The Best Apple-Picking Orchards in America
Fall is in the air, and there’s nothing more quintessentially autumn than apple picking. Here, 12 of the best orchards across the country. Whether you’re going for the fresh fruit, cider doughnuts or Instagram appeal, here’s the best orchard for your picking needs.
Alyson's Orchard (Walpole, NH): Best for Big, Juicy Honeycrisps
New England is the big leagues for apple picking, and Alyson's, in rural New Hampshire, boasts over 50 apple varieties, including many names you've never even heard of (like Tolman Sweet or Baldwin).
Russell Orchards (Ipswich, MA): Best for Berries
Sure, apples are the most popular fall produce, but you can visit this Ipswich orchard all summer long to pick your own blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Then, head home and immediately make this berry galette.
Mercier Orchards (Blue Ridge, GA): Best for Boozy Apple Picking
Look, apple picking isn’t just for kids. After an hour of grabbing Fujis and Galas, it's time to turn your attention to the homemade hard ciders and wines at this southern orchard. (The winter blackberry wine sounds absolutely heavenly.) Don’t leave without trying a wine slushy, made from Mercier's homemade peach and apple wines.
Carter Mountain Orchard (Charlottesville, VA): Best For Leaf Peeping
The ever-popular Carter Mountain Orchard overlooks the scenic Shenandoah Valley, which is essentially a gold mine for fall foliage. Here’s the game plan: Arrive in late afternoon, just in time to enjoy the weekly sunset series, where you can pick to your heart’s content, then stay for wine and live music with a view of the valley.
Fishkill Farms (Fishkill, NY): Best For Shopping The Farmers' Market
Of course you came for the apples, and you’ll go home with bushels of Macouns and Cortlands. But this Hudson Valley orchard also boasts an impressive farm store where you can load up on everything from fresh eggs to homegrown veggies.
Kiyokawa Family Orchards (Parkdale, OR): Best for #Views
Come for the fruit; stay for the incredible vistas overlooking the Hood River Valley. It’s not every day that you get to pick your own apples before a backdrop of snowcapped mountains.
Brown's Orchards & Farm Market (Loganville, PA): Best for Post-Picking Dinner
Of all the events at Brown’s Orchards, our favorite is the Orchard to Table dinner series hosted through early fall. Get your apple picking done early, then book a seat for the festive meal (it's $60 per person). Each of the five courses is made with homegrown apples—think pork with apple chutney and caramel-apple tarts—and served in a gorgeous, autumn setting.
Blake's Orchard & Cider Mill (Armada, MI): Best for The Full Fall Experience
In addition to apple picking, you’ll find a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a petting zoo, haunted barn, corn mazes, and donuts and caramel apples galore. The only way to end a day is with a hard cider and wine tasting at the Cider Mill.
Demarest Farm (Hillsdale, NJ): Best for Pumpkins
This New Jersey favorite offers peach picking in the summer and apple picking through the fall, but the enormous pumpkin patch is the star of the show. For that reason, a visit to Demarest Farm is a must before Halloween.
Apple Holler (Sturtevant, WI): Best for Playing with Animals
Apple Holler is an orchard and farm park all in one. Bring the kiddos to the petting zoo, where they can enjoy pony rides as well as adorable goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits.
Patterson Fruit Farm (Chesterland, OH): Best For Doughnuts
A day of apple picking is only as good as the doughnuts, and Patterson’s on-site bakery is out of this world. You can smell the fried dough from a mile away, which will lead you to a line of people waiting to get their hands on the huge apple fritters, freshly baked doughnuts and juicy pies.
Sky Top Orchard (Flat Rock, NC): Best For Bringing Fido
It would be a shame to go apple picking without your pup. (He loves a good McIntosh.) Sky Top Orchard is known for its pet-friendly policy and boundless grounds on which your pooch can roam.