As a lifelong West Coaster, apple picking is not really a part of my fall activity line-up. I definitely see the appeal, though — it’s fun to get out of our cities, breath some fresh air, and take some farm-fresh fruit home to enjoy. Never been apple picking? Want to start a new tradition? Hit up one of these top 10 best places to go apple picking in the U.S., just in time for the changing of the leaves.
Personally, I'm a little jealous of anyone who can just hop in the car and go apple picking. I grew up in a rural area in California that’s known more for its wine grapes, almonds, pistachios, and farm animals than apples. We had those little crab apple trees, but they’re nothing compared to the big, beautiful apple trees you see in New England and the Midwest. Any apples I get to make delicious fall recipes usually come from the grocery store, so I applaud all of you who put some real blood, sweat, and tears into your apple treats.
Of course, this list is just a sampling of the hundreds of orchards across our nation — so don’t worry if your local favorite didn’t make it on here (I’m sure it’s still amazing). But if you're looking for a few tried-and-true places to get your apple picking on, these are some pretty fab picks.
1. Dwight Miller Orchards — East Dummerston, Vermont
For the last 20 years, the family-owned Dwight Miller Orchards has been offering apple pickers access to its certified organic crop. The orchard features Paula Reds, Honeycrisp, Empire, Gala, and McIntosh apples, just to name a few. You can also buy homemade jams, jellies, and pasture-raised pork products, as well.
2. Liberty View Farm — Clintondale, New York
As fun as apple picking is, Liberty View Farm also wants it to be a mindful activity — both of the environment, and the people who help make the harvest possible. Not only can you choose from a variety of delicious kinds of apples, but the farm is committed to sustainable practices, and to providing workers with living wages. Interested apple lovers can also “lease” a tree for the season.
3. Jones Creek Farms — Sedro-Woolley, Washington
If you’re looking for variety, look no further than Jones Creek Farms. I had no idea this many varieties of apples even existed, but they do, and you can pick them to your heart's content during peak season.
4. Los Rios Rancho — Oak Glen, California
Los Rios Rancho has been operational for more than 100 years, and is a hidden gem for any Los Angeles-based apple lovers. Nestled in the apple friendly community of Oak Glen, it’s open year-round, but the fall season offers apple picking, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. You can even press your own cider on the property.
5. Apple Dave’s Orchards — Warwick, New York
Formerly Applewood Orchards, Apple Dave’s sits on 130 acres of land, and offers 10 varieties of apples from September through October. The property also features ponds, and herb and rose gardens, as well as a winery and distillery.
6. Weston's Antique Apple Orchard — New Berlin, Wisconsin
It’s not called Antique for nothing — the Weston orchard is the oldest in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. It sits on 16 acres, and has more than 100 varieties of apples to choose from. The well-preserved, turn-of-the-century farm is also recognized as part of the Prospect Hill Settlement Historic District.
7. All Seasons Orchard — Woodstock, Illinois
If you’re looking for Honeycrisp apples outside of New England, the All Seasons Orchard has them. It's open rain or shine every day between the end of August through Nov. 1, and it also has a corn maze, shooting gallery, and pumpkin patch.
8. Gould Hill Farm — Contoocook, New Hampshire
You can pick McIntosh, Redcorts, and Galas apples at the Gould Hill Farm during the peak season, with a few additional varieties available if you act fast. And if you're not much of a baker, you can enjoy homemade apple pies, apple crisps, and cookies at the farm's on-site bakery.
9. Nashoba Valley Winery — Bolton, Massachusetts
Don't let "winery" in the title fool you — the Nashoba Valley Winery has a full orchard with 15 apple varieties to enjoy. Plus, after a hard day of apple picking, you can enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine or a picnic lunch on the property.
10. Draper Girls Country Farm — Mt. Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Just an hour outside Portland, the Draper Girls Country Farm has all your farm-fresh essentials — including apples, of course. Aside from picking from the orchard, you can also buy a variety of fresh seasonal fruits and farm-raised meat. And if you just fall in love with the place, you can rent out its country cottage for a few nights!