Berry picking is an essential summer pastime, especially for families. But even if you live smack dab in the action in Chicago, you can still take a day trip to find a farm where you can pick your own strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and more. Many spots also have other fun, kid-friendly attractions like petting zoos or wagon rides. Bring those berries home to make your own dessert when you just can't get out to nab one of the city's best pies, or blend a handful up for your own take on one of Chicago's best frozen cocktails, long after the kids have fallen asleep.
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The best places for berry picking
This farm mecca has plenty to do beyond your average farm. In addition to berry picking, Stade's has a full market, farm tours, sunset hayrides and a petting zoo at certain times of the year. Check out the stash of strawberries in June, or head there in July for perfect raspberries, green beans and sugar snap peas.
When fall rolls around, it's all about apples, but come summer you'll find raspberries, strawberries, tart cherries, blueberries and currants. Located outside of Rockford, this spot is close to other fun summer attractions like the Magic Waters Waterpark. Enjoy a day out with nature and make sure to stop in the bakery on your way out for apple cider doughnuts, home-made apple pie and cinnamon bread.
Situated just 60 miles south of Chicago, this sweet blueberry farm offers 10 acres of fruit-packed bushes, pies, honey, preserves, and more. More impressive yet, there are seven varieties of blueberries growing here, offering pickers a new taste on the classic fruit. Head out to the farm to pick your own or grab a container to go.
Hop on a horse-drawn wagon for this berry picking adventure. Depending on the month, you might find cherries, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, among other fine produce, at this Indiana spot. Just call ahead to be sure what's available. In fall, check the calendar for live music on the weekends.
Pick blueberries, buy honey, take home some jam or just hang out on the farm at this family-owned getaway situated approximately 90 minutes from Chicago. Pickers will delight in the sheer number of options; strawberries, blackberries, pears, peaches, blueberries and apples are all available here.