What’s more fun than a barrel of apples? (Photo: Noah Clayton/Photodisc/Getty Images)
By Christine Coppa
What’s not to love about Fall? Hoodies, pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn and of course apple picking. There’s no better way to kick this season off then a trek through a lush orchard at a U-Pick farm with family and friends. But, with so many farms out there, it can be hard to decide where to visit to score your apple loot. Here, a list of 10 U-Pick farms that not only offer a variety of sweet, crunchy, honey-licious apples to pluck straight from the trees, but also other Fall-fun activities, fresh markets and bakeries, wine vineyards and beers, plus tons of hands-on entertainment for the kids.
New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington are the top four apple-producing states, but that didn’t stop us from investigating orchards all over the country.
Go on grab an apple, any apple. (Photo: Jon Seidman/Flickr)
1. Linvilla Orchards, Media, Pennsylvania
Start your day apple picking from a sweet selection that includes every type of apple imaginable — Honeycrisp, Gala, McIntosh, Jonamac, Smokehouse, Cortland, Empire, and more. Next, enjoy a spooky hayride to the farm’s creepy witch’s house, followed by a toasty bonfire. Be sure to stop at Pumpkinland to view larger-than-life figures and scarecrows that illustrate the legends and allure of the harvest season, local history, and storytelling.
Grab your flannel and bring the family to the farm. (Photo: Zlatko Unger/Flickr)
2. Mercier Orchards, Blueridge, Georgia
This U-pick orchard hosts a mixed bag of apples, such as Ambrosia, Blondie, Ginger Gold, and many more. But it’s not just about picking. They have an apple cannon that is designed to shoot apples at targets (not your friends and family). You can also enjoy a tractor ride and take in beautiful mountain views. And don’t leave without purchasing the best dark chocolate fudge apple you’ll ever taste.
This hedge maze is vaguely terrifying. (Photo: Honey Pot Hill Orchards/Facebook)
3. Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Stow, Massachusetts
This orchard is jam-packed with rows of lush green trees dotted with 30 different kinds of apples. They also have great activities for kids, including a big green monster hedge maze, barnyard animals, and hayrides. You’ll be smelling fresh-pressed apple cider for days. The Appleshop also sells homemade jams, jellies, and honey; doughnuts and pies; and garden veggies and plants.
What a deal on cider donuts! (Photo: Robyn Lee/Flickr)
4. Pennings Orchard, Warwick, New York
This one is a real gem and a great time, with or without the kiddos. The 60-acre orchard grows 15 different kinds of apples, all available for the picking. They also have hayrides, pumpkin picking, and live music. You’re sure to work up an appetite while you are picking, so stop in to the on-site Pub & Grill to enjoy a delicious lunch before heading over to the Beer Garden, where you can sample local brews as well as delicious local delicacies such as warm homemade apple cider, doughnuts, and homemade ice cream.
We love instagramming red barns. (Photo: Richie Diesterheft/Flickr)
5. Aamodt’s Apple Farm, Stillwater, Minnesota
When you arrive at this orchard, you are immediately asked to purchase a special “Pick Your Own” bag inside the Apple Barn and then directed to the trees that are ready for picking. There are also hayrides, a hay bale maze, the Honeycrisp Express kiddie train, and balloon rides. Not to mention eats including Aamodt’s own locally famous apple brat sausages, traditional apple pies, and steaming cider. Adults can enjoy winetasting at Saint Croix Vineyards — the award-winning winery that’s located right at the orchard.
Let the kids go wild here. (Photo: Keith Reed/Flickr)
6. Boyd Orchards, Versailles, Kentucky
Just a 25-minute drive from Lexington, smack-dab in the middle of beautiful horse country, Boyd’s picturesque apple orchards grow a variety of apples such as Mollie Delicious, Honeycrisp, and Red Gala. Don’t miss the pumpkin patches, hayrides, and corn maze, or the various festivals throughout the fall, such as Ole Cider Days and the Pumpkin and Harvest festivals. Their Apple Blossom café is famous for barbecued-pork sandwiches, while kids can enjoy traditional grilled cheese. Try a fried apple pie for dessert. There is something for everyone — great for families and adult dates.
Did anyone find that needle? (Photo: Jim Pennucci/Flickr)
7. Alstede Farms, Chester, New Jersey
This farm is a great time for the whole family. The kids can spend hours feeding the animals, climbing the epic hay pyramid, and riding the wagon train before even boarding the convenient hayride to the massive apple orchard, where there’s a variety of delicious apples to pick. And it doesn’t stop there. You can pick blueberries and fresh flowers. The farm store has homemade ice cream and fresh baked goods, and veggies are available for purchase in the fresh market. Bonus: Your U-pick admission includes a pass to enjoy live bluegrass music.
A different kind of Big Apple. (Photo: KA/Flickr)
8. Bishop’s Orchards, Guilford, Connecticut
In business since 1871, this orchard is positioned near the beautiful Long Island Sound shoreline. The U-pick apple orchard is 110 acres and full of delicious varieties such as Macoun, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, and Golden Delicious (but call ahead to see what selections are currently available). After you fill up your complimentary bag in the orchard, check out the corn mazes, market, winery, bakery, and plant store.
A little slice of heaven. (Photo: King Orchards/Facebook)
9. King Orchards, Central Lake, Michigan
This family-owned orchard is known for its cherries but also produces an abundance of fresh apples in autumn on its 96 acres. You can pick Ginger Gold, Paula Red, Jersey Mac, Honeycrisp, Empire, and Northern Spy varieties. This farm is located high in the scenic hills near Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay.
The fun doesn’t end when the picking is done. (Photo: Johnson Orchards/Facebook)
10. Johnson Orchards, Yakima, Washington
This 60-acre orchard is situated in the middle of central Washington’s Yakima Valley, also home to farms and winery vineyards. Fill up your bag with Ginger Gold, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Swiss Gourmet, and other varieties. Don’t leave without a stop in the bake shop. Locals rave about the pies and tarts, with their enticing appearance and warm, sweet aroma.
WATCH: This Dad Gave His Kids an Apple Picking Surprise