Just because summer is drawing to a close doesn’t mean you have to hole up inside and live like a hermit until spring. That is, unless you want to, but if you’re looking to get outside and enjoy our beautiful fall weather, here are a few ideas to help you out.

Cozy sweaters, snuggly scarves, the taste of spice, the smell of leaves, slightly flushed cheeks; I am a summer girl, but the nice fall weather days are just intoxicting. The colors are warm and bright, the sun takes on that great hue and you just want to get outside and do…something. Grab the kids and head to the orchard!

You can make a whole day of it, actually and you don’t have to go far. Central Minnesota has a few really great places to go pick apples. Jack’s Apple Farm in Sauk Rapids has have a farmer’s market, fresh baked breads and seasonal pies. Hidden Cove Orchard in Cold Spring boasts apple and pear picking plus baked goods and a cute gift shop. Their Fall Apple Tyme Festival happens every year the first weekend in October featuring fruit, home grown veggies, pies, dumplings, horse drawn wagon rides and live music. Collegeville Orchards in St. Joseph is also a fantastic spot to bring the family. They have an apple orchard, a pumpkin patch, wagon rides and a petting zoo.

Pumpkin picking is also a fun outdoor activity. A lot of local apple orchards also offer a pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkin. It’s a great way to get the kids outdoors and let them burn off some energy.

If you want to leave the kids behind and do a more romantic date, head to Millner Heritage Vineyard and Winery in Kimball. It’s a European style winery that offers vineyard tours and wine tasting. The first weekend in October, they have their annual Oktoberfest Grape Stomp. Here’s the best part: Miller Heritage Vineyard and Winery is also on The Value Connection!

Fall festivals are also a big hit when it comes to family fun. The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Fall Festival is a family friendly event going on September 29. There’s bird watching, arts and crafts, nature walks, silent auction, bonfire and more. Snacks and refreshments are availble for a nominal fee, but admission is free. The Millstream Arts Festival is on September 30 in St. Joseph celebrating the diverse art community in central Minnesota. There will be live music, entertainment, food and beverages and horse drawn trolley rides. Albany Pioneer Days is going on this weekend with a flea market, kids activities and food vendors.

Check out some of our favorite places for fall colors around Central Minnesota!

What is it about fall that you're most looking forward to?