While many associate apple season with crisp, cool fall days and orange and yellow leaves, apple ripening season occurs in North Carolina anywhere from late August to early October. For pick-your-own, the best time of year to plan a trip is now. Wondering exactly where? These eight apple orchards not only provide you with sweet, juicy apples, but a one-of-a-kind experience.
1. Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill, Morganton
Not only does this charming apple orchard offer U-pick from several varieties, but also features a cider mill, country store, group and educational tours and a bakery. A family-run business since 1955, the scenic South Mountains make the perfect backdrop for a ride around the orchard or a day of picking your own apples ending in a cup of hot cider and an apple turnover.
2075 Pleasant Hill Ave., Morganton, N.C., 28655
2. Grandad's Apples n' Such, Hendersonville
Located in the heart of North Carolina's apple country, Grandad's Apples n' Such is more than an orchard but a local establishment. Come fall, cars line the country road awaiting to park and pick. The breezy, large barn opens to a stunning mountain view and features a bakery (try the donuts or fried apple pie) and a store full of goodies. Grandad's offers U-pick as well as a pumpkin patch and corn maze come fall.
2951 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville, N.C., 28792
3. Justus Orchard, Hendersonville
Featuring cider, plenty of apples, and the famous donuts, Justus Orchard is a perfect stop-by while the leaves are in their peak. The fourth generation, family-owned farm, offers multiple apple varieties. The best way to keep up with it all is checking their social media to see which apples are ripe for the pickin' or already available for pick.
187 Garren Road, Hendersonville, N.C., 28792
4. The Orchard at Altapass, Spruce Pine
Nestled right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Orchard at Altapass is a great stop-by while cruising and looking at fall foliage. Located atop the Eastern Continental Divide, the orchard has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 1800s. Today, the orchard doesn't just offer apples but a variety of programs, like mountain music, hayrides, and a book club to educate visitors on the culture that permeates this area.
1025 Orchard Rd, Spruce Pine, N.C., 28777
5. Sk Top Orchard, Flat Rock
Sky Top isn't just a U-pick or we-pick orchard, but an entire experience. Between orchard ponds with duck and geese, a farm area with sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, a bamboo forest perfect for some stellar photography, oh, and and panoramic mountain views; it's no surprise they've been nominated for a 10 Best Award by USA Today.
3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock, N.C., 28731
6. Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard, Hendersonville
This fourth-generation apple orchard is situated on 70 stunning acres with panoramic Blue Ridge views. On the weekend, hayrides let you venture through the orchard as well as pumpkin patches and the grape vines. After picking up a fresh bushel, visit the country store and grab a cup of hot cider.
221 Stepp Orchard Dr., Hendersonville
7. Lyda Farms, Hendersonville
Lyda Farms is more than a orchard but almost like a mini-farmers market tucked right in the mountains. Here you can pick up multiple fall finds like various pumpkins from perfect for jack-o-lanterns for perfect to pumpkin pie, winter squash, and other seasonal squashes. There's also a barnyard area with adorable goats, donkeys, geese and chickens.
3465 Chimney Rock Rd, Hendersonville, NC
8. Knob Creek Orchard, Lawndale
Knob Creek isn't only an apple orchard, but also a creamery! Located on the Cleveland-Lincoln County line, there's more than just your mountain varieties here but a selection of peaches, strawberries, blackberries and homemade ice cream. While picking up some delicious apples, save room for delectable, homemade ice cream, especially the banana pudding ice cream!
6471 Fallston Road Lawndale, NC, United States 28090
Picking apples is a beloved way to ring in the fall season and a tradition for many! What orchard is your go-to?