Enjoy Fall Sightseeing With These 5 Riverboat Cruises

Appreciate the changing colors from the water this fall.


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Photo by Jennie Eukel

At this time of year, it seems like one of every five Facebook or Instagram posts celebrate the beauty of autumn in the Midwest. This is our season to own, and I’m glad people are embracing it.   

I love that our climate, combined with the right mix of aspen, basswood, birch, butternut, elm, maple, ash, poplar, white oak, sumac, and witch hazel trees, creates this stunning kaleidoscope of color. The leaves are at their peak in many areas across the state. If you don't want to hike through parks to see the colors, and you're not planning any scenic road trips before the end of the month, consider scheduling a sightseeing cruise on a riverboat, where you can enjoy the views from inside or out on the deck of a riverboat. 

This weekend is one of the last to take advantage of this unique opportunity before the end of the 2014 season. Thankfully for us, we have a few different options: The Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines, departing from either Afton or Hudson, Wis. Sunday Brunch Cruise (adults $31; kids 3-10 $19; kids under three $9) or Fall Colors Cruise ($22 for adults; kids 3-10 $12; kids under three $9.75); Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tour  (adults $17.50; kids 3-12 $10.50; kids 2 and under free), or an Oktoberfest Lunch and Lock cruise ($43 plus taxes and port fee), Fall Sightseeing ($20 plus port fee for adults; $10 for kids) or Boo Cruise with kid-friendly activities October 26 ($25 plus port fee for adults; $12 for kids 3-12) on a Padelford Riverboat, departing from Harriet Island in St. Paul. 

There’s also the prime rib Friday Night Dinner Cruise (adults $28.85; children 4-12 $23.85), Saturday steak and ribs dinner cruise (adults $30.85; children $23.85), and Sunday brunch and jazz cruises (adults $21.25; children $18.25) on the St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., out of Stillwater, and Mississippi River Sightseeing ($18 for adults; $10 for children), bording at Bohemian Flats, and Minnetonka Sunday Brunch Cruise ($34 for adults; $24 for children) on Lake Minnetonka, offered through Paradise Charter Cruises.  

When I’m bundled in multiple layers, teeth chattering, scraping thick  ice off my windshield this winter, I’ll hold onto the memory of a fall sight-seeing trip as a reminder of why I live here.

*Prices subject to change.

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