Southern California’s apple picking season, which generally runs from Labor Day through Thanksgiving, draws apple-loving Angelenos to comparatively rural counties nearby for a fresh taste of fall and a change of scenery. The closest apple picking area to Los Angeles is Oak Glen, a small unincorporated town in San Bernardino County where a cluster of longtime orchards allow purists to pick apples straight off the tree and indulge in timeless fall treats like apple cider, apple cider doughnuts and hot chocolate (even if the actual weather outside still hovers above 80 degrees).
While the trek to Oak Glen typically takes an hour to two hours’ drive from most parts of L.A., many of these U-pick farms offer a day of worthwhile family-friendly activities, from fresh cider pressing to petting zoos and archery—hence why they’re part of our guide to the best things to do in the fall.
If you’re willing to spend three or four hours in the car, the sleepy town of Julian in San Diego County is an even more charming apple picking town—albeit better suited to an overnight trip or a longer day trip for those willing to get up even earlier to make the drive. From late October (the last few weeks of prime apple picking season) to early November, the remote mountain town also transforms into one of SoCal’s true fall foliage destinations and local bakery Julian Pie Company turns the fall bounty into some of the best pies in Southern California.
For best results and little chance for disappointment, arrive earlier in the season to ensure there are still apples on the trees (Julian’s orchards, in particular, will close whenever there aren’t enough fruits left to satisfy heavy weekend crowds.) Regardless of which SoCal apple picking towns you choose, there’s still heaps of fall fun to be had—so jump in the car and head to the best apple picking farms near Los Angeles.