Rice Lake State Park: For a quick and enjoyable weekend, head to Rice Lake in the southern portion of Minnesota. It’s a small state park but still has plenty to do. There are five boat-in campsites on the southern shore to accommodate watercraft camping. Enjoy a peaceful weekend along the lake beneath the fall colors. This park is also a wonderful destination to watch migrating waterfowl as they begin to head south for the winter.
Chippewa National Forest: In and around Chippewa National Forest are nearly endless opportunities to fish, hunt, hike, explore, canoe, and kayak. Between the national forest and the connected state forest land, there are a plethora of lakes, streams, and rivers to explore as well as connected campsites and campgrounds to launch from. Fall is a wonderful season to check the area out as campsites and campground head towards their quiet season. With plenty of relatively easy access and yet enough variety to stay busy, the Chippewa can provide a great watercraft destination for however many days you can allow.
Savannah Portage State Park: There’s only one canoe-in campsite here which is also shared with the backpacking trails. That said, no matter where you spend the night, this large state park is full of portage-in access lakes for all sorts of fishing, exploring, and paddling opportunities. This park also has canoeing history as it preserved the historic Savannah Portage which allowed passage between the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds.
St Croix: The St Croix is one of the premier paddling destinations in our state with hundreds of miles of open paddling and plenty of public land with a wide array of camping opportunities. Fall can be a challenging time to access the water trails system as low water can reduce navigability. Always check conditions before attempting to paddle a river route. The southern section is the best bet for paddleable water if fall water levels are low. In any case, brilliant fall colors combined with the high ridges outlining the St Croix Valley is an experience not to be missed.