There are few things more beautiful than fall in the Midwest. The arrival of cooler weather brings with it an array of autumn colors that stir the imagination and warm the heart. Make the most of the season with a fall getaway in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota.
Photo Courtesy of Caribou Highlands
Caribou Highlands Lodge
With a location near the Superior National Forest and Lake Superior, Caribou Highlands Lodge has it made in terms of fall scenery. “It’s the finest lodging on the mountain,” says Parnell Thill, marketing director. Guests staying at Caribou Highlands in the fall can go biking or mountain biking, bird-watching during the great raptor migration, or take a gondola ride to the peak of Sawtooth Mountains, to see the “greatest possible view of North Shore fall colors,” says Thill. caribouhighlands.com
Lutsen Resort and Sea Villas
Family and sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Superior provide a unique vantage point of the changing fall colors, particularly from Lutsen Resort’s very own private cove. Stay from September 6-October 19 and enjoy the Fall Colors Package, including two nights of lodging, breakfast each day, and one dinner entrée in the Lakeside Dining Room. (their wine selection includes over 125 options and a growing number of wines from Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Picks.”) Favorite fall activities include nature programs, biking, live music in the lobby, guided hikes, and nightly campfires on the beach. lutsenresort.com
You don’t have to portage or camp in Ely to appreciate the natural beauty of the area. Built on the shore of Shagawa Lake, only minutes from the Boundary Waters, Grand Ely Lodge Resort & Conference (or GEL) offers comfortable accommodations, an indoor pool, whirlpool and sauna, on-site game room, lounge, and restaurant. Explore Shagawa Lake with a complimentary canoe, paddleboat, or kayak, rent a deluxe fishing boat or pontoon, hike or bike down the Trezona Trail (just across the street from the resort), visit the International Wolf Center, North American Bear Center, or head to downtown Ely—only a mile from the lodge—to pick up souvenirs at charming shops (and see why Budget Travel named Ely “the Coolest Small Town in America”). grandelylodge.com
Biking in the St. Croix River Valley
Photo by Dalas Wynne
St. Croix Area
St. Croix River Valley
Over 64 miles of former railroad beds were converted to bike routes in the St. Croix River Valley, revealing beautiful autumn views once only appreciated by train. For those looking for an exciting off-road mountain biking challenge, the Woolly Mountain Bike Trail offers tight corners, rocky sections, and log piles; while motorcyclists wanting a relaxing cruise along the river bluffs will see hills and valleys, small towns, and S curves along the St. Croix River Valley Trail.
For views of the changing shoreline scenery, river tours are available on one of two historic St. Croix River paddleboats.
Local attractions appealing to families in the autumn months include apple-picking and hay rides at Pleasant Valley Orchard and a visit to Fawn-Do-Rosa Wildlife Educational Park, where kids can feed wandering deer, see fox, wolves, bears, and elk, and pet baby animals. thestcroixvalley.com
Brainerd Lakes Area
Wilderness Point, Brainerd
With shoreline cabins on Middle Cullen Lake (one of the area’s most popular fishing lakes) and newly constructed woodland villas, guests staying at Brainerd’s Wilderness Point Resort can choose from peaceful water views to secluded forest surroundings. wildernessresortvillas.com
The Good Ol’ Days Family Resort, Nisswa
With 10 new cottages and a fully renovated lodge, the Good Ol’ Days Family Resort offers even more options for a Brainerd Lakes Area getaway this fall. Aside from it being more relaxed and quiet, late season visitors can take advantage of discounted rates. Relax in front of a roaring fireplace, utilize the well-stocked full-sized kitchens, watch a show on a home theater, and enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine while appreciating lakefront views. The resort offers direct access to the Paul Bunyan Trail (bikes are available), geocaching, and close proximity to some of the best golf courses and fishing in the state. goodolddaysresort.com
With kayaking or canoeing on scenic Lake Darling, dining at the resort’s on-site restaurants, horseback riding, and massive indoor waterpark, Arrowwood Resort is the perfect fall getaway. Accommodations can be made for any size group. The facility is great for conferences and reunions, too. arrowwoodresort.com
Hawks View Cottages Fountain City
For a truly romantic fall getaway, stay at Hawks View Cottages in Fountain City, only two hours from the Twin Cities. Take your pick of five tree-top cottages, crafted into the hillsides and bluffs of the golden cedar grove, overlooking Hawks View Vineyard and the Mississippi River. Nestled amongst the forest canopy, these fully stocked adult-sized treehouses are ideal for romantic nights by the fire, peaceful days of meditation, and uniquely immersive encounters with nature. hawksview.net
Photo courtesy of the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce
Make your next fall excursion a trip to historic Deadwood in the scenic Black Hills of South Dakota, where the weather is mild, the aspens are golden, and Wild West attractions are less crowded in the off-peak months. “The entire town is a national historic landmark,” says Amanda Kille, the marketing and sponsorship coordinator for the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce. Every building on Main Street is a historic building (with views of mountains and trees), giving the downtown area a lot of character. Kille says visitors can take a historic walking tour, visit Mount Moria Cemetery and the graves of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, or spend time in Deadwood’s three world-class museums. Visit during one of the popular city-wide annual events including Oktoberfest in the Wild West September 30-October 1, the Wild West Songwriters Festival October 13-14, and Deadweird October 28-29, complete with a Monster Ball, Coffin Races, and spooky mansion tours. deadwood.com
Hit the Road this Fall in a Luxury RV
Don’t let fall’s cooler temperatures put an end your camping season. Experience the changing colors in luxury from an Airstream, Entegra, or Tiffin RV, available at Shorewood RV, the exclusive dealership.
Located in Anoka, Shorewood RV’s primary objective is providing customer satisfaction with the largest selection of RV makes, models, and price points to match every possible need.
“Our travel trailers and motorhomes come equipped with furnaces that can be used when dry camping or at a full campsite,” says Jody Niskanen, director of marketing. “Since we are in Minnesota and weather can be unpredictable, they also have air conditioners for those warmer days.”
Want something a little more, well, fancy? Some of their units include electric fireplaces, Niskanen says, “to bring that warm ambiance indoors when a campfire is not possible.”
The best part is the immersive experience you can only get when driving in an RV through Minnesota’s autumn forests. “Our Class A motorhomes provide a large panoramic view out the front windshield that allows you to soak up the fall colors while on the move,” says Niskanen.
Fall closeout units are now available, as is an early preview of the new 2017 model changes. Shorewood RV even offers overnight parking and electrical hookups as part of every rental, she says, “just to make RV servicing more convenient.”
So embrace your inner outdoorsman and hit the road, witnessing the fall season like never before. shorewoodrv.com