What is autumn without a family outing to the apple orchard?
Autumn is just around the corner, which means you can officially break out your cozy sweaters, order that pumpkin spice latte and drive down the backroads admiring the leaves as they shift from shades of emerald green to brilliant hues of gold and auburn.
It also means you can plan a trip to the apple orchard and bring home a bounty of delicious fruit. Many people make an annual tradition of wandering through fragrant and picturesque orchards and filling up a bushel or two. And let’s face it — what else really ushers in the arrival of the season like fresh apple pie baking in the oven?
If you want to enjoy a crisp fall day plucking fresh apples off the trees this year, check out these apple orchards across the country.
4906 Summitview Avenue. Yakima, WA USA
Did you know Washington state produces more than half of the apples in the nation? The Washington Apple Commission reports that there are approximately 175,000 acres of apple orchards in the state. So if you live within driving distance of Washington, you have a lot of options when it comes time to make your plans.
If you need help narrowing down your list of options, we recommend making the trek to Johnson Orchards. This beautiful operation nestled in Yakima, a fertile valley renowned for its vineyards and orchards makes the ideal spot to spend an autumn afternoon. In addition to their apple trees, Johnson Orchards has several varieties of cherries, apricots, peaches and more.
And if you need something to tide you over until you can bake your own creation, you can pick up some sweet treats and Copper Pot Caramels before heading home.
Bear Swamp Orchard
1209 B Hawley Road, Ashfield, MA 01330
Apple picking may be a popular family tradition in the United States, but who’s to say you can’t kick the tradition up a notch? Bear Swamp Orchard in Ashfield, MA is a family-friendly orchard that also offers hard cider tastings for those interested in indulging in something a little harder. Offered on Fridays and weekends, this is a unique experience that you don’t want to miss.
Not interested in cider? You can still bring your little ones to enjoy a beautiful fall day in the pick-your-own orchard or select the cream of the crop from the farm stand.
Sky Top Orchard
1193 Pinnacle Mountain Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731
Sky Top Orchard got its start as a commercial wholesale orchard, but it didn’t take long for the owners to shift gears and transform the budding business into a market and pick-your-own operation. Plan a visit to North Carolina’s Sky Top and you’re guaranteed to feel that familiar tingling of nostalgia that as you wander between the rows of beautiful apple trees. You can also feel good about supporting a family-owned business that only opens up the orchard when the fruit has reached the perfect sugar content.
As if growing the perfect apple wasn’t good enough, Sky Top Orchard also makes a mean apple cider doughnut. And if you have children tagging along on this afternoon adventure, make sure you reserve plenty of time to enjoy the tractor-pulled hayrides and a visit with the farm animals.
County Line Orchard
200 S. County Line Road, Hobart, IN 46342
From fragrant apple blossoms to honeybees and everything in between, County Line Orchard in Hobart, IN gives you — and your little ones — endless opportunities to explore and savor nature. With more than 30 varieties of apples and tractors that whisk you away on a scenic country ride, this gorgeous orchard is the perfect place to welcome the autumn season.
While you’re here, make sure you explore the gift loft, test your navigational skills in the corn maze and enjoy a picnic with live musical performances. You can also visit the bee yurts, which house the hundreds of pollinators responsible for the success of the apple orchard.
Los Rios Rancho
39611 Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen, CA 92399
Imagine an orchard full to the brim with more than 8,000 heirloom fruit trees and more than 32 different apple varieties. That’s precisely what you’ll discover when you arrive at Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen, CA. This breathtaking property is run by a family who values traditional farming methods and goes above and beyond to provide fruit that tastes just as good as it looks.
Whether you want to spend a few hours getting lost in the beauty of the orchard or commit to sampling all the farm goodies (from fresh-pressed cider and applejack to hot Dutch pies), Los Rios Rancho is the place to be when autumn rolls around.
Be sure to take a look at the farm calendar before you go — you never know what exciting events are just around the bend. They’ve been known to host everything from chuckwagon supper shows to movies on the green and swing dancing under the stars.
Cider Hill Farm
45 Fern Avenue, Amesbury, MA 01913
There’s just something special about Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, MA. It could have something to do with their dedication to sustainable and ethical farming practices, their Food Truck Friday series or how they design each and every aspect of their farm to bring families together. Whatever it is, this place should definitely be on your family’s fall bucket list.
For the children, there are more than enough activities to keep little minds and hearts occupied. Kids can feed the chickens, build a sandcastle in the giant sandbox, go on an adventure in the tricycle yard or savor the taste of a fresh apple plucked right off the tree. For adults, there are hot apple cider doughnuts, farm yoga, cider tastings and a slew of delightful autumn festivals.
This list first appeared on our sister site, FarmFlavor.com.