Do you feel the sweater weather and fall colors drawing you outdoors? That’s because your body and spirit can feel the long, cold winter coming, and they want to soak up the sun and sky before it’s shut up for months.
Indulge yourself at these St. Louis attractions that offer fabulous fall adventures at reasonable prices (several are even free!)
Trout Lodge in Potosi
If you have a family, you owe it to yourselves to check out Trout Lodge. This lakeside resort in Potosi, MO is owned by the YMCA and offers all-inclusive weekend fun for families.
On the property, kids (and parents) are free to check out a bike, or a funyak, or a sailboat, or participate in all sorts of planned activities.
Activities, family lodging and meals are all included in one price (and extras, like horseback riding or ziplining are clearly marked as such). The kids even get to eat from a child-size buffet with kid-friendly foods!
Pere Marquette State Park
It’s a fall tradition to drive up the Great River Road on the Illinois side of the river to enjoy the fall color on the bluffs. Pere Marquette (not Pierre: Marquette was a priest, Pere means Father) State Park is the usual end point of this Autumn pilgrimage. The park offers hiking, a restaurant, and horseback riding (you’ll need to make reservations ahead of time).
Be sure to stop in Grafton on your way up or down for a riverside drink, dinner, antique shopping, or adventures like parasailing over the river.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
The giant, modern sculptures at Laumeier Sculpture Park — combined with free admission, lovely wooded paths, and picnic tables — make it a terrific family or date destination. The wooded paths even offer a series of interactive sculptures especially for dogs! If you like fall festivals, check out the Harvest Festival on October 20.
Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden is an absolute wonderland when the tree colors are turning. Be sure to visit the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden (we have one of the largest in North America) and the English Woodland Garden.
Did you know the Botanical Garden has a huge play area for children? Or that in October, the Garden hosts the Best of Missouri Market, Fest of Ale, and other events?
Lone Elk Park
Lone Elk Park is one of St. Louis’s greatest treasures. Right in the heart of Kirkwood, off Highway 44, is this amazing wildlife reserve where you can hike in the woods around a lake and observe elk, deer and other animals roaming freely in their natural habitat (don’t approach the elk too closely!)
There’s also a bison area, but you need to stay in your car for that part. Keep your eyes open for the new baby bison born last spring!
Bring a picnic (tables are provided) and a camera, and wear a hat and some insect repellent. Ticks are a problem here. Admission is free!
The Boathouse at Forest Park
Looking for a relaxed evening to spend with that special someone? The Boathouse sits on the lake and offers delectable foods and live music on the deck on weekends. Rent a paddleboat and explore the lake if you like, or just enjoy a drink, some music, and a gorgeous view of the park. On cool evenings, pull your chair close to one of the fire pits.