One of the oldest towns in Minnesota, and located in historic bluff country, Red Wing is a good place to start a tour of lovely fall scenery. As well as the historic downtown, the Red Wing Pottery factory and store, Red Wing Stoneware, and flagship Red Wing Shoes store (home of the world's largest boot!) there are lots of opportunities for seeing fall color. Take a drive around the countryside, hike on Barn Bluff or Memorial Park, both right in town, or ride the Red Wing Trolley around town, or take a cruise on the Mississippi River. The river cruise option gives you the chance of spotting eagles, which nest on trees on the Mississippi River.
Bluff Country is the gorgeous stretch of countryside following the Mississippi south from Red Wing. The terrain gets hillier and prettier the further south you go. Tour the countryside by car on one of the five scenic byways in the area, and stop in on the pretty historic towns like Wabasha, or Winona. Or, there are many opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation, with several state parks and plenty of hiking and cycling trails to be found.
If you canoe or kayak already, then you probably already thought of this. Take a paddling trip on the Mississippi River, the Minnesota River, or the St. Croix River, or Namekagon River, which all have sections with gorgeous tree-lined banks and bluffs. If you are not familiar with the area, get some local knowledge and any extra supplies you need before you set out from one of the local outfitters in the area.
No canoe or kayak? Try Taylor's Falls Canoe and Kayak Rental for trips on the St. Croix River, or Cannon Falls Canoe and Bike for kayak and canoe trips on the Cannon River, about 45 minutes south of Minneapolis.
Celebrate fall with the family at the Lowry Nature Center, near Victoria, MN, about 25 minutes west of Minneapolis. At this annual event, there are children's art activities, kite making, celebrate the harvest, enjoy food and drink, horse-drawn wagon rides, honey samples, and you can meet an owl, and a falcon. $7 per person, hot dogs included.
The pretty town of Stillwater is surrounded by lovely scenery. There's plenty to do in town, with cute little boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Stillwater holds an annual Fall Colors and Jazz Festival - this year it will be October 6 and 7.
You can tour the town of Stillwater by trolley, or take a cruise on the river. And for touring by car, head north, along the St. Croix river - William O'Brien State Park is about 20 miles north, and if you keep going, you'll get to lovely Taylors Falls.
Safe travels, and happy fall!