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11 Best Apple Picking Orchards To Visit This Fall

Around this time of year, many families begin planning trips to pumpkin patches to celebrate the spirit of the season. But there’s another type of produce that has become synonymous with fall that deserves celebration, too. Apple orchards offer families a great way to cherish nostalgic traditions while supporting their local farmers. Crisp and juicy apples are the perfect complement to fall weather, not to mention apple cider and apple pie!

Many of the apple-growing orchards in America don’t offer opportunities to pick your own apples, which makes the ones that do extra special. These orchards tend to be small family-owned operations that make a significant part of their income from agrotourism and local supporters who value home-grown, healthy food. Some apple orchards have gone organic to help environmentally conscious consumers enjoy this favorite fruit without fear of pesticides and chemicals. Meanwhile, others grow specialty apples that you can’t find in your average supermarket.

From coast to coast and everywhere in between, here are some of the top apple-picking orchards to visit this fall.

Kiyokawa Family Orchards – Parkdale, Oregon Kiyokawa Family Orchards
Credit: Kiyokawa Family Orchards by Kiyokawa Family Orchards

Kiyokawa Family Orchards – Parkdale, Oregon

Based in the Hood River Valley, Kiyokawa Family Orchards has been growing produce since 1911 and offering visitors a wide selection with lovely views of Mount Hood ever since. It has the largest U-pick orchard in the valley, and the fruit stand is open seven days a week. Many varieties of apples and pears are grown on these 207 acres, and fall events feature fruit desserts, Fiesta Days, and hard cider tastings. When you visit the fruit stand, bring your own bags or containers to help keep the orchard’s prices low.

Sky Top Orchard – Flat Rock, North Carolina Sky Top Orchard
Credit: Sky Top Orchard by Sky Top Orchard

Sky Top Orchard – Flat Rock, North Carolina

Sky Top Orchard is located in the mountains of western North Carolina and is famous for its U-pick orchards. It is in a beautiful setting with orchard ponds, a barnyard with animals, tractor-pulled rides, a bamboo forest, and fruit trees on a mountaintop. In addition to apples, this orchard offers pumpkins, apple cider, and delicious apple cider doughnuts, too. If you want to beat the crowds, plan to visit the orchard on a Monday. It’s open to the public from August to December. The U-pick season runs from August to late October. There is no admission fee to visit, and parking is free. Popular attractions nearby are the Biltmore Estate, Chimney Rock, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Johnson Orchards – Yakima, Washington Johnson Orchards
Credit: Johnson Orchards by Johnson Orchards

Johnson Orchards – Yakima, Washington

Johnson Orchards has U-pick opportunities, but they sometimes end early in the season. You can find honey crisp, gala, and other varieties in the warehouse, as well as a great selection of pears. Cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums are available in the summer. This is a historic orchard that was established over 100 years ago in the lovely Yakima Valley. There’s also a bakeshop here that makes fresh baked goods every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Curtis Orchard – Champaign, Illinois Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch
Credit: Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch by Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch

Curtis Orchard – Champaign, Illinois

Located in East Central Illinois, Curtis Orchard’s history dates back to 1873, and it started growing apples in the summer of 1980. The orchard updates its website every 24 hours to let visitors know what apples are ready for picking. Additional varieties of apples can be purchased in the store. This is also a pumpkin patch so that you can get in your two fall fun activities in one place! Other onsite activities include a goat petting zoo, munchkin land, a slingshot gallery, horse-drawn wagon rides, pony rides, a corn maze, a giant slide, and an obstacle course.

Apple Dave’s Orchards – Warwick, New York Apple Dave's Orchards
Credit: Apple Dave's Orchards by Apple Dave's Orchards

Apple Dave’s Orchards – Warwick, New York

This orchard used to be called Applewood Orchards but changed its name to Apple Dave’s Orchards to honor its founder, who passed away in 2014. There are lots of things to see and do at Apple Dave’s Orchards, including apple picking, wagon rides, puppet shows, a walking trail, face painting, and fresh apple doughnuts. There are no fees for admission, parking, or entertainment here; you only pay for the picking bags for the apples you want to take home. Different apples are available for picking in September and October.

Los Rios Rancho – Yucaipa, California Los Rios Rancho
Credit: Los Rios Rancho by Los Rios Rancho

Los Rios Rancho – Yucaipa, California

Los Rios Rancho is located in the Oak Glen agricultural community, and it’s the largest apple farm operating in Southern California. It has been in business since 1906 and become famous for seasonal fruit picking, slow-cooked meats, fresh baked goods, and country dances. There are several hundred heirloom fruit trees and over 10,000 apple trees with 32 varieties. The ranch has a number of festive fall activities, including apple cider pressing and wagon and hay rides. Other fun events throughout the year include Frontier Tours, where you learn about 19th-century farm life, Movies on the Green, Draft Horse Driving Class, and more. Pumpkins are also grown on the farm for picking in October and November.

Alyson’s Orchard – Walpole, New Hampshire Alyson's Orchard
Credit: Alyson's Orchard by Alyson's Orchard

Alyson’s Orchard – Walpole, New Hampshire

This is a 450-acre orchard in historic New England that hosts many weddings and events all throughout the year. In the fall, you can come pick your own fruit and enjoy the seasonal offerings at the farm stand, including apple pies and apple cider. Make a whole weekend out of this orchard visit by staying at the rustic lodge or the restored 1860s farmhouse. Alyson’s Orchard makes an excellent weekend getaway from Boston, Hartford, and Manchester. In addition to apples, this orchard grows blueberries and raspberries, which you can pick in the summer, as well as peaches, plums, and pears. There are more than 50 varieties, including many heirloom apples.

Deardorff Orchards - Waconia, Minnesota Deardorff Orchards
Credit: Deardorff Orchards by Deardorff Orchards

Deardorff Orchards - Waconia, Minnesota

Founded in 1982, this orchard grows ten varieties of apples on more than 3,000 trees. Visit Deardorff Orchards in the fall through October 31 on Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can pick your own apples or stop by the apple barn to purchase apple bags. Apple varieties you can pick include McIntosh, Zestar, Haralson, and Honeycrisp, and they’re available in the apple barn cooler. There’s no admission fee, and the orchard is dog-friendly too. The Parley Lake Winery is also here and offers music on weekends. It grows five varieties of cold-weather grapes, and the winery is located in an 1888 rustic barn. Other activities are red wagon rides and a haystack for kids and friendly farm animals.

Stribling Orchard – Markham, Virginia Stribling Orchard
Credit: Stribling Orchard by Stribling Orchard

Stribling Orchard – Markham, Virginia

Six generations of Striblings have been farming the land here, and the orchard specializes in apples, peaches, pumpkins, and apple cider. Stribling Orchard is a great place to come enjoy the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s open from late July through early November, Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are about 30 acres of apple trees here, and you can find a list of what apple varieties are available to pick and prices on the orchard’s website. To learn more about the farm’s operations, consider booking a tour.

Mercier Orchards - Blue Ridge, Georgia Mercier Orchards
Credit: Mercier Orchards by Mercier Orchards

Mercier Orchards - Blue Ridge, Georgia

Now in its fourth generation, Mercier Orchards is a family-owned and operated apple orchard that dates back to 1943. It’s well known for its U-pick events, bakery, deli, market store, and farm winery. The ciders here are fully produced right here. To pick your own apples, you’ll hop on a tractor ride to get to the orchard. Apple varieties grown here include Ambrosia, Arkansas Black, Beni Shogun, Blondee, Braeburn, Cameo, and more. The orchard is also a popular place in Georgia for weddings.

Brightonwoods Orchard – Burlington, Wisconsin Brightonwoods Orchard
Credit: Brightonwoods Orchard by Brightonwoods Orchard

Brightonwoods Orchard – Burlington, Wisconsin

Unlike many of the other orchards listed here, Brightonwood Orchard is not a U-pick orchard, but it does have over 200 apple varieties and allows visitors to roam throughout the orchards and nearby wooded trails. This orchard makes an excellent weekend excursion from Chicago or Milwaukee. It’s open in the fall through mid-late November and also offers delicious Wisconsin cheese, honey, jams, jellies, and caramel apples. There’s a treehouse for kids to play in, and the AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery produces small-batch cider and spirits.

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