Where to Find Apple-Picking Fun in North Carolina

Here are seven orchards your family can visit for apple fun and treats


Published:

Photo courtesy of Natalia Kirichenko/Shutterstock.com

September is prime apple-picking season at Carolina orchards. The largest N.C. crops come from Henderson County, just outside of Asheville, and include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and sweet Gala varieties. Hendersonville also hosts the annual N.C. Apple Festival each Labor Day weekend. Here are a few best bests for where to pick a peck of apples, sip on cider and sample homemade apple butter, apple-cider doughnuts and apple-cider slushes.


Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill

Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill is three hours and 30 minutes away from the Triangle in York, S.C., and grows Stayman Winesap apples. The season opens Aug. 17 and estimated pick-your-own date is Sept. 6. Stay tuned to the calendar to see updated events. Everyone 2 years of age and older must have their own pre-purchased bag to enter the orchard. Bags can be purchased at the farm stand. Prices range from $5-$25. Also be sure to check out their hard-cider tastings and live music, and try an apple-cider doughnut or fried apple pie. 1860 Black Highway, York, S.C.

 

A photo posted by Ashlei Wells (@ashleipashlei) on 

 


Carrigan Farms

Carrigan Farms is located two hours and 15 minutes away from the Triangle area in the town of Mooresville, north of Charlotte. The farm has apples ripe for the picking beginning in September and open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $11 per person, and includes a half-peck bag of apples, plus a hayride to the orchard. 1261 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy., Mooresville

 


Sky Top Orchard

Great to partner with a trip to Asheville, Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, is four hours and 15 minutes away from the Triangle and has 22 varieties of apples good for picking. Check out their ripening schedule to make sure you come at a time to pick your favorite types. You'll also find great mountain views at this orchard where you can enjoy apple-cider slushes, apple-cider doughnuts and hot caramel apples. There also are barnyard animals to visit, a playground for kids and picnic areas. You can also watch a cider press at work.

Open daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. August-October. Note GPS directions aren't always accurate, so use this address if using a GPS: 3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock

 

A photo posted by Brooke Crook (@oliversfancy) on 


The Orchard at Altapass

Four hours away from the Triangle, this orchard is located on mile 328.3 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is open from May until October. Apples are $10 a peck or $6 a half peck. The orchard even offers picking poles so your little ones can try to reach the apples on higher branches. 

Go on a story-telling hayride, a guided story-telling or nature walk, color or play checkers in the Kids’ Corner. Check the schedule for live music and other fun events. The orchard also offers children’s programs at Super Saturdays, a program of Appalachian Heritage Activities for children ages 6 to 12. 

Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1025 Orchard Road, Spruce Pine

 

A photo posted by Jessi Burns (@jessiburns) on 


Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard

Four and a half hours away from the Triangle, Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard is picking Early Fuji, Mutsu, Jonathan, Jonagold, Red and Golden Delicious, Cameo, Shizuka, and Gala Apples as well as sunflowers. Stepp's also features apple cider and pumpkin donuts for sale, a corn maze adventure, an apple cannon, wagon rides through the orchard and more.

Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m-6 p.m. through October. 170 Stepp Orchard Dr., Hendersonville


Apple Hill Orchard

Three hours away from the Triangle, Apple Hill Orchard is located just a few miles off of I-40 in Morganton near Hickory. In addition to picking apples, explore the cider mill and country store. The apple picking season starts in August for Gala and Arlet apples and continues until late October with twelve other apple varieties available.

Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. through Oct. 31. Closed Sundays. 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave., Morganton

 

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Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard is just an hour away from the Triangle and near Asheboro. There is no u-pick at this orchard this year due to weather conditions, but every weekend of September is AppleFest — an event with apple picking, hayrides, storytime with Johnny Appleseed, apple-pie-eating contests, apple bobbing and more! Admission is $8, and free for children under age 2. In October, the orchard switches to Oktoberfest, an event with pumpkin and gourd picking opposed to apples. 

AppleFest happens all September weekends: Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1-5 p.m. 506 Parks Crossroad Church Road, Ramseur

 

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Telephone: 191-990-25432
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Cost: See website for fees

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Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Cost: $11

Where:
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500 S Salisbury St
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
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Cost: $70/month

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Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
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View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
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View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Cost: Free

Where:
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
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View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

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Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
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Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
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It's your last chance to catch the Wolfpack at home this season! Help RED OUT Duke by wearing your favorite RED NC State Gear to the meet. The first 300 fans will receive an exclusive RED OUT...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center
2611 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
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Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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Preschoolers (ages 3-5 with an adult) learn what wild animals do in winter by pretending to be animals that hibernate, migrate or just stay warm in the cold, winter woods! Take a hike, do a craft,...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
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Explore nature through play!  The Main Library is partnering with local Tinkergarten leaders Heather Murphy and Kate MacCartney to bring the fun of nature indoors.  Join us as we investigate...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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January Story Time, Puppet Show & Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic Aesop fable The Lion and the Mouse. Activities include a story time,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Carrboro Library
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Carrboro Branch Library
Telephone: 919-969-3006
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
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Want a wild start to your new year?When you’re facing the after-holiday blues after packing up the decorations and taking down the tree, never fear. Come celebrate the new year in a thrilling,...

Cost: $20 - $26

Where:
Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
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Sponsor: Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Taylor Sharp

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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Spanish Alive is providing Family Spanish classes starting in January! Join us to learn Spanish as an entire family in an immersive, fun environment. Our teachers are trained Spanish educators and...

Cost: $75-$216

Where:
Spanish Alive
156 E. Chatham St
Cary, NC
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Family Wildlife Series: Owl Prowl Saturday, January 18, 6-7:15 p.m. Venture into the night on a Blue Jay hike.  Learn about owl habits and adaptations as we listen for these nocturnal birds....

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 919-870-4330
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Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.