Branch Out! Where to Pick Apples in Georgia

a toddler holds a u pick apple in its hand while mom looks on from the background @hillcrestorchards

The time is ripe for some good old-fashioned fun, and during the fall that means finding a nearby festival or going apple picking in Georgia. Atlanta families know North Georgia’s mountains are where they’ll find bushels of excitement and fantastic farm activities that make this fall experience worth the drive. And you can’t go wrong with a peck of crisp apples when you’re baking up fall treats for the kids or packing healthy snacks into their school lunches. If you’re looking for hardcore fun, get ready because the season’s about to start.


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It’s Almost Time to Go Apple Picking in Georgia

B.J. Reece Orchards

The apple picking season at this popular North Georgia apple orchard is about to start, and you don’t want to miss out. Offering over 20 different varieties of apples plus farm activities for kids, it’s a worthy weekend excursion for Atlanta families looking to trade the city for the country. Picking starts Aug 27 with Gala, followed by Golden Delicious and September Wonder. It goes through the next two months full speed ahead with Crimson Crisp, Red Delicious, Fuji, Pink Ladies, and so many others before rounding out the season at the end of October. You’ll want to check the U-pick calendar to find out what’s ripe and ready before driving up.

Weekends are when you’ll find all the farm activities your kids crave, and there are three different pricing levels (from $13-$26), depending on what activities your little farm hands want to try, besides apple picking, of course. Even with the starter pack kids can enjoy the farm slide, corn box, duck races, petting farm, a wagon ride, and pig races. But if you want to check out the new mega slide, the Mega Fun admission is the way to go.

To sweeten the deal even more—and entice them back in the car for the ride home—head to the on-site bakery where you’ll find delicious apple cider donuts and fried pies.

9131 Highway 52 E.
Ellijay, GA
Online: reeceorchards.com

Related: The North Georgia Apple Festival You Need to Visit in October

The Folk Collaborative

Set on a hillside below a little country church on the border of Georgia and Tennessee, The Folk Collaborative (formerly Deep Roots Orchard) offers a different kind of North Georgia apple picking experience for families. Focused on community collaboration and support, this small orchard has a lot to offer. It’s a chance to slow down and even turn back the clock and remember life before our modern-day hustle and bustle. And while you won’t find cow trains and bouncy pillows here, you will find authentic experiences that let you leave the farm with a little more knowledge than you had before you came. 

Apple picking started on August 1, and it runs through the end of October. It’s $3 to enter the orchard and then families are charged by the peck or bushel, starting with a 1/4 peck for $5 up to five bushels for $61. Make the most of your trip to go apple picking in Georgia by booking a picnic or Fire on the Mountain, a bonfire dinner experience with hot dogs and s’mores. Our suggestion? Try a few of the add-ons for this one, like storytelling and a wagon ride for a truly memorable time. Before you go, be sure to stop at the old apple barn that’s now an herbal apothecary, swap some stories, and pick up some home baked goodies, too.

Insider Tip: For a real treat, head to the orchard on a Cider Day (Saturdays starting September 17). You’ll get a tour of the orchard before you have the chance to press your own cider on their vintage press. Plus, you get to take some home. We think you’d be hard pressed to find a better old school experience for the kids.

2984 Mobile Rd.
McCaysville GA
Online: folkapothic.com

Mercier Orchards

The state’s largest apple orchards, Mercier Orchards, in Blue Ridge abounds with apples and all kinds of activities for families. When it comes to apple picking in Georgia, this is the quintessential spot. In fact, this family-owned farm is once again being nominated as one of USA Today’s Best Orchards. Find out what all the fuss is about when you take the kids to pick apples, ride tractors, and fish starting Labor Day weekend, and running through the end of October. Of course, no visit to this farm would be complete without a trip to the bakery to snag a few fresh-baked hand pies before heading home.

Insider Tip: Plan to pick at this orchard on the weekend so you can catch a live concert while you’re there.

8660 Blue Ridge Dr.
Blue Ridge, GA
Online: mercier-orchards.com

Related: Labor Day Weekend Events for Atlanta Families

Hillcrest Orchards

Starting September 3, 2022, Hillcrest Orchards is where you’ll want to be on the weekends through October. That’s when Hillcrest hosts its Apple Picking Jubilee. For $18 kids can pick their own apples from Hillcrest’s dwarf apple trees where they’ll find Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Granny Smith, Cameo, Arkansas Black, Candy Crisp, and Gold Rush varieties. Beyond some seriously sweet fruit, they can also try their hand at milking a cow before running off to find the pedal carts and trikes, cow train, giant slides, and the petting farm where animal interactions are encouraged. Then it’s time to grab some apple cider donuts and sit back to enjoy a live show (think: clogging and chicken chases). Don’t forget to make your way through the apple maze during your visit. Sort of like a corn maze, kids will have a blast making their way through the twisted branches, learning all about apples as they go.

9696 Highway 52 E.
Ellijay, GA
Online: hillcrestorchards.net

Related: How Families Can Volunteer to Pick Apples in the City

Red Apple Barn

a little kid in yellow boots reaches up to pick apples from a u-pick tree
iStock

Red Apple Barn has plan to open the orchard for u-pick apples on August 27, 2022. It will run each weekend until all the apples have been picked (usually sometime in October). Find your favorite varieties among the trees like Detroit Red, Gala, Honeycrisp, Red Beauty, Jonagold, Cameo, and Arkansas Black. A quarter-peck costs $6 and prices go up from there. Admission to the farm ($10 per person and free for kids 2 and under) includes a wagon ride to and from the fields, plus an apple, a cup of cider, a donut, and time on the playground where you’ll find a cool tire swing. Other farm activities include animals petting farm, rock painting, and games.

Insider Tip: The pumpkin patch will open in late September. A great way to kill two birds with one stone for busy parents.

3379 Tailscreek Rd.
Ellijay, GA
Online: redapplebarn.com

Related: Leaf Love: Fall Family Hikes Loaded with Color

R & A Orchards

Just outside of Ellijay, you’ll find this family-owned, 150-acre apple orchard that also features a farm market, bakery and cafe—don’t miss the fried pies, chicken and dumplings, sandwiches, and fudge. Right now the folks at R & A have plans to offers U-pick apples on the weekends starting Labor Day weekend. It runs until they’re picked out, usually around the first of November. Your apple picking experience includes a short tractor ride out to the orchard. Along the way you’ll learn about the orchard’s history and the different varieties of apples grown there. Then it’s time to pick as many apples as your family needs to bake up enough goodies to get you through fall. Apples are priced per half-peck bag. 

5505 Hwy. 52 E.
Ellijay GA 
Online: randaorchards.com

Editor’s Note: Hillside Orchard Farms will not offer apple picking this year. But families can definitely check out their corn maze that opens October 1, 2022.

Apple Picking Tips:

1. Remember to always call ahead since farm hours and crop availability are constantly in flux.

2. Many farms are cash only, so hit the bank before hitting the road.

3. Pack your sunscreen, hats, bug spray, and water to keep the kids happy when they’re out in the orchards. Sturdy shoes are another plus for this family apple picking adventure.

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