The best apple picking near Chicago
From Chicago: 60 miles northwest
Open daily, this orchard specializes in apples (15 varieties) and Asian pears. Expect to walk away with at least one peck, a 10-pound bag of apples, which is the minimum for a group of one to four. Before you pick, stop by the farm's Koffee Kiosk for caffeine and a slice of pie to get you in the mood.
From Chicago: 65 miles west
This orchard is worth the 90-minute drive (and it's not too far from Shabbona Lake State Park if you want to make a day of it). You'll find more than a dozen types of apples avaiable for U-Pick and in the country store. Kids will love the petting zoo and getting dirty climbing on bales of hay. Oh, and did we mention this orchard doesn't charge admission? That's right. Entry is free, and so are all of the activities.
From Chicago: 50 miles northwest
This orchard is only open to the public on weekends, but the variety of apples and pastries make it a worthy stop. The trees here are small enough for kids to grab apples on their own. Picking extends into November (if there's supply left), which gives this orchard a leg up on other nearby outposts.
From Chicago: 65 miles north
This orchard offers no shortage of activity. The dwarf trees in the U-pick area require no ladders for picking. After you gather your apples, check out the restaurant, a theater for musical productions or one of the many tours and special events on the orchard's calendar.
From Chicago: 40 miles southeast
Forty acres of U-pick apples await at this Northwest Indiana orchard, but there's a lot more to do here. Visit the petting zoo or run through the corn maze. You'll find plenty of sweet treats to buy in the bakery, including fresh-baked doughnuts, or take a snack outside to the campfire to make your own hot dogs or s'mores. Local artists call the orchard home on weekends during barnyard jams.
From Chicago: 40 miles north
This no-frills apple orchard is about an hour's drive from Chicago, but less than 40 miles away. You won't find much hoopla here, just gorgeous fields of apples. Strollers and wagons are allowed, but prepare your little ones that this is all about apple picking—there are no hayrides or corn mazes to be found.
From Chicago: 55 miles west
Take a hayride to the orchard, where visitors fill baskets with more than 20 varieties of apples, including McIntosh, Jonathan and Granny Smith. The return trip drops you at the general store stocked with pies, caramel apples and cider doughnuts.
From Chicago: 60 miles northwest
Located about a half-hour from Elgin, this low-key spot offers plenty of U-Pick apples, cider and, on the weekends, yummy baked goods. If you're looking for tons of other activities for the family, this probably isn't the spot for you, but if all you need is some good, old-fashioned apple fun in a friendly atmosphere, this is your spot.
From Chicago: 65 miles northwest
Surround yourself with more than 10,000 apple trees at this beautiful orchard. You can head straight to the fields for picking apples, check out the mini zip line or grab your place in line for the corn maze. Apple cannons, pumpkin cannons and pony rides may be available for an additional fee on holiday weekends.
From Chicago: 80 miles northwest
Royal Oak has more than 12,000 trees and 26 varieties of apples, plus late-summer raspberries. The orchard provides containers for pick-your-own types, and the store features doughnuts, caramel apples, pies and a Royal Oak specialty—apple-cider slushees.