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Apple Orchards & Apple Picking in North Carolina

Crisp apples, gorgeous views, and picture-perfect fall memories. These are just a few reasons to plan an apple-picking outing this fall and North Carolina is full of excellent options. North Carolina’s apple season starts mid-August and runs through early November, though some orchards may have a shorter season depending on location and weather conditions. To plan a memorable day apple picking in NC, keep reading! 

Did you know that NC produces more than four million bushels of apples every year? The primary apple varieties grown in North Carolina include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Stayman.

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Read on to find out everything you need to know to plan your apple picking in North Carolina adventure.

Our Favorite 11 Places to go Apple Picking in North Carolina

apple picking with family

There are plenty of orchards in the state that offer this fun fall activity. In this blog post, we will provide everything you need to know about apple picking in NC, including tips on where to go and what to bring. So get ready to enjoy a day out with your family or friends at one of the many beautiful apple orchards in North Carolina!

Piedmont Apple Picking

Most of North Carolina’s apple orchards are located in the Blue Ridge mountains, but if you don’t want to travel quite that far, there are a few options in Piedmont. 

1. Millstone Creek Orchards

Millstone Creek Orchards NC apple products

Millstone Creek Orchards, located in Ramseur, is about an hour’s drive from Raleigh. The location makes it a perfect day trip for Triangle residents. The orchard is open seven days a week, but if you want to pick your own apples, you must reserve a ticket to the Apple Pickin’ Adventure online and in advance (weekends only).

In addition to the Apple Pickin’ Adventure, they host an apple-themed Fruity Picking Story Time. Millstone Creek also has one of the state’s only licensed non-pasteurized cider mills. They press their own fresh apple cider in the apple barn every week in the fall—get a free sample when you visit the orchard! They also sell all kinds of delicious apple products including apple butter, apple cake, apple jam and more!

If you want to make a weekend trip out of your visit, the North Carolina Zoo is only twenty minutes away. 

  • Address: 506 Parks Crossroads Church Road, Ramseur, NC 27316
  • Apple Varieties: Honeycrisp, Cortland, Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Red Fuji, Aztec Fuji, Pink Lady, Arkansas Black & Gold Rush 
  • Hours & Pricing: 
    • 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday, 1 pm to 5:30 pm on Sundays.  
    • Apple Picking Adventure—$15.95/person (2 & under free), must be reserved online in advance, includes a hayride, apple tasting, education about the fruit, four ounces of an apple cider slushie, and a quarter peck bag of apples you pick yourself. 
    • Fruity Picking Story Time: Aug 29, Sept 19 at 11 am, $15/kid (one adult included, additional adult $5)
  • Other Info: 
    • No animals (except for identified service animals), no firearms allowed onsite.
    • Offer fruit and flower picking in summer, pumpkin and pecan in fall.
    • On-site event venue can accommodate up to fifty guests. 

2. Devil Dog Orchard

Devil Dog Orchard

Devil Dog Orchard in Reidsville is another great Piedmont u-pick apple option. Clocking in at an hour and a half from Raleigh, and only twenty minutes from Greensboro, the focus here is on a relaxed, country atmosphere.

With fifty-seven acres, trails through the woods, and plenty of picnic areas, you are sure to enjoy the slow pace of life during your visit. There is no fee to pick—you pay for the size of container you fill. Check their facebook page for updates before you head to Devil Dog—you can find information about when they’ll be open, which varieties are available, and more. 

  • Address: 771 NC 150, Reidsville, NC 27320
  • Varieties:  Golden Delicious, Winesaps, Arkansas Black, Gala, Red Delicious
  • Hours & Pricing: Hours vary, no picking fee, pay for what you pick
  • Other Info: Check facebook for updates when making your plans. Muscadine grape picking is also available. 

Hendersonville NC Apple Picking

little girl with apples

Eighty percent of North Carolina apple picking and apple crop comes from Henderson County, so there is a bounty of apple picking options. Hendersonville, a Blue Ridge mountain town located forty minutes from Asheville, is also the location of the North Carolina Apple Festival, held every Labor Day weekend for over seventy-five years.

Apple picking isn’t the only thing to do in Hendersonville—you can also try your hand at gem mining and find a plethora of outdoor adventures. Chimney Rock State Park, home to panoramic mountain views and the location for much of the filming of The Last of the Mohicans, is just a short thirty-minute drive away.

Just a few more miles down the road is the stunning Lake Lure, home of Dirty Dancing. Hendersonville is also home to the Cheers! Trail, which includes twenty-four tasting experiences featuring five different kinds of beverages (beer, wine, cider, mead, and spirits).

3. Stepps Hillcrest Orchard

Stepps Hillcrest Shizuka Orchard

Stepps Hillcrest Orchard, a fourth-generation, family-owned farm has been in operation for almost fifty years. Spread over seventy acres, the orchard opens for the season in mid-August and offers both pick-your-own apples or pre-picked.

Fun activities on the farm include a five-acre corn maze, jump pad, wagon ride, and apple cannon (weekends only). Be sure to stop by the country market for apple cider, apple cider slushies, apple cider donuts, t-shirts and more. If you want to make a whole day of it, pack a cooler and relax in their picnic area with your lunch. 

  • Address: 170 Stepp Orchard Drive, Hendersonville, NC 28792
  • Varieties: over twenty different varieties, including Pink Lady, Ginger Gold, and Crimson Crisp
  • Hours & Pricing: 
    • 2022 dates not yet available.
    • No entry fee but some activities do have a cost.
  • Other Info: 
    • Dog-friendly (must remain on a leash, not allowed on wagon rides or in the Apple House). 
    • Also offers grapes (late August) and pumpkins (late September). 

4. Grandad’s Apples

caramel apple

Grandad’s Apples is a 100-acre family farm that has been in operation since 1994. Offering more than thirty varieties of pre-picked apples, they sell apples by the pound, peck, and bushel.

The 2022 season starts at the end of July, and they are open seven days a week. Family fun includes a corn maze, cow train, and apple cannon (weekends only, must arrive by 4 pm). Visit Grandad’s Barn and Country Store to pick up local honey, apple butter, handmade crafts, fresh pressed apple cider, fermented apple cider, caramel apples, and many more delicious apple treats. 

  • Address: 2951 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville, NC 28792
  • Varieties: over thirty different varieties of apples, including Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Swiss Gourmet
  • Hours & Pricing: 
    • open 7 days a week, 8 am – 6 pm (bakery closes at 5). 
    • Weekends only: Corn Maze, Cow Train, and Apple Cannon are each $5/person, and you must arrive by 4 pm for activities, which close at 5. 
  • Other Info: 
    • Some activities don’t open until Labor Day weekend. 
    • Pumpkins available at Grandad’s Pumpkin Patch, starting late September. 

5. Justus Orchard

apple donuts

Justus Orchard has been growing apples for over a hundred years, and offers both u-pick and they-pick apples from mid-August through early November.

Farm activities include a cow train, apple cannon, picnic area, adventure playground, and jumping pillow. Plus, they have farm animals—goats, fish, and ducks! The bakery sells apple pies, apple cider and apple donuts, and on weekends they host vendors, including barbecue. 

  • Address: 187 Garren Rd. Hendersonville NC 28792
  • Varieties: almost twenty, including Ambrosia, Cameo, and Rome
  • Hours & Pricing: 
    • open seven days a week 9 am to 6 pm during September and October
    • no entrance fee
  • Other Info:
    • You can find their 2022 season overview here
    • U-pick blackberries are available in the summer and pre-picked pumpkins in the fall.

6. Jeter Mountain Farm

Jeter Mountain Farm hard cider bar

Jeter Mountain Farm has been actively farming in Henderson County for over two hundred years, dating all the way back to 1813. Spread over 411 acres in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, they offer activities for all ages.

From a 6,000-square-foot play area for the kids (including slides, tractor tire trampolines, and a hay mountain) to a hard cider taproom with six ciders on tap, there’s a little something for everyone.

On weekends, you can enjoy live bluegrass music while sipping their small batch of hard cider, or the whole family can enjoy a meal at the 1813 Smokehouse. In the Cider Barn, you’ll find apple cider and apple cider donuts, and in the market, apple butter, hand-poured candles, salsas and more. 

  • Address: 1126 Jeter Mountain Road, Hendersonville, NC 28739
  • Varieties: over twenty varieties, including Winesap, Spartan, and Ruby Mac
  • Hours & Pricing: 
    • Sat- Sun, 10am-5pm 
    • no entry fee
    • apples sold by the peck
  • Other Info: 
    • No strollers or wagons on wagon ride. 
    • Market and taproom are handicap accessible and handicap accessible bathrooms are available
    • Also offer an onsite wedding venue

7. Skytop Orchard

Skytop Orchard, family-owned and operated since 1967, is a great option for a scenic and beautiful apple picking experience in the Flat Rock area. With a focus on making family memories, activities include a hayride, bee train, apple cannon, and famous apple cider donuts—made while you watch!

New for 2022, they also have gem-mining. There is plenty to explore, with a nature trail through a bamboo forest, a playground, and farm animals (including goats, sheep, chickens, and peacocks). Other area attractions include the historic Carl Sandburg home and Flat Rock Park, a 66-acre park with two playgrounds and a running trail.

  • Address: 1193 Pinnacle Mtn Rd, Zirconia, NC 28731
  • Varieties: over 22 varieties, including Early Macs, Ginger Gold, and Pink Lady 
  • Hours and Pricing: 
    • 9 am to 6 pm daily, opens for the 2022 season on August 1st.
    • U-pick priced by basket (each group of 6 must purchase at least 1 basket for entry). 
    • Some attractions, like the playground, bamboo forest, and animal barn are free, others like the bee train, apple cannon, gem mining and hayride cost a fee.
  • Other Info: Dogs allowed, as long as they are on leash.

This is just a sample of what’s available in Henderson County—you can find a full listing of Hendersonville area apple farms and markets here.

Best Moravian Falls Apple Orchard

apple tree orchard

8. Perry Lowe Orchards

Perry Lowe Orchards is just forty-five minutes outside of Boone. The Apple Store specializes in local products and in-season produce.

The U-pick orchard is a mile and a half from the apple store, and reservations are required.

Be sure to enjoy the scenic mountain views while you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway on your way there. If you are traveling with kids, Tweetsie Railroad is about an hour away, and if your group is made up of adults, the Boone Area Wine Trail might be of interest. 

  • Address: 8741 North Carolina 16, Moravian Falls, NC 28654
  • Varieties: over 30 including Empire, McIntosh and Suncrisp
  • Hours and Pricing: 
    • Apple Store open 8 am – 5pm, Monday through Saturday. 
    • Reservations required for u-pick, $2 picking fee, plus cost of apples (small bag $8, large bag $15)
  • Other Info: U-pick guests are requested to limit time their in orchard to 90 minutes

Best Spruce Pine U-Pick Apples

apple trees

9. Historic Orchard at Altapass

Historic Orchard at Altapass in Spruce Pine is part of a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the land, the history of the area, and offering education about the Appalachian experience.

Both pre-picked apples and guided picking are available and the season runs through October 30, with free live music every Saturday and Sunday.

The fun doesn’t stop there: play games like cornhole and giant Jenga with your family, explore the butterfly garden, stop by to hear some storytelling (offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am and 1 pm), and visit the Red Barn to see the model railroad.

Don’t forget to stop by the general store to pick up some homemade fudge and other delicious treats. If you are making a weekend of it, it’s just a thirty-minute drive to Linville Caverns and a forty-minute drive to Grandfather Mountain.   

  • Address: 1025 Orchard Road, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
  • Varieties: over twenty varieties, including Red Blaze, King Lucious,  York, 
  • Hours and Pricing: 
    • Wednesday-Sunday, purchase pre-picked. 
    • Guided picking on the hour available Thursday, Saturday, Sunday from  10am to 4 pm 
    • Bag: $10, Small Basket: $15, Large Basket: $23.
    • “Heyrides” $6/person, weather permitting.
  • Other Info: Learn how you can support the orchard’s mission here

Best Morganton Apple Orchard

10. Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mil

Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mill is located in the South Mountains of Western North Carolina and dates back to 1930. The 100-acre farm houses both an orchard and cattle. They offer first-come, first-serve wagon tours on Saturdays, departing approximately every forty-five minutes.

The Farm Market and Bakery is stocked with scratch-made apple pies, apple muffins, apple crisp, and many other delicious apple treats. Opening in mid-August for the season, be sure to purchase a Picking Pass before you arrive if you’d like to pick your own apples. 

  • Address: 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave, Morganton NC, 28655
  • Varieties: 22 varieties, 18 are available for u-pick
  • Hours and Pricing: 
    • 2022 tickets are not yet available but you must purchase a picking pass in advance. Check the site, because they should be available any day now!
  • Other Info: 
    • No pets allowed.
    • Picnic tables are available, so feel free to bring your own lunch.

Our Mooresville Orchard Pick

11. Carrigan Farms

Carrigan Farms apple orchard

Carrigan Farms is a perfect option for Charlotte residents. This fifth-generation, family-owned farm is located just forty minutes from downtown Charlotte. In addition to picking apples and learning about the farm, you can experience a hayride and visit their petting zoo. The apple season starts in September—keep an eye on their facebook page for updates. 

  • Address: 1261 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville, NC 28115 (Intersection of 150 & 152)
  • Varieties:  Red & Gold Delicious
  • Hours and Pricing:
    • 2022 dates not yet available
    •  $11/person, includes hayride and half a peck
  • Other Info: 
    • Cash and check only
    • Also offer a wedding and event venue, and seasonal options like a swimming quarry (must make a reservation in advance, pricing varies by day),  pumpkin picking, and a haunted trail

Don’t miss out—make your plans now to enjoy North Carolina’s apple season!

Remember that storing your apples in the fridge will help them last a little longer—and be sure to bring home enough apples to give this NC Apple Festival’s prize-winning Mountain High Apple Pie recipe a try.

5 Fun Facts about Apples

When you plan your apple picking in North Carolina excursion, you can impress your family and friends with these fun facts about apples!

  • The vast majority of apple varieties are not native to North America.
  • There are 7,500 varieties of apples in existence throughout the world—2,500 of which are grown in the United States.
  • Apple pie is often associated with being American, but this dessert is actually European. The very first recipe for apple pie came from England hundreds of years ago.
  • Apples float in water because 25% of their volume is air.
  • Apples are a member of the rose family of plants, along with pears, peaches, plums and cherries.

5 Tips for Your Apple-Picking Adventure

  1. Dress in Layers & bring a light rain jacket.
  2. Wear boots. Even if it’s not a rainy day, the fields could still be muddy. Here is my favorite boot for fall. If you have kids, these apple rain boots are perfect!
  3. Bring a garbage bag (for muddy boots) and an extra pair of shoes for the drive home.
  4. Bring a picnic blanket and picnic lunch to enjoy on the farm.
  5. Don’t forget sunscreen and hand wipes!

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