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12 Best Places to go Apple Picking in North Carolina (+ Recipes)

If you’re looking for a fun fall activity, apple picking in North Carolina is perfect! We’ve made apple picking a family tradition and it is truly one of my favorite trips of the year.

Apple orchards are located all over North Carolina. With so many apple orchards in the state, you are sure to find some incredible opportunities for U-pick apples, a variety of activities, and of course apple cider donuts!

This extensive guide shares detailed information on 12 apple orchards, including address, hours, and activities. I’ll also provide information on the best time to go apple picking, apple picking tips, yummy recipes, apple festivals and other fun things to do in the area.

12 best places to go apple picking in north carolina

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When Is Apple Picking Season In North Carolina?

The ideal time for apple picking in North Carolina typically ranges from late August to early October, depending on the variety of apple and the specific location within the state.

Different apple varieties have varying ripening periods, so it’s important to know the specific varieties you are interested in. Here are some popular apple varieties in North Carolina and their approximate harvest times:

  1. Early Season Apples:
    • Gala: Late August to early September.
    • Ginger Gold: Late August to early September.
    • Lodi: Late August to early September.
  2. Mid-Season Apples:
    • Honeycrisp: Early to mid-September.
    • Golden Delicious: Early to mid-September.
    • Jonathan: Mid-September.
    • Rome Beauty: Mid-September.
    • Stayman: Mid-September.
  3. Late Season Apples:
    • Fuji: Late September to early October.
    • Granny Smith: Late September to early October.
    • Winesap: Late September to early October.
    • Pink Lady: Late September to early October.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and the exact harvest times may vary slightly depending on the weather conditions and specific location within North Carolina.

To ensure you have the best apple-picking experience, I recommend checking with local apple orchards in North Carolina for the most up-to-date information on harvest times and availability. They will have the most accurate information regarding the specific apple varieties grown in their orchards and the best time to pick them.

My family likes a variety of apples, so we usually base our trip on the weather and what else we have going on. We have gone Labor Day weekend, as well as, late September and our experience has always been a good one. Do what works best for your family.

when is apple picking in north carolina

Apple Picking Tips

Apple picking is a fun activity for the whole family, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you head to the orchard.

First, be sure to call ahead or check the website of the orchard you plan on visiting to find out when they will be open for picking. Many orchards have specific days and hours for apple picking, and they may be closed on certain days due to weather conditions.

It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and shoes when you go apple picking. Orchards can be located in hilly or rocky areas, so wearing sturdy shoes will help you avoid slips and falls. And since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and reaching, wearing comfortable clothes will help you stay comfortable throughout the day. These kids boots from Amazon were perfect. And I got these hiking shoes for me which I absolutely love!

Finally, don’t forget to bring along a bag or basket to hold all of your apples! Most orchards provide bags for their visitors, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own just in case.

apple picking tips

Best Places to go Apple Picking in North Carolina

  • Apple Hill Orchard (Morganton)
  • Carrigan Farms (Mooresville)
  • Coston Farm and Apple House (Hendersonville)
  • Creasman Farms (Hendersonville)
  • Grandad’s Apples ‘N Such (Hendersonville)
  • Jeter Mountain Farm (Hendersonville)
  • Justus Orchard (Hendersonville)
  • Millstone Creek Orchards (Ramseur)
  • The Orchard at Altapass (Spruce Pine)
  • Owenby’s Apple House & Orchard (Hendersonville)
  • Sky Top Orchard (Flat Rock)
  • Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard (Hendersonville)

Apple Hill Orchard

2075 Pleasant Hill Ave, Morganton, NC | 828-419-7955

Website | 9am-6pm Monday-Saturday

Apple Hill Orchard in Morganton, North Carolina, is a picturesque orchard nestled in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. This family-owned orchard offers a delightful apple-picking experience with a variety of apple cultivars. Visitors can enjoy strolling through the scenic orchard, hand-picking apples at their peak ripeness. The orchard also features a charming country store where you can purchase freshly picked apples, homemade apple treats, local honey, and other goodies.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Flowers

Carrigan Farms

1261 Oakridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville, NC | 704-664-1450

Website | Reservations required

Carrigan Farms is not just an apple orchard but also a versatile destination for outdoor activities. They have a diverse selection of apple varieties for picking during the harvest season. In addition to apple picking, visitors can enjoy hayrides, explore corn mazes, and savor delicious apple cider. The farm’s serene atmosphere and beautiful surroundings make it a popular spot for family outings and group events.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Hayride
  • Petting Zoo

Costen Farm and Apple House

3748 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville NC | 828-685-8352

Website | 8:30am-5:30pm Monday-Saturday

Coston Farm and Apple House, situated in Hendersonville, North Carolina, offers a delightful apple-picking experience. This family-owned farm provides a wide selection of apple varieties, allowing visitors to pick their own apples or purchase pre-picked ones from their charming apple house. They also offer farm tours, hayrides, and a farm store where you can find apple-related products, such as apple butter and apple cider.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Gift Shop
  • Playground
playgrounds while apple picking

Creasman Farms

280 Bent Arrow Ln, Hendersonville NC | 828-685-7728

Website | U-Pick Sundays only from 1-5pm

Creasman Farms is a renowned apple orchard with a long-standing history. With a wide range of apple varieties available, visitors can enjoy picking their favorite apples while relishing the fresh mountain air. The farm boasts picturesque views of the surrounding mountains, providing a scenic backdrop for apple-picking adventures. Be sure to explore their farm store for freshly harvested apples and other local produce.

Activities:

  • Farm Store
  • Weekday school field trips by appointment

Grandad’s Apples ‘N Such

2951 Chimney Rock Rd, Hendersonville NC | 828-685-1685

Website | Everyday 8am-6pm

Grandad’s Apples ‘N Such, nestled in the beautiful Hendersonville area of North Carolina, is a beloved apple orchard with a welcoming atmosphere. Offering a bountiful selection of apple varieties, this family-owned orchard provides an enjoyable picking experience for all ages. Along with apple picking, visitors can engage in activities like visiting the barnyard animals, enjoying hayrides, exploring corn mazes, and indulging in delectable apple cider donuts.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Corn Maze
  • Cow Train
  • Apple Cannon
little girl apple picking

Jeter Mountain Farm

1126 Jeter Mountain Rd, Hendersonville, NC | 828-513-0404

Website | Thu-Fri 10am-3pm & Sat-Sun 10am-5pm

Jeter Mountain Farm is a charming apple orchard located in the scenic region of North Carolina. With breathtaking mountain views, this family-operated farm offers a delightful apple-picking experience. Visitors can wander through the orchard, hand-pick a variety of apple cultivars, and enjoy the fresh flavors of the season. The farm also hosts events and activities like hayrides, pumpkin picking, and corn mazes, creating a fun-filled day for the whole family.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Tractor Ride
  • Play Area

Justus Orchard

187 Garren Rd, Hendersonville, NC | 828-974-1232

Website | Everyday 9am-5pm

Justus Orchard is a beloved apple orchard that offers an authentic farm experience in North Carolina. Nestled amidst the rolling hills, visitors can embark on an apple-picking adventure, exploring rows of trees laden with ripe, juicy apples. The orchard features a country store where you can purchase fresh apples, homemade apple pies, apple cider, and other local products. They also offer tractor-pulled hayrides and a play area for kids, making it an ideal destination for family outings. Our favorite part- the jumping pillow!

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Jumping Pillow
  • Cow Train
  • Apple Cannon
  • Playground
justus orchard jumping pillow

Millstone Creek Orchards

506 Parks Crossroads Church, Ramseur, NC | 336-824-5263

Website | Reservations required

This family-owned orchard welcomes visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature while enjoying the abundance of apple trees. With a focus on sustainability, Millstone Creek Orchard practices environmentally friendly farming methods. Visitors can stroll through the scenic orchard, hand-pick a variety of apple cultivars, and learn about the orchard’s rich history. The orchard also features a charming farm store where you can find freshly harvested apples, apple cider, homemade apple pies, and other local products.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Hayride
  • Apple Tasting
  • Apple Cider Pressing Demonstration

The Orchard at Altapass

1025 Orchard Rd, Spruce Pine, NC | 828-765-9531

Website | Wed-Sun 10am-5pm

The Orchard at Altapass, situated in the picturesque town of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, is a historic apple orchard brimming with cultural significance. This orchard not only offers apple picking but also promotes the preservation of the region’s heritage. Visitors can learn about the history of the orchard, enjoy live music performances, and savor delicious apple treats. With breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s an idyllic setting for apple picking and immersing oneself in the local culture.

Activities:

  • General Store
  • Hayride
  • Storytelling
  • Games
girl picking apples

Owenby’s Apple House & Orchard

3807 Chimney Rock Rd, Hendersonville, NC | 828-685-9917

Website | Everyday 8am-6pm

Owenby’s Apple House & Orchard, located in Hendersonville, North Carolina, is a family-owned and operated orchard that has been delighting visitors for generations. This orchard offers a wide variety of apple cultivars for picking during the harvest season. Visitors can stroll through the orchard, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and select their favorite apples. The apple house features an assortment of freshly harvested apples, apple cider, and homemade apple products to take home.

Activities:

  • Market
  • Wood Crafts
  • Corn Maze

Sky Top Orchard

3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock NC | 828-692-7930

Website | Everyday 9am-6pm

Sky Top Orchard, situated in the serene town of Flat Rock, North Carolina, offers a delightful apple-picking experience in a picturesque setting. This orchard features a vast array of apple varieties, allowing visitors to pick their own apples at their leisure. Additionally, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, explore the pumpkin patch, indulge in homemade apple cider donuts, and browse the farm store for apple-related products and local crafts.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Hayride
  • Bee Train
  • Gem Mine
  • Apple Cannon
  • Playground
sky top orchard how tall this fall

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

170 Stepp Orchard Dr, Hendersonville, NC | 828-685-9083

Website | Mon-Thu 9am-5:30pm – Fri-Sat 9am-6pm – Sun 10am-6pm

Located in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard is a family-friendly apple orchard with a welcoming atmosphere. This orchard invites visitors to enjoy the beauty of the countryside while picking their own apples. The orchard boasts a wide selection of apple varieties, ensuring there’s something for every palate. After apple picking, visitors can enjoy hayrides, explore the corn maze, visit farm animals, and sample delicious apple treats.

Activities:

  • Bakery
  • Corn Maze
  • Apple Cannon
  • Jump Pad
  • Wagon Rides
apple orchards

Apple Festivals In North Carolina

North Carolina is renowned for its vibrant apple festivals that celebrate the rich agricultural heritage and the abundance of apple orchards in the region. These festivals provide an exciting opportunity for locals and visitors alike to indulge in the sweet and tart flavors of freshly picked apples while enjoying live music, crafts, and a wide array of apple-related activities.

From the bustling Brushy Mountain Apple Festival to the charming Haywood Apple Harvest Festival, each event offers a unique experience that captures the essence of North Carolina’s apple-growing tradition.

  1. Brushy Mountain Apple Festival: The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, held annually in the town of North Wilkesboro, is a much-anticipated event that draws thousands of people. Spanning through the streets of downtown, this festival showcases the region’s apple industry with over 425 vendors offering a variety of apple-related products, including apple pies, cider, apple butter, and candied apples. Visitors can immerse themselves in the lively atmosphere, explore arts and crafts booths, enjoy live entertainment, and partake in a range of family-friendly activities.
  2. Lincoln County Apple Festival: Situated in the historic downtown area of Lincolnton, the Lincoln County Apple Festival is a beloved event that captures the spirit of autumn and the bountiful apple harvest. This festival features a charming blend of traditional and contemporary activities, including a grand parade, live music performances, a car show, and a wide selection of apple treats. Local vendors offer mouthwatering apple pies, caramel apples, apple fritters, and other delicious apple-based delicacies that tempt visitors with their enticing aromas and flavors.
  3. North Carolina Apple Festival: The North Carolina Apple Festival, held in the scenic town of Hendersonville, is a cherished annual event that celebrates the apple-growing heritage of the region. Showcasing the finest apples from local orchards, this festival offers a diverse range of activities for all ages. Attendees can enjoy apple-themed contests, live music, arts and crafts exhibitions, and a street fair featuring local vendors selling everything from apple cider to apple-infused baked goods. The highlight of the festival is the King Apple Parade, where a distinguished community member is crowned as the festival’s King Apple.
  4. Taylorsville Apple Festival: Nestled in the heart of Alexander County, the Taylorsville Apple Festival is a delightful gathering that showcases the agricultural significance of apples in the region. This family-oriented event features an array of attractions, including a farmers market, live entertainment, a children’s area with games and rides, and an apple recipe contest. Visitors can savor traditional apple dishes like apple dumplings and apple turnovers while strolling through the festival grounds, enjoying the charming small-town atmosphere and the vibrant autumn colors.
  5. Haywood Apple Harvest Festival: Located in the picturesque town of Waynesville, the Haywood Apple Harvest Festival is a celebration of the apple harvest season in the region. This festival encapsulates the essence of community and agriculture, offering a delightful blend of apple-themed activities, live music, local crafts, and food vendors. Festival-goers can sample a variety of apple products, participate in apple-peeling contests, witness cider-pressing demonstrations, and enjoy the vibrant parade that winds through the streets of downtown Waynesville.

These apple festivals in North Carolina provide a delightful experience for all apple enthusiasts, showcasing the state’s rich apple-growing heritage while offering a festive atmosphere filled with delicious treats, entertainment, and opportunities to connect with local communities.

cow train

More Fun Fall Activities In North Carolina

Apple orchards are located all over North Carolina, so there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the area. We like to make a weekend out of it and have really enjoyed it the past few years.

We usually start with hiking. We pick a new trail every year that’s on the way from Charlotte to Hendersonville area. We recently went to Moore Cove Falls Trail and it was my favorite for young kids and a new puppy.

Next, we check into our hotel and get ready for dinner and drinks. We always go to Sierra Nevada Brewery. The food is excellent, the beer is great, and the atmosphere is perfect! The kids have a blast exploring outside in the garden, playing bocce ball, and listening to the live bands that play in the evening.

When we wake up in the morning, we head over to the apple orchard. Our favorite place to go apple picking is Justus Orchard. We try to get there right when they open, so our kids can go on the jumping pillow without it being too crowded. I highly recommend this!

We usually drive home after the orchard, but you could always grab lunch or continue on to a festival or more hiking. You can choose whatever options work best for your family, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how to add in more activities for the weekend.

nc hiking
nc hiking adventures and waterfalls

The Best Apple Recipes After Apple Picking

Once you’ve picked your apples, it’s time to enjoy them! Whether you’re in the mood for a cozy dessert or a refreshing snack, apples have got you covered. From classic apple pie and comforting apple crisp to yummy caramel apple nachos and savory dishes like apple-stuffed pork tenderloin, there’s a whole world of apple recipes waiting for you to explore.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to get you started:

top places to go apple picking in nc

With its scenic countryside and a plethora of orchards, North Carolina offers a wide range of options for apple-picking adventures. From the charming family-owned farms nestled in the mountains to the sprawling orchards in the rolling countryside, there is a perfect destination for everyone.

Whether you’re searching for the perfect apples for baking, craving a fun-filled day with your family, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, North Carolina’s apple-picking destinations provide an idyllic experience.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy all that North Carolina’s apple orchards have to offer!

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