These nearby destinations offer lots of opportunities to enjoy the crisp air and gorgeous colors of autumn.

While summertime in Door County may be utopian, autumn can be just as enchanting (and far less busy). Rent a kayak and take in Mother Nature’s annual color display from the shoreline of Kangaroo Lake, which offers calm waters ideal for paddling.

No. 2: Galena, Illinois. Photo courtesy of

2  Take a tour and taste regional wines at an area vineyard in the river town of Galena, Illinois. Nestled in the Upper Mississippi River Valley American Viticultural Area, just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Milwaukee, the region is known for its fine Frontenac, Marechal Foch and St. Croix grapes.

3  As temperatures drop, Lake Geneva puts on a stunning display of fall’s finest colors. Plus, there are plenty of seasonal activities that make the hour-long drive worth every minute. Pick your own pumpkins, take a hayride or try to find your way out of a corn maze at one of the many local farms.

4  For an unforgettable fall color tour, drive along the 116-mile stretch of Michigan highway voted “America’s Best Scenic Autumn Drive.” The northwest Lower Peninsula’s M-22 winds past art galleries, the Lake Michigan shoreline, scenic country back roads and wineries – all of which are enhanced by blazing orange, gold and red leaves.

Climb aboard the car ferry that travels from Milwaukee to Muskegon, Michigan, where the fiery foliage of the region serves as a breathtaking backdrop for the other side of Lake Michigan. Rent a bike and explore the breweries, museums and restaurants located along the 12-mile Lakeshore Trail, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of dunes, lakes and parks.

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6  There are plenty of parks that showcase the beauty of autumn, but far fewer that offer views of a majestic waterfall. Inhale the fresh fall air as you meander through 10 miles of scenic hiking trails at Minnehaha Park, located right in Minneapolis. After you’re finished gaping at the 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, enjoy lunch in the park’s picnic area. ◆

‘Weekend Getaways’ appears in the September 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning August 28, or buy a copy at

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