Create lifelong memories during an apple picking excursion at these superb orchards.
Few activities signal fall in America like apple picking. According to the U.S. Apple Association, approximately 240 million bushels of apples are grown each autumn, many of which are picked by visitors looking to celebrate the season. Though East Coast states like Massachusetts and Virginia have far-reaching ties to the apple industry, there are orchards around the country where foodies, families and fall enthusiasts alike can pick their own produce, enjoy hayrides, sip fresh cider and more. Read on to discover the top spots to go apple picking.
Honey Pot Hill Orchards: Stow, Massachusetts
This nearly 100-year-old orchard about 30 miles northwest of Boston grows pears, blueberries, peaches and more, but its standout product is undoubtedly its apples. Each year, visitors can pick 14 kinds of apples between late August and late December, including classic varieties like Honeycrisp and Red Delicious. Other activities, such as hayrides and mazes, are available on-site as well. You can harvest your own apples every fall from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily after purchasing a 1-peck bag (which holds about 10 pounds of apples) for $18 or a half-bushel bag (a larger option that holds roughly 21 pounds of apples) for $28.
Los Rios Rancho: Oak Glen, California
Owned and operated by the Riley family since 1906, Los Rios Rancho (which sits approximately 80 miles east of Los Angeles) offers up to 11 species of apple trees for visitor picking from August to November. There’s also an on-site eatery that serves everything from apple strudel to chicken apple sausage sandwiches. For the full Los Rios Rancho experience, consider visiting on a Saturday or Sunday when the farm offers free apple packing house tours, live music and the opportunity to press your own apple cider. Picked apples cost $3 or $3.50 per pound, depending on the variety. You can pick apples seasonally between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday.
Demarest Farms: Hillsdale, New Jersey
Situated less than 30 miles north of New York City, Demarest Farms is Bergen County’s only pick-your-own orchard for peaches, nectarines, pumpkins and apples. Fourteen varieties of the latter — including Winesap and Fuji — are available for picking from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekends from September to November. Though a $7 entrance fee is required per person, plus a $10 charge for each 1-peck bag of apples, admission covers access to two petting zoos, a picnic area, a playground and more. Visitors can also purchase fresh apple cider doughnuts and apple pies at the orchard’s farm store.
Mt. View Orchards: Mount Hood, Oregon
Overlooking Mount Hood about 80 miles east of Portland, Oregon, the 50-acre Mt. View Orchards offers pick-your-own peaches, pears and apples, though most visitors come for the latter from late August to early November. The orchard grows more than 100 kinds of apples, including Gala, Akane and Honeycrisp, some of which are showcased in homemade items like hard apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. Visitors can pick apples from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the season, and they cost 75 cents per pound.
Mercier Orchards: Blue Ridge, Georgia
If you need a break from hiking northern Georgia’s section of the Appalachian Trail, spend a day picking Muztu, Empire and other kinds of apples at Mercier Orchards. After paying the orchard’s $4 admission fee inside the market (where you can also buy apple cider and fried apple pies), you’ll enjoy a tractor ride to the groves before you pick. Standard rates for apples are $7 per half-peck bag and $14 per 1-peck bag. The orchard permits pickers on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Picking season generally lasts from mid-August to early October, though exact availability may vary each year.
Alyson’s Orchard: Walpole, New Hampshire
Alyson’s Orchard, situated 65 miles southwest of Concord, New Hampshire, features 50-plus acres of fruit-bearing trees. Apple picking varieties range from McIntosh to Paula Red to Ginger Gold, while rare heirloom apples, such as Roxbury Russet and Black Oxford, are sold alongside apple pies, jams and honey at the orchard’s farm stand. Apple lovers won’t want to miss the orchard’s Apple Festival, which takes place every September and includes an apple pie competition and apple cider-making demonstrations. The festival is free to attend, but apple picking costs $12 per peck or $20 per half-bushel. Apples are available for harvesting every day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. from mid-August through October.
Apple Holler: Sturtevant, Wisconsin
Less than 30 miles south of downtown Milwaukee, Apple Holler is a 78-acre farm operated by the Flannery family. Originally opened as a dairy farm in the early 1900s, the property now features a restaurant, seasonal activities (think: fall hayrides and winter sleigh rides), a bakery, a gift shop and fields filled with pick-your-own peaches, pears, pumpkins and apples. Apple picking season starts in early August and lasts until late October, with visitors welcome to pick between 9 a.m. and 4 or 5 p.m. daily. All pickers or groups must purchase a bag, which costs $15 to $140 each depending on the size, plus a $4 or $8 farm park ticket.
Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards: Starlight, Indiana
This Indiana property located 20 miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky, boasts 600-plus acres of orchards and vineyards. Apple picking takes place every year from late August through October. Fees start at $1.29 per pound of apples, though exact prices may vary depending on the type of apple. A $3 per person charge (which is put toward each visitor’s final purchase) also applies for riding the orchard’s wagons to and from the fields. Various apple products, ranging from apple dumplings to apple sangria to apple ice cream, are sold on-site as well.
Carter Mountain Orchard: Charlottesville, Virginia
Located 3 miles southwest of Monticello in Charlottesville, Carter Mountain Orchard appeals to foodies. You’ll find 11 types of pick-your-own apples here, as well as a store and bakery selling everything from apple butter to apple pies. There are also tasting rooms where adults can sample hard cider and wine from a local cellar and a nearby winery. Apple picking hours vary by month, but generally, visitors can pick apples from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily between late July and mid-November. Expect to pay $1.79 per pound for picked apples.
Deardorff Orchards: Waconia, Minnesota
In addition to featuring 3,000-plus trees with various kinds of pick-your-own apples, Deardorff Orchards is home to a haystack play area, farm animals and a 19th-century apple barn, where locally sourced crafts and treats like pies and caramel apples are sold. The 125-acre farm, which sits about 30 miles southwest of Minneapolis, is also home to the Parley Lake Winery tasting room, where visitors can sample varieties made from the farm’s own grapes and apples. Half-peck bags of pick-your-own apples cost $20 to $25 each, depending on the variety, and can be purchased between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends from mid-August to late October.
Shelburne Orchards: Shelburne, Vermont
This orchard situated 10 miles southwest of Burlington, Vermont, draws apple pickers in droves every September and October. Apple varieties available include McIntosh and Paula Red, and travelers can go picking between 9 a.m. and 5 or 6 p.m. during harvest season. Each pound of picked apples costs $1.75. Other kinds of apples, plus peaches, plums and sour cherries, are sold on-site. After riding the property’s tractor to the groves and gathering your fruit, visit the orchard store for apple cider doughnuts and fresh-pressed apple and ginger apple cider. Adults won’t want to miss the apple brandy tasting room, where you can sample homemade spirits for a small fee.
Terhune Orchards: Princeton, New Jersey
For apple picking near the Princeton University campus, head to Terhune Orchards. This 27-acre, family-owned farm only grows dwarf apple trees to ensure easy picking for visitors. Twelve picking varieties are available, including Golden Delicious and Stayman Winesap (a local favorite). Meanwhile, the on-site bakery sells apple cider doughnuts, apple crisp and other treats year-round, and the orchard hosts apple harvest festivals with fall-themed activities most autumn weekends. Visitors can pick apples daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Labor Day weekend through October. Prices start at $1.85 per pound; an extra $8 per person charge applies for festival entry.
Larriland Farm: Woodbine, Maryland
Within 40 miles of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Larriland Farm harvests pumpkins, beets, broccoli and, of course, apples every fall. The orchard offers multiple kinds of pick-your-own apples, available to pick from early September to early November, though exact varieties differ by month. Apple season picking hours run from 9 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Apple prices are noted on signs by each picking field. Visitors can also pay to enjoy other on-site amenities like a straw maze and weekend hayrides in late September and October. The farm sells homemade apple fritters and other snacks on Saturdays and Sundays as well.
Nashoba Valley Winery: Bolton, Massachusetts
Part-orchard, part-winery, part-brewery, part-distillery and part-restaurant, Nashoba Valley Winery is a haven for foodies. Visitors can pick McIntosh, Gala, Gravenstein and Zestar apples between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. every day in August, September and October. You can also get a taste of the local produce by trying the property’s apple vodka, apple brandy, hard apple cider and apple wine. Fees for apple picking start at $20 for each 1-peck bag, which covers admission for three individuals. A half-bushel bag (valid for five people) is available for $30. You’ll find the orchard less than 40 miles northwest of Boston in the town of Bolton.
Fishkill Farms: Hopewell Junction, New York
Head 70 miles north of New York City to find this expansive apple orchard and vegetable farm. Spread across 270 acres, Fishkill Farms offers pick-your-own apples, as well as other seasonal fruits and vegetables. During apple season, which runs from mid-August to late October, visitors can pick apple varieties like Gala, Jonamac and Pink Pearl any day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Harvested apples are charged by the weight, and a $5 admission fee applies every day except Tuesday. The farm also hosts Harvest Festival Weekends in September and October with apple cider doughnuts, hayrides, live music and more.
Stribling Orchard: Markham, Virginia
Six generations of the Stribling family have worked the land at this orchard, which grows everything from peaches to pumpkins to apples. The property has 2,500 apple trees, which grow varieties like McIntosh, Empire and Golden Delicious, and visitors can pick the fruit from mid-August to early November. The orchard sits 60 miles west of Washington, D.C., and is closed to the public on Mondays. However, pickers can harvest apples Tuesday through Sunday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. before stocking up on fresh apple cider, apple cinnamon raisin bread and apple cake at the on-site bakery. Each 1-peck bag of apples costs $15, or visitors can pay $1.50 per pound for 1 to 20 pounds of apples.
Kiyokawa Family Orchards: Parkdale, Oregon
Visitors have their choice of more than 25 types of apples to pick from late August to mid-October at this family-owned farm situated near Mount Hood National Forest in northwestern Oregon. Although you’ll be tempted to spend your entire visit collecting apples in the 25-acre orchard, save time for a snack break at the property’s fruit stand. Items sold here include apple turnovers, applesauce and fresh apple cider, all of which are made on-site. The farm also hosts annual fall festivities like the Honeycrisp Harvest event and a hard cider tasting. Visiting hours are from 9 or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and picked apples cost 69 cents to $1.99 per pound.
Eckert’s-Boyd Orchard: Versailles, Kentucky
If you’re looking for a fun fall activity near Lexington, Kentucky, venture 15 miles southwest to Eckert’s-Boyd Orchard. Every September and October, the orchard offers pick-your-own apples for $1.89 per pound. Popular varieties available for picking include Honeycrisp and Gala. You can also take advantage of farm amenities like a 90-foot slide, a haunted hayride, a corn maze and a petting zoo for an additional fee. And at the property’s country store, you’ll find autumn treats, such as apple pies, apple butter and apple cider doughnuts (a visitor favorite). The farm is open Tuesday through Sunday between 9 or 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Solebury Orchards: New Hope, Pennsylvania
On Saturdays and Sundays from late August to early November, apple lovers can travel 40 miles northeast of Philadelphia to Solebury Orchards to pick multiple kinds of apples, including Honeycrisp, Gala and Topaz. After taking a complimentary wagon ride to the trees, visitors can collect as many apples as they’d like before taking the wagon back to the market to pay. Apple picking hours are between 9 a.m. and 5 or 6 p.m., and every pound of apples costs $1.50, with the largest bags holding up to 30 pounds. The market also serves as a one-stop shop for seasonal treats like apple juice, applesauce and apple cider doughnuts.
Marker-Miller Orchards Farm Market: Winchester, Virginia
This family-owned orchard near Shenandoah National Park offers 12 varieties of apples for picking. Home to 325 acres of apple trees, the farm allows pickers to harvest apples starting from mid-August through the first week of November. Hours vary by month, but generally, visitors can pick their own apples Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30, 4:30 or 5:30 p.m., with additional hours on Sundays in September and October. Each bag of picked apples costs $8 to $18 depending on the size. Homemade items like apple cake, apple butter, apple turnovers and apple cider doughnuts can be purchased on-site as well.
Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery: Ashfield, Massachusetts
At the solar-powered Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery in northwestern Massachusetts, travelers can pick Liberty and Jonafree apples from late September through Columbus Day weekend. Though picking hours are limited to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m., this small orchard offers a plethora of amenities to supplement your visit, including hard apple cider tastings, hiking trails and a farm stand with fresh apple cider doughnuts and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, among other products. Apple picking prices range from $7 for a quarter-peck bag to $20 for a 1-peck bag.
All Seasons Orchard: Woodstock, Illinois
All Seasons Orchard is home to more than 15,000 apple trees, with varieties like Gala and Honeycrisp available for picking. If the kids are in tow, save time for a stop at the property’s Farm Market. Here, you can watch as apple cider, caramel apples and apple cider doughnuts are made. Apple picking is available daily between 10 a.m. and 5 or 6 p.m. from Sept. 1 to Nov. 4. Fees start at $8 per quarter-peck bag; the orchard also offers combo tickets that include access to other amenities, such as a 10-acre corn maze and a zip line. You’ll find the property roughly 60 miles northwest of Chicago in McHenry County.
Sky Top Orchard: Flat Rock, North Carolina
For gorgeous mountain views and plenty of apples, head to Sky Top Orchard. Located about halfway between Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina, this pick-your-own orchard offers multiple kinds of apples, including Ida Red, Cortland and Jonagold. Apple fees are posted by the trees and are calculated by weight, with each picking basket holding approximately 10 pounds of apples. At least one basket is required for every six people. Other on-property features include a barnyard, a bamboo forest, a small pond and a market. Picking hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. daily between mid-July and mid-October.
Apple Dave’s Orchards: Warwick, New York
Featuring 130 acres of land and a farmhouse built in 1700, Apple Dave’s Orchards has been growing apples since 1955. The orchard, which is located roughly 60 miles northwest of New York City, opens its fields to pickers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily between Labor Day weekend and late October. Picking varieties range from Cortland to Honeycrisp to Jonagold, and prices start at $8.50 for every full half-peck bag. On weekends, the orchard offers free kid-friendly activities like hayrides, puppet shows and live music. Additionally, visitors can pick up fresh-pressed apple cider, apple pies, apple cider doughnuts and more at the property’s store.
Applecrest Farm Orchards: Hampton Falls, New Hampshire
This fourth-generation orchard in southeastern New Hampshire is the state’s oldest and largest. Serving as inspiration for American author John Irving’s novel “The Cider House Rules,” Applecrest Farm Orchards features a 200-year-old barn, ample farm activities and rows of apple trees. Apple picking season begins in mid-August and ends in late October, though which varieties are ripe varies by month. You can pick apples any day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., with prices starting at $15 per bag. What’s more, the on-site market sells apple butter, apple wine, apple cider doughnuts and apple-scented candles.
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The 25 Top Places to Go Apple Picking Across America originally appeared on usnews.com