Minnesota boasts two popularized autumn destinations. Both happen to be located along historic Highway 61: the North Shore and Southeast Minnesota’s “Bluff Country.” Every autumn, the dense forestry that encloses Red Wing, a quintessential Mississippi River town, transforms into an eye-popping meld of colors, such as marigold, amber, kelly, and, occasionally, crimson. Thanks to idyllic fall temperatures, the colors remain on the trees longer than anywhere else in the state. This “extended” season allures travelers of all kinds, including self-proclaimed autumnophiles, couples, and nature-loving families. And the perfect place to start and finish each day of leaf-peeping, bicycling, and apple picking is the historic St. James Hotel, located within a stone’s throw of the mighty Mississippi River and its autumnal splendor. To ensure that your upcoming stay is nothing short of sublime, our concierge team has pieced together 15 classic fall activities in Minnesota’s Bluff Country.
Fall Activities in Minnesota: Foliage, Fruit, and Fun
Admittedly, compiling a list of quintessential fall activities in Minnesota isn’t overly challenging when you’re surrounded by so much beauty, history, and family-owned business. That being said, whittling potential mid-day activities down to 15 selections does sting a little. Luckily for you, there’s something for everyone near Red Wing, including state parks, vineyards, golf courses, and, of course, a couple of the most beloved bluffs in the state.
- Picnic at Frontenac State Park, which sits atop one of the widest sections of the Mississippi River (Lake Pepin).
- Hike to both corners of Barn Bluff (He Mni Can).
- Stroll past visionary artworks at the Anderson Center Sculpture Park.
- Fill a 20-pound peck full of ripe apples at Driftless Orchard, including Kindercrips, Honeygolds, and Zestars!
- Pick the perfect pumpkin and enjoy a hayride at Fischer’s Croix Farm.
- Cycle westward on the 19.7-mile Cannon Valley Trail, a former Chicago Great Western Railroad line.
- Drive southbound on historic Highway 61 with pit stops in Frontenac, Lake City, Reads Landing, and, perhaps, Winona.
- Relish a spicy, seasonally-inspired cocktail at Scarlet Kitchen & Bar.
- Play 18 holes at Red Wing Golf Course.
- Become a self-made Instagram star by “snapping” a variety of autumnal pics.
- Try geocaching, the “world’s largest treasure hunt.”
- Sip on regional vino at Falconer Vineyards.
- Hop aboard the “Pearl of the Lake,” the most authentic Mississippi River paddlewheel cruise.
- Toss the disc around at Memorial Park.
- Savor a pumpkin-spiced latte at Mandy’s Coffee & Cafe.
Weekend Getaways in Minnesota: St. James Hotel
Hopefully, these 15 fall activities in Minnesota will provide an extra pinch of spice to your next escape from the Twin Cities en route to historic Red Wing. St. James Hotel is an idyllic, sophisticated basecamp located in the heart of downtown. While we offer a fleet of inexpensive bicycle rentals (perfect for the Cannon Valley Trail), you’ll always be within walking distance of the Mississippi River, Red Wing Shoes, Sheldon Theatre, and countless shops and bars. The newly-remodeled Scarlet Kitchen & Bar, meanwhile, continues to turn heads in the community. Foodies and casual diners alike have been gushing about the old-world charm, sleek decor, and culinary delights, including a mix of fall favorites, such as the wild rice soup, hand-cut steak, and brie and peach chicken.
Please give us a call today at 800-252-1875 (or check availability online) to book a long-awaited autumn getaway to the beautiful St. James Hotel. Feel free to browse through our various offers and packages to enhance the experience!