Get Away to Brainerd This Fall

Brainerd, Minnesota—Brainerd is well-known as a summer destination but Minnesota’s Playground should not be overlooked as a fall destination. With great events, beautiful fall colors, and a wide array of activities, it is easy to #lovebrainerd in the fall. This special season is short and sweet, so make the most of it and plan your get away today.

Here is a list of 10 autumn activities to consider:

  1. Fall Fishing—All year long the Brainerd Lakes Area offers great multi-species fishing action. In the fall, the walleye bite cranks-up as the fish prepare for winter, and the locals like to call it “fall-eye fishing” season. The top fishing lakes include Gull Lake, North Long Lake, and Pelican Lake. There are more than 400 lakes and 75 rivers with over 2,000 miles of shoreline in Crow Wing County. Learn more about them on Crow Wing County’s website. Find Minnesota Department of Natural Resources information online including lake survey information, fishing licenses and regulations. Follow the Visit Brainerd weekly Brainerd Fishing Reports to help plan your fall fishing trip.
  2. Fall Color Hunting—Whether on the water, or in the woods, the changing colors of the Central Minnesota woods and forests make for a wonderful fall color tour. Here are some ideas for scenic tours:
    • Boating from Gull Lake to Nisswa Lake through the scenic Gull Lake channel.
    • Paddling down the Mississippi River by launching at Lyman P. White Park or Kiwanis Park.
    • Kayaking or Stand-Up-Paddling at Rice Lake or White Sand Lake.
    • Exploring the Paul Bunyan Trail by bicycle or on foot. This Rail Trail has a gentle grade and there is access to it from multiple points along its 100-mile span.
    • Mountain biking the red dirt of the Cuyuna Lakes Area. Located just 10 miles east of Brainerd, Cuyuna has world-class mountain biking trails developed around reclaimed mine pits with amazing scenery.
    • Ziplining at Brainerd Zipline Tour is the most unique way to experience the fall colors. It is a 2.5 hour guided tour with seven zip lines, a suspended sky bridge, and an optional 50-foot free fall jump.
  3. Grouse Hunting—The Brainerd Area offers a variety of hunting opportunities in the fall like turkey, bear and whitetail deer, but we recommend grouse hunting. With ample state forests, wildlife management areas, and public county land available to hunters there are plenty of opportunities to hunt. For those who want a guided trip there are hunting clubs here to help. The Brainerd Area draws people from all over the world for grouse and woodcock hunting.
  4. Birding Tours—Bird watching and bird tours are a great way to get out and enjoy the natural beauty of the Brainerd Lakes Area. Add the fall colors, cooler temperatures, and fewer bugs and it is an activity that most will certainly enjoy. Our local birding tour guide will ensure that you get to the right spots at the right time to see the wonderful variety of birds in the area during the fall migration. Check out the weekly Brainerd Birding Report for sightings and tips.
  5. Visiting Pumpkin Patches and Apple Orchards—Is there anything that says autumn more than pumpkin patches and apple orchards? There are a few places to visit within 10-30 minutes of Brainerd.
    • Country Sunshine hosts a Fall Farm Market every Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. from mid-September until Halloween. Find pumpkins, apples, mums and fall planters.
    • Boysnberries Farm offers a greenhouse and pumpkin patch.
    • Gilby’s Nursery and Orchard is a short drive to Aitkin, MN, but it is worth the trip.
  6. Indoor Waterparks—Brainerd/Baxter has three of Minnesota’s best indoor waterparks. Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, Holiday Inn Express, and Rapid River lodging properties also have indoor waterparks, arcades, and other family-friendly activities on-site. The waterparks are the perfect weekend get away from the hustle and bustle of the school year routine. Or make plans to visit over Education Minnesota (formerly known as MEA) Weekend.
  7. Craft Beer and Craft Cocktails—Fall is a very fun season in the craft beer and craft cocktail world. Oktoberfest inspired beers hit the taps of local breweries and apple, pumpkin and spice flavors inspire the craft cocktail glasses. Jack Pine Brewery in Baxter, MN, is a must do. This family-friendly tap room has a variety of beers on tap and an awesome line-up of fun music and activities to enjoy. 5Rocks Distilling Co. in Brainerd, MN, is a family-owned and -operated microdistillery. Small-batch vodka, gin and whiskey are their specialty and their menu of unique drinks is phenomenal. Woodlore Cider is a small family-owned and -operated cidery committed to crafting world-class cider. There are a handful of other breweries and taprooms just a short drive from Brainerd/Baxter with locations in Crosby, Crosslake, Jenkins and Nisswa.
  8. Art, Music and Theater—Music and theater events are available all year in Brainerd but fall and winter are especially well-programmed as people head indoors during the cooler seasons. Enjoy theater productions by the Central Lakes College Community Performing Arts Community (CLCPAC) or Stage North Theater; classical music by Heartland Symphony, Lakes Area Music Festival or Legacy Chorale; and contemporary music performances courtesy of CLCPAC. The Crossing Arts Alliance has several different exhibits a year and artist-oriented events. The Franklin Arts Center artists’ studios are an interesting place to explore as well.
  9. Fall Events—From Oktoberfest at Jack Pine Brewery to racing at Brainerd International Raceway to craft fairs, there are many events to enjoy each fall in Brainerd and Baxter. Check out Visit Brainerd’s Event Calendar for all of the latest information.
  10. Halloween Events—The bookend of fall is Halloween. There are several community Trick-or-Treating events to watch for but main events include the Haunted Trail at the Northland Arboretum, Haunted Hollows and Corn Maze at This Old Farm, and the family-friendly Spooktacular event Downtown Brainerd.

With so many great things to do in Brainerd and Baxter, plan your trip today. Choose from one the community’s hotels and find all of the comforts and conveniences that your group deserves to make your Minnesota Fall Getaway one to remember.