If there’s one thing Midwesterners love, it’s the captivating change of seasons they can enjoy every year. While every season certainly has its own allure, there’s just something about the Fall that makes it stand out. Fall in the Midwest is awesome.
Of course, you might think that Fall is a tantalizing time of year pretty much anywhere, and that’s true. However, there’s really just something so special about spending this beautiful and charming season in the Midwest. Picturesque landscapes, warm and comforting treats, as well as some of the region’s most anticipated and beloved local events, are just part of what makes Fall in the Midwest so breathtaking.
10. The Long-Awaited Cool-Down
Midwest summers can get pretty warm and, some weeks, downright hot. The Farmer’s Almanac for 2023 predicted sizzling temperatures throughout the Midwest for 2023, and their predictions for 90s and even 100s in some places proved mostly true. Unlike other places in the country, September continues nice and warm in the Midwest. As a result, the change to Fall weather is a welcome time of the year for Midwesterners.
No longer having to worry about air-conditioning homes, Fall and October is a time to open up the windows and break out those comforting hoodies you’ve been dreaming of for weeks.
9. Break Out the Camping Gear
In the Fall, there’s nothing quite like pitching a tent and unrolling the sleeping bags for a camping trip. The Midwest is filled with exceptional camping areas that take the entire experience to new levels.
Badlands National Park in South Dakota is a stunning 244,000-acre reserve filled with beautiful landscapes, wonderful wildlife, and some of the country’s most incredible night-sky views.
Or, if you’re hoping for more of a waterfront experience, you could check out Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. Here, the true beauty of nature will absolutely engulf you while you take in local wonders, including a sandstone bridge, quartzite bluffs, and, of course, the 360-acre lake in the middle of the park.
8. Hiking and Biking
While you might think of hiking and biking as summer excursions, taking advantage of the unbelievable local trails is a much more popular fall pastime in the Midwest. Making the most of the lower temperatures and breathtaking views is truly an adventure every time you go through some of these trails.
The High Trestle Trail in Iowa is widely considered the shining star of the state’s trail system. Cyclists feel as if they’re descending into one of the state’s historic coal mines as they make their way past 41 spiraling steel frames lining the Des Moines River Valley.
Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota is a 300-mile trek stretching from the Canadian border to Wisconsin. While this may seem like a lot, the trails take visitors through some of the most pristine wilderness in the country. Even if you don’t plan on embarking on the entire hike, enjoying a section of this exquisite trail is guaranteed to be life-changing.
7. Make Your Way Through a Corn Maze
There is really nothing that screams Fall in the Midwest quite like a corn maze. Spending a crisp afternoon finding your way through these winding activities will make you feel like a kid again. Luckily, the region has several of the country’s best mazes.
Pinter’s Gardens and Pumpkins in Decorah, Iowa, is considered a seasonal must for anyone living in the surrounding area. They offer one of the most fun corn mazes around, a pick-your-own apple orchard, and a world-class bakery that will entice every tastebud.
What could possibly scream Fall more than apple cider, pumpkins, and corn mazes? At the Louisburg Cider Mill in Louisburg, Kansas, that’s exactly what you’ll find. This family-friendly farm hosts several local bands and food trucks every weekend, making it a great place to spend a fall afternoon.
6. Colors, Colors, and More Colors
Mother Nature is really in all her glory when it comes to Fall in the Midwest. Brilliant reds, sunny yellows, and comforting oranges are just a few of the colors that make up this seasonal foliage. While you can certainly find exquisite views just by driving down one of the state highways, there are so many places throughout the region where you can take in these unbelievable sights at their peak.
Door County in Wisconsin is widely recognized as one of the best fall viewing destinations in the Midwest. With a picturesque peninsula that extends from Green Bay to Lake Michigan, visitors are guaranteed captivating views, especially if they visit in the second week of October.
5. Farm Fresh Produce
The Midwest and Farming go hand in hand. There’s nothing quite like making your way down to the local farmstand to pick up a range of freshly picked produce right from the farmers themselves. Pumpkins, corn, and warm apple donuts just out of the fryer are just a few of the wondrous treats you’ll find at many Midwest farm stands. Uncle Bill’s Farm in Grinnell, Iowa, and Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in Gretna, Nebraska, are two of the region’s most beloved Fall stops.
4. Frolicking Through Festivals
For Midwesterners, a wonderful Fall Festival is almost like the last hurrah of the year. In this region, Fall time is fair time. Livestock competitions, mouthwatering treats, and a whirlwind of fun and exciting rides are just a few reasons these fairs have become such regional staples. Here are just a few of the most beloved and anticipated fall festivals you really shouldn’t miss.
- Junkstock, Waterloo, Nebraska
- Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup, South Dakota
- Neewolah, Independence, Kansas
- Moose Madness Family Festival, Grand Marais, Minnesota
3. The Best Time for Coffee
When it comes to Fall in the Midwest, there is no better time for coffee. Coffee plays a huge role in the midwestern lifestyle, with locals enjoying a fresh up almost any time of day. The warm, comforting flavors and crisp, cool outdoors are perfect for pique coffee consumption.
Bean Broker Coffee House in Chadron, Nebraska, offers a charming atmosphere to enjoy its rich and bold beverages. Horizon Line Coffee, a local fall staple in Des Moines, Iowa, is a local Fall staple. Offering a more artistic approach to coffee, they offer a seasonal menu in addition to their standard staples that will tempt your tastebuds.
2. Tailgating at its Best
There is no denying that Midwesterners love their football. But what might be even more of a heartfelt fall tradition is tailgating. Truly a quintessential American experience, tailgates are filled with some of the best football food around. Crispy hot dogs, gooey sliders, and nachos in a bag are just some of the treats you’ll find at these incredible events.
1. The Most Comforting Meals
Midwesterners love a great meal, and when it comes to the Fall in the Midwest, the food just goes above and beyond. The cooler weather and beautiful scenic views make it the best time of year to enjoy some of the region’s favorite comforting dishes. Braised short ribs, melt-in-your-mouth meatloaf, and spiced apple pies are just a few of the delectable delights found throughout many Midwest kitchens this time of year.
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