Fall has arrived in the Driftless Region, and with it comes opportunities unique to this festive season! Whether looking for outdoor excitement among the falling leaves, or seeking a perfect place to enjoy a pumpkin latte and cozy up with a good book, we’ve wrapped up some fun activities to explore before the snow falls.
- Southwind Orchards
45440 County Rd 12
Dakota, MN 55925
Located off of scenic Apple Blossom Drive, Southwind Orchards is nestled among the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River valley, providing breathtaking views of the changing fall colors. This orchard has a large shop connected to their factory, and guests can view the apples as they roll along the conveyor belts while enjoying a sample of the orchard’s products and browse the large variety of ciders, apples, salsas, and cheese curds for sale. The orchard is open September through November annually. Visitors are invited to shop and enjoy a free sample of the apples Monday – Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, or Sunday from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Interested in taking a tour of the orchard? Simply call in advance to reserve a tour for just $4 per person! Learn about their history and get a glimpse at the orchard itself by visiting Southwind online at: southwindorchards.com.
- Corn Maze at Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center
N455 O. Ophus Road
Coon Valley, WI 54623
Nothing screams “fall” more than stomping through a field, attempting to steer your way out of a maze made of corn! For the more daring, guests can test their directional skills in the corn maze at night during one of the Flashlight Nights! The maze opens at the end of August and runs through October 27th on weekends only from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is just $5 per person. Special Flashlight Nights take place on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Located a scenic 20-minute drive outside of La Crosse, Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center offers a variety of unique fall activities in addition to the annual Corn Maze. Visit them online at Norskedalen.org for information on Ghoulees in the Coulees and the annual Pumpkin Walk – fun for the whole family!
- Oktoberfest USA
#1 Oktoberfest Strasse
La Crosse, WI 54601
For the past 53 years, Oktoberfest has been providing guests and residents of the Coulee Region authentic German fun! With two fest grounds, family can enjoy the carnival and children’s acts perfect for all ages at Copeland Park. For the older generations, experience authentic German music, food, and a variety of regional entertainers at the Southside Festgrounds in historic downtown La Crosse. Fest goers fill the streets for the annual Maple Leaf Parade, where thousands are greeted with floats, marching bands, and a plethora of candy! If that parade doesn’t fill your candy craving, make sure to check out the Torchlight Parade in La Crosse’s Old Towne North District, where houses decorate for prizes and parade participants illuminate the night with glowing objects as they march through town. The 2013 Oktoberfest is being held September 27th – October 5th. Get the full schedule of events online at Oktoberfestusa.com.
- Fall Color Scenic Drive – Great River Road
Highway 35 South of La Crosse
The Great River Road was voted the “Most Scenic National Byway” by the Huffington Post in 2013, and those of us living in the Driftless Region know exactly why! This route twists and turns along the Mississippi River, surrounded by towering limestone bluffs. In the fall, the changing colors of the trees create a whimsical route of unmatched views from any other area in the country. Passengers wind their way through sleepy river towns home to astounding restaurants known for Wisconsin delicacies (cheese curds!). Hop in your car and check it out for yourself!
- Fall Flavor – Cabin Coffee Company
401 Jay Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
After all that activity, who wouldn’t want to relax and enjoy some fall flavors? Cabin Coffee Company of La Crosse provides a quaint space in the heart of the historic downtown district where visitors can unwind. Guests can sit back, relax and sip on their mouth-watering apple cider, or try the seasonal pumpkin latte – perfect after a day exploring the city! This coffee shop offers a variety of breakfast and lunch menu items, and of course, amazing hospitality! View their menu online at cabincoffeecompany.com.