Autumn is in the air, which means apple and pumpkin season is here. This is a favorite time of year for families across the country as they grab their baskets and wagons to hit apple farms across the country, but just like pumpkin patches, not all apple farms are created equal. You may think apples only come from Washington (let's just admit right now that they have a great marketing campaign), but there are plenty of spots producing some of the juiciest bites around, including these.
Hollabaugh Bros Farm & Market in Biglerville, Pennsylvania
Adams County, PA is one of the top five apple growing markets in the country. Bring a basket to pick your own or dig through pallets filled with more varieties of apples than you knew existed. Sign your kids up for a cooking class, stock up on all apple-related products: apple butter, apple syrup, apple sauce, apple jam, apple cider, apple dumplings and don't forget my favorite, apple cider donuts.
Sky Top Orchard, Flat Rock, North Carolina
Pick your own apples or simply come to pet the animals, have a picnic and watch the kids burn off some energy on the playground. Hot donuts are for sale on site and go perfectly with a cup of cider and a hayride around the farm. And don't worry caramel apple lovers; they have a stand just for you at the farm too. Just make sure you pack a few extra baby wipes to clean off the kids after they have devoured their own goo-covered treats.
Bishops Orchards, Guilford, Connecticut
Who doesn't love apples, llamas, alpacas and goats? Let your kids pick their own apples and make a seasonal treat for you when you get home. The farms 24-hour U-Pick hotline can tell you when to head to the farm to pick your favorite variety. Tractor rides and a hay maze are available on weekends. Don't forget to pop into the market for other fresh produce, baked-goods, and if you aren't up for picking apples yourself, you can always just grab a bucket of your favorite apples to take home.
Deardorff Orchards, Waconia, Minnesota
This Minnesota farm boasts ten varieties of apples at a their pet-friendly orchard. Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash. Hop into the barn for handmade crafts, apple cider, jams, books, pumpkins and more. You can take a tractor-pulled wagon into the trees or borrow a small red wagon to pull the kids through the orchard yourself if you need a bit of exercise. Behind the barn you will find farm animals and a haystack for some classic autumn fun.
The Farm at Swans Trail, Snohomish, Washington
Families living in and around Seattle don't always have the time to drive over the Cascade Mountains into apple country, which is why they head north of the city to the Farm at Swans Trail. This popular U-Pick spot is best known for pumpkins, but also has a thriving orchard where kids can find their own apples, paying a flat rate per pound. Don't forget to grab your cider and fresh apple cider donuts too. October always brings extra fun to the farm with animals, games and slides to keep everyone happy.
Note to parents: Weather conditions throughout the year can effect U-Pick locations, how much you can pick and when you can pick. Always call the farm before you pack up the kids so no one is disappointed. However, even if you can't go into the orchard to pick apples, you can normally still snap a few scenic photos and there will be buckets of apples for sale at the markets at each of these locations.
Where is your favorite spot to go apple picking?
Don't let mishaps ruin your getaway, be sure to get the right travel insurance policy for you!