Happy older couple

Top Outdoor Fall Activities for Seniors

In Minnesota, fall can literally be considered a bittersweet season: We love being outside and enjoying those sweet, crisp and cool days, because we know another bitter winter season is right around the corner.

So to truly squeeze every drop out of autumn this year, here are the top four outdoor fall activities for seniors who live in or near Plymouth, MN. Grab your flannel jacket and a thermos full of hot coffee, and get ready to fall in love with another Minnesota fall!

1. Apple Picking

Minnesota has a number of orchards where you can pick all kinds of flowers and fruits. But apples and apple picking seem to be most closely associated with fall. 

Try apple picking at Afton Apple Orchard in Hastings, where they offer pick-your-own apples, along with apple cider, honey, jam, maple syrup and other Minnesota-grown products. They also offer hayrides to the apple trees. Most weekends in October you can enjoy their apple festival, which features games, music and more outdoor activities. The orchard also has a 15-acre corn maze, playground and petting farm, making it perfect for seniors who want to share fall outdoor activities with their grandchildren.

Emma Krumbee’s Orchard & Farm in Belle Plaine offers pick-your-own apples, pumpkins and raspberries. The orchard also has an annual Scarecrow Festival, which features more than 100 unique, handcrafted, artistic scarecrows on display all around the 45-acre apple orchard.

Consistently voted one of Minnesota’s best apple orchards, Fall Harvest Orchard in Delano has more than 20 varieties of apples for you to pick, along with outdoor activities such as a pumpkin patch, wagon rides, yard games, pony rides and a giant corn pit. They also feature something mysteriously called Apple Cannons; to find out what these are you’ll have to go on a weekend. Food options at the orchard include apple pies and apple crisp, apple cider donuts, apple cider slushies and caramel apples – all made with their orchard’s apples.

2. Visiting Pumpkin Patches

Apples may be the fall fruit, but pumpkins are arguably the official fruit of Halloween. Anybody with a steady hand and a little creativity can enjoy pumpkin carving. It starts with picking a good pumpkin.

You’ll find plenty to choose from at Dehns Pumpkin Patch in Dayton. In addition to 20 acres of pumpkin patches, you can enjoy wagon rides, wine tastings, corn mazes, straw bale mazes, a Spooky Boutique selling costumes and fall decorations, and a snack shack selling cheese curds and mini-donuts.

Anoka likes to call itself the Halloween Capital of the World, and it definitely has a lot going on to support the claim. Events include pumpkin carving and costume contests, a Gray Ghost 5k run, a parade, pancake breakfast, even a Pumpkin Smash on Nov. 1 to compost the Halloween pumpkins.

3. Leaf Peeping

“Leaf peepers” is a term used to describe people who enjoy walking or driving to see the changing fall foliage. In our part of Minnesota, there are several stunning drives you can take, and parks you can walk through, to take in the splendor of the leaf-changing season.

The 14 acres of the Big Woods Preserve in Wayzata is the last metro remnant of a forest that once covered all of central Minnesota. Fall is one of the best times to visit this park for a walk along its canopied hiking trails, where old-growth trees have their own ideas of what fall decorations should look like.

Drive the scenic St. Croix Valley, where the St. Croix River winds through wooded hillsides and sheer cliffs. Wild River and William O’Brien state parks feature great river views. Make stops in the charming towns of Stillwater, Taylors Falls, and Afton for their numerous antique and gift shops. Take a boat excursion on the river; it’s a great way to see the fall color.

The city of Minneapolis boasts several prime leaf-peeping spots. Among them is the seasonally appropriate name, the Witch’s Hat Tower, located in the Prospect Park neighborhood. Because it’s on a hilltop, the area surrounding the tower has nearly 360-degree views and is filled with picnic tables and benches.

4. Festivals

The autumn weather doesn’t chase hardy Minnesotans away. Instead, they layer up and head outside for some of the finest food and drinks festivals you’ll find in the Midwest.

Beer and brewers from across Minnesota will be at Boom Island Park for Autumn Brew Review 2021. Known as one of the largest and oldest annual celebrations of craft beer in Minnesota, it’s hosted annually by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and this year will be Oct. 16. Visitors gather on the shore of the mighty Mississippi for beer, beautiful views of downtown, and fun and games with the craft beer community.

If you happen to have lederhosen (and who doesn’t?), gear up for the Twin Cities Oktoberfest. This two-day event on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds features all-local beer, wine and ciders, food merchandise vendors, and entertainment.

Breweries, food trucks and live music are all on the menu at the Nordeast Big River Brew & Fizz Fest. Your admission even gets you a commemorative tasting mug! This annual event is a fundraiser for programs of East Side Neighborhood Services.

Instead of a Fall Honey-Do List, Enjoy Fall with Your Honey

Raking and bagging leaves. Prepping the lawn for the cold. Getting the house winterized. Those certainly are outdoor fall activities for seniors — unless you live at Trillium Woods. Independent living residents leave all those chores and many others to us, while they enjoy leaf peeping, pumpkin patches, festivals and apple-picking. Our community offers many other services, amenities, opportunities and dining experiences, too. Our chef even makes a mean apple pie.

Learn why fall is one of the best seasons at Trillium Woods. Contact us to set up your personal visit.