Best Destinations for Apple Picking
Nothing says fall like a trip to an apple orchard. Luckily for Americans, there are apple orchards aplenty to visit across the country.
Of course, apple picking is the name of the game here, which means you can spend as much or as little time harvesting apples to take home. For those less inclined to work, all 10 of these best destinations for apple picking offer a wide variety of other fall festivities. From hayrides to corn mazes to cider sipping, you'll find everything you need for that quintessential autumn day.
Just don't forget your camera.
10. Los Rios Rancho, California
Location: Oak Glen
The Riley family has been in the business of growing things since 1906. While they only grow about 11 varieties, Los Rio Rancho's proximity to Los Angeles makes it a perfect place for a fun day trip. After picking apples, try your hand at pressing apple cider. If you need a break, you can relax at the restaurant, where you can indulge in creative apple-flavored foods.
9. Ochs Orchard, New York
The town of Warwick loves few things more than it loves apple season. One of the main events of the year is Applefest, a town-wide celebration that happens annually in October. But if you can't make it to the festival, you can still enjoy apple activities at Ochs Orchard. Besides apples, you can pick pumpkins, potatoes and other vegetables. Make sure you also visit the onsite cider mill at this fourth-generation family farm. And don't even think about leaving without trying the homemade ice cream.
8. Jollay Orchards, Michigan
Owned by the Jollay family since 1857, this farm is a staple of the town of Coloma. Pick-your-own-apple activities are offered in September and October. The whole season is also Harvest Festival at Jollay Orchards. Fun things to do like hayrides, a large corn maze, a haunted house and an animal farm will keep people of all ages entertained for hours.
7. Apple Annie's Orchard, Arizona
Yes, apples can grow in Arizona. For proof, you just need to visit Apple Annie's where you can pick 10 varieties of apples as well as peaches and pears. Because of the weather, there are strains that are ready for harvest as early as July, so you don't have to wait for fall to join in the fun. As the largest orchard in Arizona, you'll also enjoy walking through rows of fruit trees or getting lost in its intricate corn maze.
6. Stribling Orchard, Virginia
Stribling Orchard has been feeding people for over 200 years. Come to see its more than 2,500 apple trees and look for the juiciest fruits. Picnicking here is a pleasure, as you'll have privileged views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Kids also love visiting the animals that call the farm home.
5. Shelburne Orchards, Vermont
Everyone knows that Vermont is one of the best fall destinations in the country. For farm-related fun, head to Shelburne Orchards, not far from Burlington. You'll find two apple varieties, MacIntosh and Paula Red, as well as amazingly delicious cider donuts. But what really earns this farm a high spot on this list is it also offers homemade apple brandy. Make sure you give it a taste.
4. Aamodt's Apple Farm, Minnesota
Known for its perfectly sweet and juicy Honeycrisp apples, Aamodt's Apple Farm is a family-owned enterprise you'll be happy to support. While kids enjoy the homemade sweet cider, parents can take a sip of the farm's signature hard cider, Thor. Aamodt's is also set apart by having its own vineyard, which offers wine tastings and tours. Now, that's an apple-picking experience you don't find often.
3. Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard, North Carolina
Located near Asheville, Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard offers so many fall activities, you'll probably want to visit multiple times. Of course, apple picking is a must, with varieties like Fuji, Jonagold and Shizuka there for the taking. There is also a 5-acre corn maze, wagon rides and a jump pad. Bad apples are sent to the apple cannon station, where you can use them to test your luck at hitting targets.
2. Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Massachusetts
Operating from late August to early December, Honey Pot Hill Orchards has a longer apple-picking season than most farms. Fourteen apple varieties that grow over 186 acres will keep you busy for an entire day. After harvesting, go on a hay ride or sit back and enjoy caramel apples or a delicious hot cider — the rewards for your hard work.
1. Mt. View Orchards, Oregon
Location: Mount Hood
The absolute best place to go apple picking is somewhat unexpected, given that it's in the Pacific Northwest rather than New England. And while Mt. View Orchards might not be the conventional pick, we stand by our choice. The main defining factor for its crown is its unmatched view of Mount Hood, which stands majestically in the backdrop. The farm actively uses sustainable farming practices for its 125 apple varieties. You can also pick peaches, blueberries, pears, pumpkins and more. Hard cider, cider doughnuts, hayrides and farm animals also combine to make for a perfect fall day.