Directions, Lodging and Weather
The International Festival of Owls takes place throughout the town of Houston, Minnesota (and the banquet is in Caledonia, Minnesota). All you need to do is get to Houston and follow the signs posted around town to get to where you need to go.
The closest airport is located in La Crosse, Wisconsin (LSE), 24 miles (40 minutes) east of Houston. Hertz and Avis both rent cars at the terminal, but be aware there are no buses or trains that come to Houston, and taxis must be called. Connecting flights to La Crosse come through Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), and Detroit (DTW) airports.
From the west: Follow I-90 East to exit 258 (the Houston exit.) Take Highway 76 south 14 miles to Houston. Or exit I-90 at Dexter (exit 193) and take Highway 16 seventy miles to Houston following the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway.
From the south: From Decorah, Iowa take W-38 (Locust Road) north. It will turn into County Road 8 at the Minnesota border. Turn right (east) onto Highway 44 and go almost to Spring Grove. Turn left (north) onto County Road 4. Continue until you come to a stop sign at Highway 76 and turn left (north). Follow Highway 76 into Houston. 42 miles, 60+ minutes
From the east: Follow I-90 West to exit 275 (at Dresbach) to Highway 14 E/Highway 61 S. Go straight at the stoplights in La Crescent, Minnesota to get on Highway 16 (Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway). Continue 18 miles to Houston.
From the north: From Minneapolis/St. Paul take Highway 52 south. Just south of Rochester turn left onto I-90 East. Go 40 miles, then take exit 258 (Houston exit). Go south on Highway 76 fourteen miles to Houston.
Houston can offer a surprising variety of lodging options for such a small town.
*Loken's Sawwmill Inn and Suites - Awarded MN Lodging Association's 2010 Property of the Year (50 rooms or fewer)
*The Bunkhouse - good for a casual group that likes a rustic feel
Money Creek Buffalo Ranch - cabin
Money Creek Retreat - a whole three bedroom house
Outback Ranch - cabins
This is Minnesota...the weather can do anything! We've had everything from record snowfall, blizzard conditions and high temperatures well below freezing leading up to the Festival of Owls in 2007 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C) and sunny the last day of the festival in 2005. "Average" high temperatures in early March are 34 F (1 C) and average lows are 15 F (-9 C). Please check the weather reports before you come so you have an idea what to expect. And don't forget to dig out your long underwear, warmest coat, mittens, and a toasty hat if you plan to go on one of the owl prowls.
We are located in the beautiful Root River Valley, with lots of hills around us. This means cell phone reception can be spotty, and not all carriers have towers in the area. AT&T phones do not work in Houston. Verizon gives the best coverage.