RECOMMENDED: Pick your own fruits and vegetables
Ready your baskets and little red wagons! It's officially time for apple picking. If you're not busy going on one of these fantastic getaways from NYC, venture out for a sweet day trip to visit one of the dozens of orchards opening to the public for apple picking season. It's one of our favorite things to do with kids this fall, and many also have pumpkin patches and other pick your own fruits and vegetables, too. Times, prices and availability vary, so phone ahead or you may find yourself, well, up a tree! For additional info on apple picking in the area, visit nyapplecountry.com or pickyourown.org. P.S.—some of our picks even have their own cider mills!
Applewood Orchards & Winery
Choose from ten kinds of apples—Macintosh, Cortland, Rome Beauty, Red Delicious, Empire, Macoun, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Jonagold and Golden Delicious—at this upstate farm, which also sports a lush pumpkin patch, herb and rose gardens, and a general store stocked with myriad jams and jellies. While the kids enjoy weekend hayrides, puppet shows and visiting with live chickens, bunnies and sheep, parents can savor the on-site winery (just be sure to pick a designated driver!). The town of Warwick is also home to Applefest (warwickapplefest.com), which takes place on Sunday, October 4, and features live music, crafts and a highly competitive apple-pie-baking contest. 82 Four Corners Rd, Warwick (845-986-1684, applewoodorchards.com). Daily 9am–5pm September 5 through late October. Approx $28 for a half bushel, no admission or parking fees.
An over 220-year-old white oak marks the center of this 122-acre farm filled with 25 apple varieties—everything from Cortland to Macintosh. Even if your kids aren't big on pommes, they can still enjoy a petting zoo, weekend hayrides, a haunted house (in October) and a five-acre corn maze on Saturday August 5th (this year's theme is The Bad Apple). 63 Apple Tree Ln, Poughquag (845-227-2306, bartonorchards.com). Mon-Fri 9am–5pm, Sat, Sun 9am-6pm through Nov 2. General admission $3, children under 2 free (includes petting zoo, hayrides, kids' special events); Fun Pass $9.50, (includes admission, corn maze, haunted house and family theme park). Apples: 10lbs $15, 20lbs $24.
Dr. Davies Farm
Though it's home to more than 4,000 apple trees spread across 35 acres, this Hudson Valley farm—originally built by Dr. Lucy Virginia Davies and her husband, Arthur, in 1891—is less than a half hour from the George Washington Bridge. Picking poles are available, but young ones should be able to manage with the orchard's low-hanging fruit. In September and October, weekend trailer rides ($5) stop at the farm's faux pumpkin patch, where kids can pick small sugar pumpkins ($3 each) that were placed there but grown elsewhere. 306 Rte 304, Congers (845-268-7020, drdaviesfarm.com). Daily 10am–4pm from Labor Day. $37 for 25 pounds. Pole rental $3 (you get $1 back once it's returned).
With its stunning views of the Catskill Mountains, the Greig Farm is an elegant spread. Greig's has opportunities for pick-your-own apples in September and October, grabbing seedlings and plants at the greenhouse plus fall raspberries and pumpkins. For lunch, head to the market (under renovation this year), where the menu showcases Hudson Valley produce, cheeses and meats, and kid-friendly offerings like seasonal flatbread "Skizzas." 223 Pitcher Ln, Red Hook (845-758-1234, greigfarm.com). Daily 8am–8pm through the end of October. $20 for a half bushel.
Hurds Family Farm
This farm caters to the seasons. In fall, expect plenty of apple-picking opportunities, and on select weekends leading up to the Christmas holiday, your brood can choose a tree from its crop of evergreens. In addition to a corn maze, Hurds offers an apple launcher, an "eco-discovery trail" and a cow-train ride (Holstein-painted go-karts rigged up to a tractor). At the Kids Corral, tykes can pedal trikes, meet farm animals, feed fish off a dock and take on a giant slide. Don't forget to grab a pumpkin out of their patch before you head home. 2187 Rte 32, Modena (845-883-7825, hurdsfamilyfarm.com). Season begins in late August. Wed–Sat 9am–5pm. $14, children under 3 free. $20 for a half bushel of PYO apples, pumpkins 50c per lb.
An impressively large garden gnome, Chomsky, stands sentry at the entrance to Kelder's Farm. The spot offers all the classic fall farm amusements: a petting zoo, hayrides and a corn maze. Kids also love their giant jumping pillow, but the biggest draw is a mini-golf course ($3.75) designed by artist Maria Reidelbach, coauthor of Miniature Golf (said to be the first book ever bound in artificial turf). The whimsical course is constructed from recycled tractor wheels and other repurposed farm implements. Along with the standard pick-your-own apples, the space is lined with plenty of vegetables, herbs, flowers and other types of fruit—including pumpkins—that kids can pick along the way. 5755 Rte 209, Kerhonkson (845-626-7137, kelderfarm.com). Daily 10am–6pm through October. $1.50 per lb.
Lawrence Farms Orchards
In addition to over a dozen types of apples including Empire, Cortland, Macintosh, Macoun, Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Red and Golden Delicious apples, this Newburgh farm cultivates a cornucopia of other fruits and vegetables. From late September through October, pears, yellow peaches, grapes, sweet corn, tomatoes, pumpkins and other natural bounty are in season. 306 Frozen Ridge Rd, Newburgh (845-562-4268, lawrencefarmsorchards.com). Daily 9am–4pm through Nov 23. $3 per person, children under 2 free. Call ahead for produce pricing.
Its name is no lie; tending to more than 15,000 fruit trees is proof enough that this farm hearts its harvest. Along with fall faves like a market and a petting zoo, kids can enjoy weekend pony rides, the farm's mini pig, Ellie May, an adorable white mini horse and a Mexican cantina with kid-friendly fare. There's also an old-fashioned ice cream shop, which serves homemade cones and sundaes made from their own fruit. 1421 Rte 9H, Ghent (518-828-5048, loveapplefarm.com). Daily 9am–5pm. Apple prices subject to change.
Perennial pickers swear by this 200-acre orchard with 20,000-plus trees, the first fruit farm in the state to switch to pick-your-own (back in 1972). Visitors can drive right up and enjoy a picnic lunch under the tree of their choice. Don't be afraid to sample the goods: Here, unlike in Oz, snacking on apples while you pick is encouraged! Wagon rides, a haunted house, barnyard animals and pony rides add to the atmosphere on weekends, along with a corn maze that's open daily. The town of Warwick is also home to Applefest (warwickapplefest.com), which features live music, crafts and a highly competitive apple-pie-baking contest. 45 Ball Rd, Warwick (845-986-1058, maskers.com). Opens Sept 5. Daily 9am–5pm through early November. $26.95 for a half bushel. Free admission and parking. Some attraction fees may apply.
Milk Pail Farm and Orchard
At this 44-year-old homestead (which started out as a dairy farm), even smaller kids can pluck more than 20 different varieties of apples that grow on dwarf apple trees. Also available: wagon-led farm tours, fresh cider at the Milk Pail country store and a pumpkin patch with over 58 varieties of gourds weighing up to 150 pounds. And for the first time, RubyFrost, a new apple just released by Cornell University will be available for picking—just be sure to check their website for weekly updates on its availability. 1346 Montauk Hwy, Water Mill (631-537-2565, milk-pail.com). Fri–Sun 10am-5:30pm Sept 8 through October. Free admission. $43 for a half bushel.
Construction executive Derrick Doubrava purchased this Hudson Valley farm in 2003, but it's been a family-owned orchard for more than century. Visitors take a hay-wagon ride to more than 100 acres of easy-to-reach apples and—as the season allows—areas devoted to peaches, nectarines, Asian pears, strawberries, pumpkins and other veggies available for purchase at the farm stand. Doubrava's wife, Debbie, a former banker, is something of a local legend for her homemade apple-cider doughnuts, available at the farm market. 250 Hurds Rd, Clintondale (866-632-7753, minardfarms.com). Sat, Sun 10am–5pm through Nov 1. $22 for a half bushel. Apple prices subject to change
Mr. Apples Orchard
Philip "Apples" (his well-earned nickname) inherited this orchard from his parents but utilizes a modern, Earth-friendly approach to farming and sprays his apples and pears with only a minimal amount of pesticides. McIntosh and Cortlands are at peak in September, while October is prime time for Red. Phil says you can still pick in early November: "A light frost won't hurt 'em." This part of Ulster County is rife with natural wonders, including the nearby Rondout River and its eye-catching waterfalls, so leave time for an invigorating hike. 25 Orchard St, High Falls (845-687-9498, mrapples.com). Daily 10am–5:30pm until mid-November. Prices subject to change.
The Orchards of Concklin
If your kids still have energy to spare after apple-picking at this venerable orchard (it's been around since 1712!), they can bounce the buzz away in the haunted blow-up house or on the giant slide (open from noon to 5pm). From April through the end of the year, each month boasts a special offering; expect plenty of apple-and pumpkin–picking in October (plus their annual Harvest Festival), and in November freshly baked Thanksgiving pies are up for sale. Sample a homemade quiche or pick out a pumpkin to take home. 2 South Mountain Rd, Pomona (845-354-0369, theorchardsofconcklin.com). Season begins September 20. Sat, Sun 10am–5pm for five weekends (call for availability). $9 per person includes 1/2 peck bag, children under 3 free. Pole rentals for $2 with $5 deposit.
Its name may not inspire hunger pangs, but Outhouse's mouthwatering selection of homemade doughnuts, fudge, pies and other goodies will. No sweet tooth? Then gnaw on a smoked turkey leg, one of the other savory options available here. Our favorite part of the farm is its selection of PYO apples, including Red Delicious, Cortland, McIntosh, Empire, McCoun and more. After filling up on food, kids can pay a visit to the farm animals, and saunter over to the pony rides and hayrides on weekends. 130 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem (914-277-3188, outhouseorchardsny.com). Daily 9am–5pm. $25 per half bushel.
Stone Ridge Orchard
There have been fruit-bearing trees here for more than 200 years, but the farm's approach to sustainability is very 21st-century. Eco-friendly practices like minimal pesticide use and substituting mulch for synthetic fertilizers helped the orchard get certified by Eco Apple, a program of the organic/fair trade nonprofit Red Tomato. You'll find kid-oriented activities here, including a pumpkin house to visit. But Stone Ridge is, primarily, apple-crazy: There are more than a dozen kinds of organic apples for visitors to pick—including classics like McIntosh, Cortland and Stayman—but much of the land has been given over to newer breeds growing on smaller, more densely planted trees, which manager Elizabeth Ryan says puts less stress on the soil and produces bigger and sweeter fruit. Take a bite and judge for yourselves. 3012 Rte 213, Stone Ridge (845-687-2587, stoneridgeorchard.us). Daily 9am–5pm Labor Day Weekend through late October. $9 for a five-pound bag, $17 for a 10-pound bag, $20 for a 27-pound bag.
New Jersey & Pennsylvania
This Garden State homestead has a lot more than apples to pick from (though it's got plenty of those). Visitors can load up on peaches, pumpkins, Indian corn, blackberries and raspberries throughout the fall. On Family Fun Days, little ones run wild in a bouncy house, take a pony ride, hop along at the bunny run and trot along the new goat walk. There's also a cornucopia of corn activities, including a maize maze and a corn kingdom (like a ball pit, but filled with corn and toys). All those ears will probably make folks hungry—so reward the whole family with homemade ice cream, flavored with bounty from the farm. 84 Route 513, Chester (908-879-7189, alstedefarms.com). Daily 9am–6pm through end of October. Apples $1.99 per pound, pumpkins 65c per lb.
Admission Mon–Thurs 9am–6pm free, Mon–Thurs noon–6pm $5, Fri 9am–6pm $5, Sat, Sun 9am–6pm $7.
Demarest Farms’ PYO won’t disappoint—you can pick your own apples, pears and pumpkins, depending on the season (August through October is prime time for picking). It’s also a great place to cruise through a corn maze, sip freshly pressed apple cider, taste local ice cream, grab a handful of Indian corn to decorate the house and pick up seasonal flowering plants like mums. 244 Wierimus Rd, Hillsdale, NJ (201-666-0472, demarestfarms.com). Mon–Fri 3–4:30pm, Sat, Sun 10am–4:30pm. $5 entry fee, which includes a hayride and access to the corn maze and farm animals.
At this Central Jersey farm, fill your barrel with Cortland, Empire, Fuji and Granny Smith, or sweeten the pot with in-season peaches. Kids love the tractor rides that start in late-September and run through the top of the orchards to picking areas, and in October, families can pick their jack-o'-lanterns and enjoy a bumpy hayride on weekends only for an extra fee. At the nearby roadside market, visitors can load up on fresh produce, and homemade doughnuts, apple cider and pumpkin pies. 223 Meyersville Rd, Gillette (908-647-0957). Daily 9am–6pm through late Oct. Pricing varies
The 70-acre orchard has amassed a devoted following—not just for its bountiful apples, flowers and pumpkins but also for its legendary cider. Winesap, Braeburn and Fuji apples are up for grabs in the pick-your-own area, or choose pumpkins from the farmers' market. Leave time for a leisurely drive through scenic Bucks County. 3325 Creamery Rd, New Hope, PA (215-297-8079, soleburyorchards.com). Apple picking starts August 29. Thu–Sun 9am–6pm Aug 27 through Nov 15.
Sun High Orchard
Fred and Ranghild Bostrom planted the first fruit trees on Sun High's 25 acres back in 1945. Today, kids can pick their own apples (starting in early September) and pumpkins (starting the last weekend of September), then relax playing checkers or Candy Land in front of a refurbished beehive oven, where fresh fruit pies bubble and bake. Weekend hayrides are a popular draw, as are visits with the farm's inhabitants, including sheep, rabbits, ducks (and adorable ducklings in springtime), donkeys, and an alpaca named Jersey Gold. The farm's on-site market sells crafts, fresh produce, baked goods, apple cider and homemade ice cream. 19 Canfield Ave, Randolph (973-584-4734, sunhigh.com). Daily 9am–6pm until late October. Pricing varies.
Right around the corner from Gary and Pam Mount's main farm, the couple's Van Kirk Orchard is ideal for apple picking, with dwarf trees planted in blocks so that they're easy to find and plunder (no ladders or poles necessary). On Tuesdays starting in August children ages four to eight are invited to the Read and Pick Pumpkins event, where they'll hear stories about the squash, then select their own ($7; includes fruit of season). During Family Fun Weekends ($5 per person), guests can meet farm animals, get lost in a corn maze, take wagon rides, visit the theme story barn—and, naturally, pick plenty of apples and pumpkins. Wooded trails and the barnyard (filled with sheep, goats and ducks) are open year-round. And for mom and dad, new this year is the Terhune Orchards Vineyard & Winery tasting room, where adults can taste award-winning wines grown on the farm. 330 Cold Soil Rd, Princeton (609-924-2310, terhuneorchards.com). Daily 9am–5pm through October. $1.35 per pound.
Visit beautiful Weavers Orchard for pick-your-own apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, kiwiberries, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins, raspberries and strawberries. It also has freshly pressed cider in the year-round farm market, alongside a bakery, deli and delicious Nelson’s Ice Cream. On Mondays and Wednesdays throughout picking season, kids can attend Read and Pick Story Time ($5) to hear a story about an in-season fruit and then head out to the orchard to pick it! A final bonus for parents: They even host cooking classes with seasonal fruits and veggies. 40 Fruit Ln, Morgantown, PA (610-856-7300, weaversorchard.com). PYO Mon–Fri 7am–7pm, Sat 7am–5pm. $1.69 per lb.
Think your kid has mastered corn mazes? The Wightman family—which started this homestead in 1922—has a plethora of labyrinths, including a crawl maze, giant hay maze, pipe maze and a challenging rope maze (kids under 7 can play in the Kiddie Corn Pit, a giant corn-filled sandbox.) After plucking some peaches and Granny Smiths, swing by the market for healthy produce and not-so-healthy homemade apple-cider doughnuts. 1111 Mt. Kemble Ave (Rte 202), Morristown (973-425-0840, wightmansfarms.com). Sat, Sun 9am–5pm through October. $11 pick-your-own mandatory membership fee plus $1.79 per pound
This family-owned farm in scenic Washington, CT has been continuously operated by the Averills since 1746, functioning for many years as a dairy farm. Today, it offers around 20 varieties of delicious apples and pears grown on 30 acres of orchard (with over 100 varieties grown in total throughout the season). Don't leave without a cider donut or cup of cider (both made on the premises)! In recent years, the Averills have also started offering sparkling hard cider and apple wine, both available for purchase by the bottle. Pro tip: In December after the farmstand closes, there are cut-your-own (and pre cut) trees along with frozen cider donuts available for purchase at a stand in front of the Averill residence. 250 Calhoun St, Washington, CT 06794 (860-868-2777, averillfarm.com). PYO runs Aug 15 through Nov 25 9:30am–5:30pm at the farmstand. Dec 9:30am–4:30pm at the homestead. Free orchard entry and parking. Apple prices vary, sold by the lb.
Beardsley's Cider Mill & Orchard
The Beardsley family has owned this farm since 1849. Honeycrisp, Fuji, Granny Smith and other varieties hang off the more than 5,000 dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees. In the farm store, you'll find homemade pies, cookies, apple-fried dough, cider donuts, pumpkin cheesecake, local honey and more. 278 Leavenworth Rd (Rte 110), Shelton (203-926-1098, beardsleyscidermill.com). PYO Sept–Oct 10am–5pm. Prices vary.
Since 1951, this fruit orchard has been growing peaches, Bartlett and Bosc pears, plums and 16 different varieties of apples. But the original trees, which required ladders and poles to harvest, have been replaced with smaller ones grown on trellises, and there are wagon rides to ferry visitors to the picking areas on weekends. At the farm stand, visitors can pick up home-canned preserves, corn, cider and honey (and even get up close to the honeybees during beehive demonstrations). 251 Wallingford Rd, Cheshire (203-272-7985, drazenorchards.com). Daily 9am–5:30pm. $1.35-$1.75 per pound.
Buy a bag and pick your favorite apples—or try less-common varieties like Mutsu Crispin, Nittany and Cameo—at this farm founded by owner Irv Silverman's father in the 1920s. The amazing petting zoo also offers more exotic fare, such as buffalo, llamas, emus and longhorn cattle. Get your kids psyched for Halloween early at the farm's decorated pumpkin patch, which goes up in mid-September: It's home to colorful fall squashes, gourds, cornstalks and scarecrows. (If you guess the weight of your pumpkin within two ounces, it's yours for free.) 451 Sport Hill Rd, Easton (203-261-3306, silvermansfarm.com). Daily 9:30am–4:30pm through early October. $10 per person for a 7-pound bag, children under 2 free