As soon as the fall leaves start to hit the ground, the apples are ready to be picked. The crisp temperatures of North Carolina make it a great place to find the fruit in different varieties, including over 40 styles. The most common, however, are Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Rome Beauty, and Stayman.
Like parts of Georgia and Virginia, Western North Carolina is the main area where you’ll find apple orchards, including the towns of Hendersonville, Morganton, and Wilkesboro, which has its own annual apple festival.
There are even more places to buy apples, but these offer you-pick. Pack up the car and load up on apple cider doughnuts and hard cider!
The Best Places for Apple Picking in North Carolina
Apple Hill Orchard, Morganton
This apple orchard and cider mill has been family-owned and operated for five generations. They grow 22 varieties, including 18 that are available for you-pick, which operates from mid-August until they run out, usually by November.
Because of the pandemic and a cold snap this year, there are fewer apples to pick. Apple Hill Orchard has a “picking pass” that costs $3 and must be purchased online in advance. Don’t forget to stop by the market for cider and pies. The farm also grows peaches and nectarines and offers wagon rides.
Carrigan Farms, Mooresville
Carrigan Farms is also family-operated and fifth-generation. The Carrigan family first settled in the Mooresville area in the 1700s. The couple that now owns it has a background in agronomy and horticulture.
Apple picking is available this year by reservation only, through October 1, and the petting zoo and hayrides won’t be offered. The farm also grows strawberries, sunflowers, and pumpkins and offers a fall event called Scarrigan Farms. It is popular for weddings and allows swimming in the onsite quarry during summer months.
Coston Farm, Hendersonville
The you-pick apple season begins at Coston Farm in mid-September on weekends only. The farm offers Golden Delicious, Cameo, Granny Smith, Fuji, Rome Beauty, Mutsu, Stayman, Cortland, Early Fuji, Arkansas Black, and Jonagold varieties.
Visit the bakery for apple pies and cakes, along with apple cider and apple butter. The farm also grows for the Gerber company of baby food.
Grandad’s Apples, Hendersonville
Visitors come to this Hendersonville orchard for its Golden Delicious variety. Grandad’s offers you-pick apples through the end of October. The 100-acre family farm also has a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and a country store with apple pies, apple cider doughnuts, jams, and cider.
Justus Orchards, Hendersonville
The Justus family has been operating their farm for four generations and offers you-pick apples. Some varieties are already out for the year, but you can still pick Golden Delicious, Crimson Crisp, and other styles. The farm also offers blackberry picking, pumpkins, and a farm stand with apple pies, ciders, and doughnuts.
Millstone Creek Orchards, Ramseur
Apple picking may be over for the 2021 season, but usually, Millstone Creek has apples available in the orchards. Apple cider doughnuts and cider are available from the market. During other times of year, the farm has a pumpkin patch, live music, and kids events.
Sky Top Orchard, Flat Rock
Open since the 1960s, Sky Top is a family-run farm that boasts stunning mountain views. You-pick is offered from early August until the end of October and includes Ginger Golds, Honeycrisps, Pink Lady, and Arkansas Black varieties.
In addition to apple picking, visitors can enjoy farm animals, a bamboo forest, and treats like apple cider and doughnuts.
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard, Hendersonville
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard is a family-run 70-acre farm open daily for picking of Rome apples. The farm also grows Red Delicious, Jonagold, Ambrosia, Granny Smith, Early Fuji, and Golden Delicious varieties. Visitors can enjoy the corn maze and hayrides, along with the farm market and bakery.
Where to Eat When Apple Picking in North Carolina
Looking for somewhere to eat when apple picking? The orchards all have bakeries with snacks, but for a full meal, stick to Hendersonville. Never Blue has a little bit of everything, including flatbreads, salads, and tapas. Arabella serves breakfast and brunch with dishes like bagels, biscuits and gravy, and huevos rancheros.
Where to Stay When Apple Picking in North Carolina
Spend a few nights in charming Hendersonville. Skylaranna Hotel & Resort has amenities like an onsite restaurant, fitness center, and daily breakfast. The 1898 Waverly Inn is located in a historic home and is furnished with antiques.Or enjoy privacy at the rustic Apple Valley Cabin, which has a fire pit and hot tub.