It’s apple picking season, and there are plenty of great apple orchards near Chicago so you can take part in this family-favorite tradition!
One of the best (and worst) parts about living in Chicago is the season changes. They all have their perks, but fall is particularly magical in the Midwest. One of the best activities for family fun this time of year is spending time at an apple orchard! It’s a fantastic way to enjoy nature and show kids the connection between the food they eat and where it comes from. Plus, they have fun learning some fun apple recipes and take pride in knowing they picked the fruit that made it!
Before you go, here are a couple of tips:
- Some apples are better for baking, some are better for eating raw, some are better for making into apple butter. Once you have some plans for your apples, see which orchards are currently offering varieties that work with your plans. This post from Recipe Lion serves as a good guide to apple varieties.
- All of the orchards are at least 25 minutes outside of Chicago, so consider if there’s anything else you’d like to do near the orchard. County Line is near the Indiana Dunes, Royal Oak Farm Orchard is close to Lake Geneva, and Apple Holler is near some outlet malls but, more importantly, it’s close to the Brat Stop. Make a whole day or weekend out of your apple-picking adventure!
- If you go later in the season, bring tall friends. I’m a small, but mighty 5″1, so later in the season the apples that are reachable for me and the children are picked over.
Whether you’re looking for the full agricultural entertainment experience with hay rides, corn mazes, and apple cannons, or you want a quieter, more nature-filled apple-picking experience, there’s an orchard that’s perfect for your family..
The orchards are listed in no particular order.
1. Apple Holler
Apple Holler is one of the largest U-Pick apple orchards in Chicagoland, and it’s located between Milwaukee and Chicago. It’s also convenient for north siders and people with easy access to I-94. It includes a fun train ride to the orchards and has lots of family-friendy activities including a corn maze, petting zoo, slides and more. They have a full service restaurant on site and additional food stalls that serve brats, hot dogs, hot pretzels and, of course, apple cider donuts.
Some apples are already available for picking, but check their website for the picking calendar.
All Seasons is located in Woodstock, Illinois about 50 miles northwest of Chicago. It has one largest Honeycrisp apple orchards in northern Illinois. They have a 10-acre corn maze, kids’ activities, a pumpkin patch, a country kitchen, and a dessert bar. They also have U-Pick asian pears!
Woodstock has a charming town square that is the proud filming location of the great American classic, Groundhog Day. It’s also near the Illinois Railway Museum, so fans of trains and fans of Groundhog Day can have a fun-filled day out in Woodstock.
All Seasons separates the other activities from the apple picking pricing, so you can still enjoy other activities if apple picking isn’t your thing.
Opens August 26th, 2023
County Line is the only orchard on this list that is south and east of Chicago, making it a great pick for south siders. It’s also close to the Indiana Sand Dunes, so you can head over to the picturesque national park before or after you pick your apples. In addition to apple picking, County Line has pumpkin picking, sunflower picking, bee yurts, a kids farm, a “moo choo” train ride, and live music.
Opens August 31st, 2023
Royal Oak Farm Orchard is located 65 miles north west of Chicago in Harvard, IL. It has a train, carousel, hayrides and America’s first apple tree maze. It’s only 20 miles from Lake Geneva, WI which has great restaurants, hotels and water parks, so it could make for a great weekend trip.
Fall Fun and Apple Picking starts August 19th, 2023
Jonamac Orchard is located about 65 miles straight west of Chicago. They have activities for kids, private campfire sites, live music and food trucks, a haunted corn maze, hay rides, a cider house, and more.
Heinz Orchard is the closest orchard to Chicago, and they consider themselves a no-frills orchard. They don’t have a straw maze or farm animals, but they do have beautiful apple trees and a few different varieties of u-pick apples. They do not charge an admission fee and parking is free, so this is definitely one of the most affordable places to go apple picking near Chicago.
It’s $10 for a half peck bag or $20 for full peck bag. They also sell raw honey from their beehives!
Check the Orchard’s website for their opening date or call 847-770-3449 for crop availability.
Kuipers Family Farm is family-run orchard with many different varieties of apples. You can pick your own apples, or you can purchase pre-picked apples from their Orchard Gift Shop and Bakery. They also sell caramel apples, apple pie, fresh apple cider and homemade apple cider donuts!
They have lots of other outdoor activities during the fall season, like pumpkin patches, pig races, and a haunted forest!
The Apple Orchards open August 26th, but the Pumpkin Farm and Fun Farm open on September 16th.
Check the apple information page or call (815) 827-5200 Ext. 1 for apple availability.
Prairie Sky Orchard is a small family-owned orchard with 15 different types of apples available for picking. They usually open in early September and close in late October, but check their Facebook Page for the exact dates!
Edwards Orchard has been around since 1964, and they have a U-Pick orchard, U-Pick pumpkins, and a delicious farm market with freshly-pressed apple cider and apple cider donuts.
They open for the season on August 25th, 2023. ‘
Homestead Orchard has been around since 1839 and has 23 varieties of apples for picking. They have a country store with handmade goods, glassware, candles, and antique furniture for sale in their 1880s horse barn!
They. have apple varieties available from late August through late October. Check their website, social media pages, or call 815-338-7443 for apple availabilities.
Keller’s Farmstand is one of the best places to get some fresh air, enjoy some kettle corn, fruit trees, their annual fall festival. They have pumpkin picking, an 8-acre corn maze, and the great pumpkin run 5k.
Goebbert’s Farm actually has two locations, but the apple orchards are located in Pingree Grove. So, if you want apple picking to be part of the adventure, definitely go to the Pingree Grove location. In addition to apple picking, they have a full fall festival with a haunted house, playground, pumpkin express train, a pumpkin-eating dinosaur, jumping pillow, and more. Some attractions have additional fees.
The fall festival and apple orchards open on August 25th.
Anderson Farm Orchard is no-frills orchard with delicious apple treats. Check their Facebook Page for updates!
Honey Hill Orchard is more of a pure apple-picking experience without the farm park, petting zoos, and corn mazes.
This is the perfect place to go if you want a quieter experience with a focus on the apples. They have weekend events with food trucks and wagon rides every weekend starting in mid September.
They do not charge an admission fee , but everyone over 2 must purchase a bag.
Stade’s Farm and Market has become a family-favorite spot with lots of fun things to do in the fall.
They have a large orchard with 20 different apple varieties for picking. Their website displays approximate picking times, so you can plan your visit around your favorite variety.
In addition to apple picking, they have an annual fall festival with tons of family=friendly activities, many of which were added last year, including a bunny village, apple cannons, jumping pillow, and more!
Don’t forget to check out Countrytime Creamery, an old-fashioned ice cream shop, located on the farm.
Apple-picking begins at the end of August, and the Shades of Autumn Fall Festival runs for 9 weekends from Labor Day to October 29th.
Valley Orchard is more about the apples and delicious food and less about the attractions. They have homemade fudge, delicious cider, pre-picked or U-Pick apples, and they are one of the only dog-friendly orchards around!
Opens August 25th, 2023
Brightonwood Orchards is a beautiful orchard between Milwaukee and Chicago. This orchard is unique in that it is NOT a “pick-your-own orchard”, but visitors can enjoy walking through the orchard and wood trails.
There is no admission fee and free parking, and you can purchase apple and pear trees, pre-picked apples, jellies, jams, and more from the apple barn.
There is also a two-story tree house for kids, and AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery, an on-site winery and distillery, for adults!
Opens August 19th, 2023
Located just 7 miles from gorgeous Lake Geneva, Hafs Road Orchard is another no-frills orchard that does not offer pick-your-own apples, but they have a wide variety of pre-picked apples and hand-dipped Honeycrisp caramel apples.
Opens August 25th, 2023
Apple Barn Orchard and Winery is a family-owned orchard that offers U-Pick apples, a bakery, and fresh fruit wines.
They have free parking, free admission, free wine tastings, and free tractor rides.
The fruit wines and baked goods are available, but apple picking opens mid to late September.
Curtis Orchard is a great family-friendly orchard and pumpkin patch near the University of Illinois. They have U-Pick apples, a pumpkin patch, face painting, pony rides, putt-putt, a goat petting zoo, and more!
Some U-Pick apples are already available for picking, but check the website throughout the season for apple variety availability.