A day at the apple orchard in the Big Apple is much more than picking several of your own. It’s also sinking your teeth into a warm apple cider donut, sipping the season’s freshest apple ciders, making your way through a corn maze, and getting your pick at the pumpkin patch. Here, a TravelingMom New Yorker shares the best places to go apple picking for your family (and even the dog) in New York City and its surrounding areas.
Best Places to Go Apple Picking in New York
As summer draws to a close, I start dreaming of that first crisp fall apple. A fun family outing is a trip to an apple orchard, where you can pick a variety of fruit and combine a day outdoors with a fall bounty.
Apple picking in New York has so many other fun family activities associated with it. There can be a pumpkin patch or corn maze, a petting zoo of farm animals and wagon rides. Some places have pumpkin festivals or haunted houses later in the season.
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The best orchards have several varieties of apples that ripen at different times, to offer a longer picking season. Many also have a farm stand where you can pick up hot apple cider donuts and freshly pressed apple cider. Of course, a short ride from the city is great too. There are many orchards clustered around the Hudson Valley, Northern New Jersey and Long Island, all ripe for a day trip. Plan your fall family activities with a trip to one of these orchards near NYC.
At most orchards, it is easy to social distance, but some places require masks and hand sanitizing before you can enter. Covid-19 restrictions include mandatory reservations at some orchards too. Check the websites to see what the rules are, what’s in season, and to make sure that the orchard hasn’t been picked clean.
Where to Go Apple Picking in New York
1. Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, in Yorktown Heights, is so close to the city you can pick your apples and be home for lunch. But carve out time for the farm market cider pressed on site and homemade pies. Here you can pick-your-own apples, peaches and pumpkins. Look for unusual varieties of apples, like Gravenstein and Wolf River. There is also a corn maze. In December, choose and cut Christmas trees. Open late August through mid-December. Dogs are not allowed.
2. Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard, in North Salem, has a large farm stand with cider donuts, six varieties of apples to pick and a corn maze. Before apple picking season, you can pick your own peaches. You can take Metro-North to Croton Falls, perfect for car-free New Yorkers or city visitors.
3. Dr. Davies Farm, in Congers, has over 4,000 apple trees with 20 varieties. You should make a reservation for apple picking; walk-ins are limited. Everyone who enters the orchard has to buy an apple bag. There are hayrides, a pumpkin patch and corn maze. On weekends, you can get homemade cider donuts and apple pies. Leashed friendly dogs are welcome; my dog, Karat, has explored the apple scented orchard with us. Cash only.
4. The Orchards of Concklin is a family-owned and operated apple orchard in Rockland Country that has been around for over 10 generations. Anyone over age three picking apples has to buy at least a 1/2 peck bag. The market has pies, cider donuts and pressed apple cider.
5. Fishkill Farms, in Hopewell Junction, has organic apples, peaches, berries and Asian pears to pick. Reservations are required, and you have to pre-pay for what you will pick. If stooping and reaching aggravates your back, come on a Saturday when there is farm yoga.
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6. Masker Orchards, in Warwick, lets you drive right up to the apple trees. It’s great for people with limited mobility or families with kids in strollers. Pushing a Maclaren over rotting apples is tough. But Masker also gets extremely crowded. There is a baby animal petting zoo, along with pony rides and wagon rides. Masker is also pet friendly.
7. Apple Dave’s Orchard, also in Warwick, courts the family and adult crowd. You can pick from a dozen varieties of apples and pick a pumpkin. There is live music, puppet shows, hayrides and a petting zoo. For the grown ups, there is a distillery.
Where to Go Apple Picking in New Jersey
8. Demarest Farms, in Hillsdale, requires a reservation and charges you to pick. The $7 (for ages 2 and up) covers parking, entrance to the orchard, hay wagon ride, two petting zoos, adventure playground and wooden play set. An empty bag, which holds about 10 pounds of apples, is an additional $12.
9. Sun High Orchards, in Randolph, is a small, quiet family farm that is great for young children. In additional to apple picking, you can pick a pumpkin. Hay rides are $1 a person. The market has apple cider and apple cider donuts. Dogs are not allowed.
Apple Picking in Long Island (yes, still New York)
10. Lewin Farms, in Calverton, is where I grew up picking apples in the fall and strawberries in June. I loved introducing my kids to this familiar place. What I love is that peach and apple seasons overlap, and you can pick both if you time your trip carefully. Early September is a good bet. And peach picking is wonderful because the dwarf trees make picking easier for kids. There is also a corn maze and farm stand. Lewin Farms is cash only.
11. Wickham’s Fruit Farm in Cutchogue is our go-to place when we are in the Hamptons. You can pick berries and cherries in summer. Pick apples in September and October. In October, there is also pumpkin picking. The historic farm, from the 1600s, has a 1902 cider press. Note: Wickham’s Fruit Farm is closed on Sundays.
12. Milk Pail is another convenient place for Hamptons owners and visitors. It is in Watermill, part of the Hamptons. And it has dwarf apple trees, so kids can easily pick fruit. Apple picking is Friday – Sunday. You have to buy a bag, which costs $49, but it holds about 20 pounds of apples. A group of up to six people can buy just one bag.
Bonus: Apple Picking IN New York City
OK, you can’t technically pick the apples. But the Queens County Farm Museum, a 47-acre farm in Floral Park, sells apples from the Hudson Valley at its farm stand. The farm offers free admission, has seasonal hayrides and a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and doughnuts and cider. Best of all, you can get there with one swipe of a MetroCard.
How to Plan an Apple Picking Adventure
Although some apple orchards are close to mass transit, if you are bringing a couple of kids, a stroller, maybe a dog – and then carrying a bushel of apples on the way home – you may prefer your own wheels. I recently drove the new Fiat 500X up to Newburgh, NY, passing several of our favorite apple picking spots along the way. The 500X easily fits a family of four, and has all wheel drive to keep you safe on the winding country roads. The sporty car get 30 miles per gallon on the highway. It has all the safety features you need, like blind spot monitoring, land departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
And in keeping with the theme, the Fiat 500X has Apple CarPlay so you can play your kid’s favorite tunes or books on tape, get directions and try to avoid traffic. The Fiat holds almost 10 bushels of apples with the seats up; with the seats down, you can cram in about 32 bushels
Start gathering recipes for apple pie!