Minnesota Fall Travel Guide

The much-adored autumn season is upon us, and one of the best places to enjoy cooler weather, vibrant colors, and that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with fall is in the Midwest. Embark on a getaway in northern Minnesota or Wisconsin and enjoy fall in true northern style.

A road cutting through some gold and orange trees in the fall.

The much-adored autumn season is upon us, and one of the best places to enjoy cooler weather, vibrant colors, and that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with fall is in the Midwest. Embark on a getaway in northern Minnesota or Wisconsin and enjoy fall in true northern style. 


The lodges at Arrowwood Resort.
Arrowwood Resort

photo courtesy of arrowwood resort

Arrowwood Resort


With themed events, guided trail rides, a waterpark, and more, the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, about two hours northwest of Minneapolis off I-94, is the perfect place for a fall family getaway. During the Education MN break (aka MEA), the resort offers pumpkin painting and cookie decorating, and during the first weekend of November, families can learn how to handcraft a wooden masterpiece. The 38,000-square-foot indoor waterpark features three exhilarating four-story slides, a “Lazy River” innertube ride, a tropical whirlpool spa, and plenty of excitement for the little ones. The fun continues with an indoor pool, whirlpool, fitness center, spa facility, on-site restaurants and lounge, and a huge indoor tennis facility (open year-round). Arrowwood Resort also offers a conference center for formal events. arrowwoodresort.com


A family sitting around a campfire by a lake roasting marshmallows at Grand View Lodge in the Brainerd Lakes area.

Grand View Lodge

photo courtesy of grand view lodge

Grand View Lodge


“Adventure awaits for all ages,” during the fall months at Grand View Lodge Golf Resort and Spa in the vacation destination of the Brainerd Lakes area, says Leana Bruer, marketing communications specialist. “One of the best things about fall is the changing of the leaves. Our property definitely transforms into a colorful phenomenon.” She recommends starting the morning off with yoga at the beautiful waterfront, then enjoying the calm waters and the lake’s beauty with a morning guided paddleboard tour.

Along with a fall carnival, horse-drawn wagon rides, wine and beer tastings, autumn pontoon cruises, and an on-site restaurant transformed into a haunted house, Grand View offers special fall packages including Golftoberfest October 6-7 (two nights deluxe lodging, unlimited golf, and an Oktoberfest party featuring GB Leighton), Spooktacular October 27-28 (trick-or-treating and a costume contest), and Grand Brewfest November 17-19 (an on-site pub crawl, live music, a one-mile beer run/walk, classes, and night cap samples). The “Fall Into Wellness” package includes discounts on a spa service, unlimited golf on The Garden Course, and free bike rentals. Grand View is the perfect balance of relaxation and fun. Stay in any of the cottages, villas, or the lodge, and explore and enjoy the endless activities for the whole family. grandviewlodge.com


Hawks View Cottages 


Named by the Huffington Post as the “prettiest drive in the United States” (edging out a highway in Hawaii!), Wisconsin’s Highway 35— otherwise known as part of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway—will take you through charming communities with views of dramatic limestone bluffs and the Mississippi River.  Once you arrive in Fountain City, stay in a unique two-story “treehouse” at Hawks View Cottages, featuring bright, airy, open spaces with comfortable beds, full kitchen, private deck, porch, and whirlpool tub for two. Each cottage is located in a peaceful, wooded site. Bird-watching is abundant, and Seven Hawks Vineyards, just a mile away, offers wine tastings. Dine at the Monarch House, shop in neighboring towns, or tour the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum across the river in Winona. hawksview.net




The “First City on the Mississippi,” Bemidji is full of outdoor activities, spirited people, and unique culture. Fun fall activities include the Fall Colors Festival September 17-18, and the First City of Arts: Studio Cruise on October 20-21, along with countless outdoor activities at the nearby Itasca State Park and Lake Bemidji State Park. Try biking the national Mississippi River Trail, checking out the vibrant downtown, or snapping a pic with Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox. visitbemidji.com


A woman and a man with a baby strapped to his back are standing in the middle of a forest in autumn and looking down at a guide in their hands.
Grand Rapids

photo courtesy of visit grand rapids

Grand Rapids


A “hidden gem of the north woods,” according to executive director Megan Christianson, Grand Rapids offers everything from countless outdoor activities to local art and historical events. Take a scenic drive along the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway, bike on the Mesabi Trail, or fish on one of the 1,000 lakes in the area if you’re looking to take in the Minnesota wilderness, or attend holiday events, art walks, and performances at the Reif Center for educational and cultural experiences. visitgrandrapids.com

Resource Guide


Arrowwood Resort

2100 Arrowwood Lane NW,
Alexandria, MN 56308,

Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior

7192 MN-61,
Tofte, MN 55615,

Grand View Lodge

23521 Nokomis Avenue,
Nisswa, MN 56468,

Hawks View Cottages

17 North Street,
Fountain City, WI 54629,

Minnesota Zoo

13000 Zoo Boulevard,
Apple Valley, MN 55124,

Visit Bemidji

809 Paul Bunyan Drive SE,
Bemidji, MN 56601,

Visit Grand Rapids

Second Floor of Old Central School,
10 NW 5th Street,
Grand Rapids, MN 55744