The Best Places in the U.S. to Go Apple-Picking this Fall
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Now that autumn has arrived, it’s the season for fall fun. Whether you’re looking for an apple orchard best for family and kids, or just one with the best hayride, corn maze, cider, donuts and other treats, we’ve got you covered. Where are the best places to go apple-picking? Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of the best places in the U.S. to go apple-picking this fall.
where to go for the best apple-picking in apple orchards across the U.S. this fall
Fall is here, which means it’s time for one of our favorite fall activities – apple picking! People sometimes go apple picking too late in the season, like in October or November. The best time to go is early to mid-September, when the orchards are really in their prime.
And as we all know, there is so much more to apple picking than the juicy red (or green, or golden!) fruit. We’ve got corn mazes, hayrides, cider stalls and more in the mix.
Some apple-picking locations are perfect for kids and families – some of the trees have low branches so that the little ones can reach them.
But you don’t have to have a pint-sized companion to have a great autumn outing picking apples. The best apple orchards are also great places for an afternoon in the countryside with friends, or for a first date, or even for an outing with your posse from work. Some have apple brandy, gourmet food trucks, and well-stocked produce markets, making them perfect for foodies on the prowl.
All you need for a great day of apple-picking – in addition to the right companions – is a clear sky, sturdy shoes, and an adventurous spirit. When you’re ready, here are fifteen of the best places to go apple picking around the United States.
the best places in the u.s. to go apple-picking
1. Country Line Orchard, Hobart, Indiana
Country Line Orchard is the kind of place where you can expect to make memories that will last you all year long. Not only are there an enormous variety of apples available for picking. There is also pumpkin picking, sunflower picking, and even bee yurts where you can gather your own honey.
There are campfires available to rent, and a small petting zoo – perfect for a child’s autumn birthday. While you’re there, enjoy a corn maze, a hayride, and some of the best cider donuts you have ever tasted. And you may want to stick around to sample some lunch from the grill.
2. Applecrest Orchards, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire
Applecrest Orchards is the oldest continuously operating orchard in the US. And the largest one in all of New Hampshire.At the turn of the century, an “apple train” would run weekly all the way from Boston, so that people could come and collect their produce. The orchard also grows berries, peaches, corn, pumpkins and other seasonal fruits and vegetables year-round.
Go to experience the glorious scenery, drink some spiced cider and gobble up some of the market’s fall-themed delicacies. Applecrest is also home to a regular series of events and festivals, concerts, pie-eating contests, barbecues and carnivals. (p.s. Don’t miss the Harvest Festival, from September 4th to September 6th.)
3. Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne, Vermont
Every September, Shelburne Orchards rises from its slumber to offer an immense selection of pick-your-own apples to their very happy customers. Expect hayrides and donuts of course, but also a tasting room for the orchard’s own signature apple brandy.
And if you are interested in growing your own apples (or plums!) Shelburne offers trees for sale, so you can recreate some of the magic in your own yard! Picking starts on August 27th, and the Orchard Store opens on September 9th.
4. Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Stow, Massachusetts
The perfect place to host an epic birthday party or wedding, Honey Pot Hill Orchards has it all. Hayrides, mazes, pick-your-own fruit, and for anyone with a sweet tooth, some of the best caramel apples and cider donuts you will ever try.
Pick pears as well as apples, and come back in the summertime to pick up some blueberries. You will also be thrilled to know that an array of adorable barn animals take up residence on the farm, so you can also plan to spend some time with sheep, goats, bunnies, and baby chicks.
5. Lynd Fruit Farm, Pataskala, Ohio
As well as offering apples, Lynd Fruit Farm also grows berries, peaches and pumpkins for your enjoyment. Their market comes fully stocked with all your favorite fall treats, such as homemade salsas, dressings, butters and so much more. Come for the day and leave with enough fresh food to keep you snacking throughout the week.
And of course, there are fabulous corn mazes and hayrides to entertain the whole family during your visit. New this year? Lynd’s apple cannons, which are available by reservation only.
6. Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard, Nebraska City, Nebraska
Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard is more than just a place to pick apples. It is also an educational facility, offering hands-on, immersive learning experiences for children in the community. Little ones can learn all about agriculture, climate and soil while they spend time in the luscious orchard.
Also on site are a nature walk and large playground, transforming kimmel’s taking this from an orchard to a full fall experience.
7. Bishop’s Orchards, Guilford, Connecticut
Scenic Guilford is home to Bishop’s Orchards, an enormous orchard of apples and pears. Climb aboard a hayride, traverse the corn maze, and then spend some time playing with the barnyard animals.
Before you go, make sure to stop in the enormous market, which has plants, pumpkins and decorations available for purchase. There is also a gourmet food truck on hand serving lunch, which makes this a place you can spend the whole day. Bring the whole family and enjoy.
8. Apple Holler, Sturtevant, Wisconsin
Apple Holler is much more than an orchard – it’s a farm, a restaurant, a bakery, and a place that brings the community together. Owned by the Flannery family for more than 78 years, Apple Holler is proud to host weddings, birthday parties and other events.
Pick up a juicy pie from the shop, snap some pictures on the goat bridge, and take a ride down their giant slide. Then come back around Christmas time, when they host plenty of North Pole-friendly events.
9. Pine Tree Apple Orchard, White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Pine Tree Apple Orchard is the place to experience fall in all of its glory! They offer pony rides, wagon rides, and corn mazes, all of which will help you to make the most of the season this year.
Besides picking some first-rate apples, visit the bakery to enjoy all manner of fruit-based desserts – from pies, to cakes, to fruit-filled breads. Make sure to plan a return for their annual fall tennis match.
10. Plymouth Orchard and Cider Mills, Plymouth, Michigan
Originally opened in 1977 as a cider mill, Plymouth Orchard and Cider Mills is now home to a fully functioning pick-your-own orchard. As well as offering apples, cider and desserts – including fresh pies, cider donuts, and sticky candy apples – they also provide an assortment of recipes, to help you decide what to do with your apples once you have brought them home.
They want to help you make their orchard a part of your day-to-day life, and so they also offer their facilities for rent, as well as a package of cider and donuts for you to take to your next office event (think Dunkin’s Box of Joe and a dozen donuts, but a million times better). Farm animals and live music seal the deal, making this orchard one of our top picks.
11. Evans Orchard and Cider Mill (Georgetown, Kentucky)
After five generations of business, you know that Evans Orchard and Cider Mill has got a few things figured out. And when we say a few things, we mean everything. As well as top-notch pick-your-own fruits, vegetables, and flowers, Evans offers a fresh produce market, apple cider slushies, fried apple pies, and all the fall activities you know and love. (Plus more – we’ve never heard of an ”apple cider slider” or “apple jump pad” before, but we’re excited to find out what they are.)
Check out the full list of “farm fun,” and make sure to save time for lunch at Sweet Apple Café.
12. Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard (North Salem, New York)
New Yorkers, take note! Harvest Moon is less than ninety minutes from the city, and you absolutely don’t want to miss out.
As well as some stunning views, the North Salem orchard has cider donuts (and cider itself), pies for sale, barbecue lunch, and more. If you’re a New Yorker and you’re craving a scenic fall getaway, this is your spot.
13. Kiyokawa Family Orchards (Parkdale, Oregon)
Of course, some people are more interested in the Instagram part of apple picking than the apples themselves. And that’s fine! But if you’re in this for the actual fruit, then Kiyokawa Family Orchards should be your destination.
They’ve been growing some of the country’s best produce since 1911, and their 150 varieties of fruit – which live at the base of beautiful Mt. Hood – drink only the finest glacier water. Their taste is like nothing else. And if you can’t get enough, check out their full line of jams, honeys, and ciders.
14. Sky Top Orchard (Henderson County, North Carolina)
Sky Top is one of the top orchards in the country, and we can see why. They are already open for apple business, picking Honeycrisp, Gala, MacIntosh and Gingergold apples – and selling fudge, hot cider donuts, kettle corn, and jams on the side.
Soak up the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, then have some fun playing with the barnyard animals, firing the apple cannon, and wandering the nature walk. New this year is the “gem mining,” attraction which sounds like a whole lot of fun.
15. Los Rios Rancho (Yucaipa, California)
The apples have arrived! It’s fall at Los Rios Rancho, and you know what that means – yes, u-pick fruit, but also, a cider tasting room, a coffee house, a grill, movies on the green, and plenty of other autumn events and amenities.
Los Rios Rancho is so much more than an orchard, and it’s the place you’ll want to spend some real time soaking in the season.
best places and apple orchards for an apple-picking outing this fall
That’s our take on some of the best apple orchards and most fun apple-picking activities in the U.S. Which orchard’s your local favorite?
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Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.