front step, I sigh.
Fall is so perfect.
However, putting these two facts about me together can cause disaster. While I enjoy walking outside in the fall and breathing in the fresh air, I do not have the ability to look around and enjoy the color of the trees and the sky. I think this year it’s time to be intentional about getting off my street to see some of the gorgeous color of the season.
If you are like me and would like to know where to go with your family to enjoy the fall, I have rounded up eleven places you can bring your family. For most of these activities, you do need to purchase a ticket, but I have listed the free options first.
Walking Tours (Not the best option for Gianna, but mostly free)
- Caponi Art Park
In Eagan lives an emerging 60 acre haven for art-lovers and nature-lovers alike. Caponi Art Park hustles and bustles through the summer bringing music, theatre, art, and nature all together. And it doesn’t stop when the season changes. Fall is a beautiful time to explore Caponi Art Park with the various trails through the woods and the art you will discover along the way.
- Elm Creek Park Reserve
With 4,900 acres and lush forests with miles of trails for biking and hiking in Dayton, Minnesota, not only will you take in the beauty of the color of fall but of the scent of fall as well. Hang out in the playground, stroll through the woods, or rent a Camper Cabin (personally, I am highly tempted to do this. It sounds incredibly fun) and experience the beauty of the season. Go on a hunt for eagles, sandhill cranes, deer, bluebirds, beavers, loons, Trumpeter Swans, or hawks–depending on the season. You won’t ever be disappointed when you visit Elm Creek Park Reserve. It’s a beautiful and serene affair.
- Hyland Lake Park Reserve
Located in Bloomington, Hyland Lake Park Reserve is set among a large outdoor complex known as the Hyland-Bush-Anderson Lakes Park Reserve. A total of 2,565 acres between these parks hosts easily accessible turf trails and beautiful views: many prairie views and lots of wildlife.
- Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
$12/person, ages 13 and under are free
Gardens, tree collections, woods, and prairies with miles of trails intersecting, this gem located in Chanhassen is a premiere Northern Garden. Developed by the Men’s Garden Club of Minneapolis, it is now a part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. This is one of the most beautiful places in the Twin Cities and one of the most fragrant!
Rail Tours (unique option for train enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike)
Choo Choo Bob’s Sunday Fun Ride and Fundraiser at Saint Croix Railroad –
Sept. 21 , call 651-646-5252 to make your reservation
$5/person, $20/family-up to six people
St. Croix Railroad is an experience unlike any other anywhere. Choo Choo Bob invites you to join him (and the the whole rest of the crew from the Store and Show) for their fall faundrasier. Take an unforgettable ride on a miniatrue train.
- Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway
Trains every Saturday and Sunday May-October
How idyllic to enjoy a ride through the beautiful St. Croix Valley on a historic train. Not only will the sights of fall surround you, but you will feel such peace with the repetitive chugging and the fresh scents of the season
River Tours (Beautiful, but with a higher ticket price)
The River–be it the Mississippi River or the St. Croix River–is the perfect place to float along and relax while enjoying the view. Many riverboat cruise have specific fall sightseeing trips, and others have meal cruises that tootle down the river.
If you are wanting more of an adventure, you can rent a canoe or a kayak and paddle yourself through the beauty.
- Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental $26-$45.50
- Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours $7.50-$17.50
- Afton Hudson Cruise Line Friday Night Fall Colors Cruise $10-$20
- St. Croix Boat & Packet Company –Stillwater, Daily Packages $14.95-$30.85 (meal cruises)
- Padelford Packet PaddleboatSteamers–St. Paul, Fall Sight Seeing Cruises $10-$20
If you have money burning a hole in your pocket and if you want to go big, I have just the thing for you. (If you do decide to do this, please let us know about it! These seem incredible!)
- Hot Air Ballon Ride–with Stillwater Balloons $245/person
- Helicopter Ride–with Minnesota Helicopters $399-$699 for up to three people. Price varies due to package.