family travels off the beaten path

Our Favorite Fall Activities in Duluth, Minnesota

Our Favorite Fall Activities in Duluth, Minnesota

Fall in Duluth, Minnesota: The Most Epic of Seasons

Fall in Duluth, Minnesota is hard to beat. While we may be biased after living there for a decade, we truly find a Northwoods autumn impossible to compete with. The world becomes ablaze with rich fall colors, making it a kaleidoscope of sorts no matter where you choose to enjoy it. For kids, Mother Nature’s playground becomes even more plentiful and abundant, providing ample opportunities to discover, explore and create using freshly fallen leaves, maple seeds and more.

We’re embarking on sharing our favorite things to do with kids in Duluth for each season, and we’re kicking it off with the most epic of seasons…fall!

Top 5 Things to Do in Fall in Duluth, Minnesota with Kids
Photo credit: Sarah Brokke Erickson

Our Favorite Things to Do with Kids: The Fall Version

1. Hike, hike, hike!

The amount of hiking you can do in Duluth is insane. From the well maintained city park trails, to the COGGS mountain biking trail system you will find trails literally within less than a mile of anywhere you find yourself in Duluth. This makes for a crazy amount of nature to explore and it is the absolute best way to experience Duluth with kids in the fall.

Top 5 Things to Do in Duluth Minnesota with Kids in the Fall

  • Bagley Nature Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth campus provides trails that aren’t too short and aren’t too long, perfect for smaller legs. It also has a great pond for spotting ducks. The fall colors at Bagley are vibrant. It’s location is convenient to Northern Waters Restaurant, one of our all time favorite spots to grab a sandwich and warm up afterwards,
  • Hawk Ridge is not to be missed in the fall. Not only can you go for a relaxing hike with stunning views of Lake Superior, but you can also take part in the awesome activities surrounding the hawk migration through Duluth. Close to 20 species of raptors have been seen migrating over Hawk Ridge and the sheer volume of hawks visitors can see is amazing. This Nature reserve is a vantage point for hundreds of migrating raptors, some of which are moving from their breeding grounds in areas as far north as the Arctic and can be headed as far south as points in South America. The tip of Western Lake Superior is where the magic happens. There are great activities for kids and adults alike between mid-late September and the end of October at Hawk Ridge. Best of all? The majority of them are free!
  • The Superior Hiking Trail provides hundreds of miles of awesome hiking for the whole family to enjoy. Our favorite sections to hike in the fall include the Split Rock River Loop and the Bean and Bear Lake Loop. Both of these are a bit more technical, so keep your eyes on your littles!
Top 5 Things to Do with Kids in Duluth, MN in Fall
Photo credit: Sarah Brokke Erickson

2. An Apple a Day, Keeps Kids Happy!

Within an hour of Duluth, you’ll find beautiful Bayfield, Wisconsin. Located on the shores of Lake Superior and the doorway to the Apostle Islands National Seashore, Bayfield is a charming small town and home to some of the best apple orchards…ever. Heading to Bayfield for apple season is a tradition for many Northern Minnesota (and Wisconsin) families. The quaint town has great restaurants, playgrounds and it’s one of the most picturesque towns on the shores of Lake Superior, making it a perfect day trip.

Top 5 things to do in Duluth, Minnesota with Kids in Fall

If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll eat more apples than they pick. There could be worse things to overload on. Our favorite orchard is Hauser’s Superior View Farm for apples. We’ve also picked at others and they are all wonderful! Be sure to call ahead to confirm they are indeed picking before you drive out to Bayfield! Here’s a full map of the orchards, just in case you want to try to stop at more than one.

3. Hit the Beach

Yes, even in autumn, the beaches in Duluth are lovely and worth enjoying. We love Park Point beach in the fall for fort building with washed up driftwood, creative play with found treasures and great family picnics. The dog days of summer can last through October in Duluth, so it is always worth any extra beach days you can get. As an added bonus, there’s a great hike at the far end of Park Point near the airport. Double bonus? There is some great geocaching on Park Point! Geocaching is one of our favorite ways to get outside and explore with our kids.

Top things to do in duluth minnesota with kids


Duluth is truly a gem no matter the season, but fall in Duluth is truly a playground waiting to be discovered. It is a destination that many wouldn’t think about when considering a “fall colors” trip, but one that we would highly recommend. Be sure to watch the Minnesota DNR’s fall color tracker to time your visit perfectly. Fall in Duluth with kids provides you with reason behind reason to get outside and adventure.


Top Things to Do in Duluth Minnesota with Kids in Autumn