THE SECRET REASON TO VISIT THE ST.CROIX VALLEY THIS FALL.
Are We There Yet? Actually, We Are
Picture this: The mini-van is packed and your kids are supplied with enough snacks, drinks, activities and electronics to hopefully last them the hours and hours it will take to get to “Faraway Vacation Destination." You’ve spent weeks getting ready for this family vacation, gone over the check list, and finally it’s time to pull out and hit the road! And then, minutes from home, you hear the the dreaded, “Are we there yet?”
Long Weekends. Short Drive
But, we have a secret in the St. Croix River Valley, and we are about to expose it. Less than ONE HOUR from the Twin Cities we have spectacular landscapes, grandeur and adventure that awaits. It’s true! You could avoid those long, torturous road trips filled with expensive pit stops, detours and boredom by heading 45 minutes north to the St. Croix River Valley areas of Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Opportunities for unforgettable family vacation memories abound!
Photo credit © Noah Hedlund
City of Trails: Water, Foot, Bike, and Snow
We are growing famous for our outdoor recreational opportunities such as canoeing, hiking, fishing, biking, and skiing. The area is chock full of gorgeous lakes, trails of all kinds, and of course, the breathtaking and scenic St. Croix River. Not only do we have 4 state parks within our radius (MN Interstate, WI Interstate, William O’Brien, and Wild River State Parks), but the the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, is an official National Park that winds through our area. You will see enough impressive and historic rock formations, cliffs and rapids to fill your camera and create a lovely scrapbook. All four seasons have unique beauty to please and entertain, but WCCO viewers have a particular crush on fall and voted Taylors Falls the 2014 Choice for Minnesota’s Best Place to See Fall Colors. And the fall report is forecasting one of the best leaf peeping seasons yet.
Photo credit © Dallas Wynne
Family Fun for all
Plan to spend more than the day here in the St. Croix River Valley. We have too much to do to try to pack it all into an afternoon. Of course there are countless itineraries, but may we suggest a few? Take your family on a cruise down river on a Wild Mountain Scenic Boat Tour. Top deck space aboard the Taylor’s Falls Queen, an authentic paddle wheel river boat, gives you a grand view of the colors and cliffs. But if you’d prefer to remain indoors, seating and dining are available on the main level of the paddleboat. Or try a different mode of transportation as you explore the area aboard the historic Osceola and St. Croix Valley Railway. Catering to the young and old, this excursion will give you a unique opportunity to see the river and its entire splendor as you ride in comfort and style. The railway operates every weekend through mid-October with their famous brunch, pizza or dinner train rides.
Another family favorite is the Fawn-Doe-Rosa Wildlife Educational Park in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, offering special opportunities to see up close, touch, and even feed the beautiful wildlife which are native to this area and beyond. And when you’re done, hit the popular new Valley Sweet’s Ice Cream and Old Fashioned Candy shop in downtown St. Croix Falls. Their signature Pure Maple Syrup Sundae with old fashioned vanilla ice cream topped with warm (locally made) pure maple syrup and toasted, salted pecans will be an unforgettable treat.
Apples, Pumpkins & Corn Mazes
Don't forget about a trip to the apple orchard, pumpkin farm or corn maze while you are here. Spend the time to pick your own apples at Pleasant Valley Orchard in Shafer or Baker's Orchard in Centuria. It's a great way to spend an afternoon.
If you’re an on-the-go family seeking a thrill, try the Trollhaugen Aerial Adventure Park or Wild Mountain's Go-kart and Alpine slide rides. And when the weather turns cold and the expected snow season returns, these same facilities offer downhill skiing and snowboarding for all ages and abilities.
Photo credit © Pleasant Valley Orchard
Arts, Theater, Museums, Sculpture Parks, Wineries, Golf and more!
Live theater at Festival Theater, museums, wineries, outdoor sculpture and more are all within the vicinity and a short distance from the Twin Cities; which means less time driving and more time vacationing! And golf in the fall? Perfect. With so much to do, your trip deserves a comfortable place to lodge in one of the area’s hotels or bed and breakfasts. #indoorpooltime #downtime.
Without the long drive home, your quick trip home will leave you refreshed and well . No feelings of needing a vacation after the vacation. No thick coating of dead bugs to scrape off the grill of your vehicle. The trip isn’t even long enough to complete an entire Disney movie. And best of all, you won't have to hear, "Are we there yet?” Although you may hear instead, “When can we go back?”
The article "Fall Vacation in the St. Croix Valley" was produced by Linda Shober Marketing + Design, LLC, and co-written by Leanne Waterworth, Author of "Just Breathe" & Linda Shober. Linda Shober Marketing + Design, LLC firm located in the St. Croix Valley specializing in providing content, strategy, management, design, and creative for digital and traditional marketing projects.
Top photo credit © Linda Shober