I recently moved to Minneapolis, so I am still unfamiliar with the gems outside of the Twin Cities. Thankfully, my best friend grew up in Minnesota and is able to show me what the state has to offer. She told me stories of how her and her family often visited Taylors Falls, and I was intrigued.
After doing a little research, I saw it was the perfect weekend destination this time of year. Fall is unofficially here and before we know it, winter will arrive. Fall photos of the area made me want to put on hiking boots, a flannel, and a vest and celebrate what’s left of the mild weather.
Fall colors will surround you as you paddle down the St. Croix River in one of the canoes or kayaks available at Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental (a one-way trip is $45.50 + tax, including two life jackets and two paddles). If you want to leave the navigating to someone else, see the changing leaves on a Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tour. For those with an adventurous spirit, ride on the Alpine Slides or Go-Karts on weekends through October 4 at Wild Mountain (or sit back, relax, and take in the panoramic views from the chairlift). If you like to hike or camp, Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls, Wis. is just across the St. Croix River. Roast marshmallows on crisp fall nights and during the day, hike along trails above the river bluffs, catching views of the changing trees and river from the rocky cliffs. (While you’re in Wisconsin, grab some seasonal New Glarus Brewing Co. Fat Squirrel Nut Brown Ale.)
Taylors Falls is also home to charming coffee shops and diners, such as Coffee Talk, located in a renovated Victorian house, or Tangled Up in Blue food and wine bar. If you have time after exploring the town, stop at Franconia Sculpture Park, a free park (donations accepted) showcasing over 75 sculptures. Don’t forget your camera.
Taylors Falls is about 60 miles northeast of the Twin Cities, via I-35W or 35E N. Take Highway 8 east (just past Forest Lake) until you arrive in the city.