Apple Picking in NC + 11 Amazing Orchards to Visit

Last Updated on April 13, 2021

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32 states in the US produce apples commercially, and North Carolina ranks 7th among them. With such a massive collection of orchards, you’d better believe there are some incredible opportunities for apple picking in North Carolina.

Before we share the 11 family-owned farms and orchards waiting for you to come and pick every year, we want to provide a little background on this very powerful crop. We’ll also share when we can start picking and some of the state’s largest (and bucket list-worthy) celebrations that are all about apples.

This post is a part of our series covering food in North Carolina.

Apple Picking in North Carolina

Here’s how we’ve organized this guide to Apple Picking in North Carolina:

  • When and Where to Pick?
  • NC Apple Festivals
  • Apple Picking in NC: The Orchards

When and Where Can We Start Picking?

Apple harvesting season starts in mid-August and goes through the end of October. With more than 40 varieties of apples to pick in North Carolina, there are also many ways to enjoy them. The highest concentration of apple orchards is in Henderson County, just 25 miles south of Asheville.

Don’t worry. We’ll share just where a few of them are, including other cities throughout Western and Central North Carolina.

North Carolina Apple Festivals

The NC Apple Festival

Millstone Creek Orchards in Ramseur brings Apple Cider Slushies, Pumpkins, and More Farm Fun to Your NC Bucket List!

Hendersonville wins for most apple orchards in this guide. The mountain town also hosts the NC Apple Festival for four days during Labor Day Weekend (sometimes August and usually September).

A parade, music, crafts, and scenic tours of the orchard make this family-friendly event one to keep on your calendar.

2020 NC Apple Festival Note

The 2020 NC Apple Festival is still taking place from September 4-7, 2020, but there will not be any music of the annual parade. Instead, festival-goers are asked to enjoy a self-guided tour of the orchards, food, and shopping at each location

Apple Harvest Festival

Another festival celebrating North Carolina’s crisp crop is the Apple Harvest Festival in Waynesville. This festival takes place on the third Saturday of October and boasts plenty of caramel apples, crafts, and old-fashioned games.

Apple Picking in North Carolina: The Orchards

We organized these orchards in alphabetical order and included the town and county where each is located. Hendersonville (5) and Henderson County (6) were the clear champions of this guide in sheer numbers, but these other orchards and regions produce winning combinations of apples, too!

Also, since we’re big fans of apple cider donuts (aren’t you?), we’ll share whether or not they’re offered. For a visual representation of all these apple picking orchards in North Carolina, please scroll to the bottom of this post.

Apple Hill Orchard

Morganton, Burke County
Apple Cider Donuts: Yes

Apple Hill Orchard dates back to 1930, and while time has moved forward, the North Carolina apple picking tradition is still strong! Just south of Morganton, Apple Hill Orchard has pre-picked or u-pick apples.

Their Farmhouse Bakery is packed with delicious donuts, pies, and 22 varieties of bread to choose from!

If you haven’t been to Burke County yet, we think you should plan a weekend in Morganton right now!

Carrigan Farms 

Mooresville, Iredell County
Apple Cider Donuts: No

Five generations of farmers have been working this land in Mooresville and today, they provide some of the best apple picking in North Carolina! With a beautiful private quarry on site, Carrigan Farms also serves as a swimming hole, wedding venue, and special event venue.

U-Pick crops include (along with apples) sunflowers, strawberries, asparagus, and pumpkins!

Coston Farm and Apple House

Hendersonville, Henderson County

It was a matter of time before that we’d be talking about Hendersonville, considering the prolific lineup of apple orchards here. The beautiful gift shop at Coston Farm and Apple House is a wonderful place to start, and they get festive with the Fall decor.

Just on looks alone, this place promises a memorable apple picking experience. But depending on the ripening schedule, you’ll have 11 varieties to choose from.

And if you brought kids, the playground here is perfect for young apple enthusiasts.

Creasman Farms

Hendersonville, Henderson County

Creasman Farms opens for u-pick on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with a normal year yielding 40 varieties of heirloom and new apples. Their apple picking orchard understandably may not have all 40 available.

However, it certainly is fun to learn from the farmers about different varieties if you get a chance to chat with them at farmers’ markets in Asheville, Brevard, and Black Mountain!

Devil Dog Orchard 

Apples in NC

Reidsville, Rockingham County
Apple Cider Donuts: No

Devil Dog Orchard is a Rockingham County gem, and a fan favorite for folks close to Greensboro and Winston-Salem. This farm has a laidback casual vibe that is quintessential for apple picking in North Carolina!

Altogether, the farm boasts 57 acres of beautiful trees, apples, and muscadine grapes.

Granddad’s Apples N’ Such 

Hendersonville, Henderson County
Apple Cider Donuts: Yes

Granddad’s Apples in Hendersonville goes above and beyond the theme here, with Apple grits, apple peelers, apple slushies! With 12o acres of just apple trees, there’s plenty of room for everyone at Granddad’s.

There is also plenty of activities for families at Granddad’s! They have a playground, Apple cannon, corn maze,  and cow train that is open Labor Day weekend. Make sure to get your cameras ready for the animals you can feed!

More than 30 different varieties await for some of the most diverse apple picking in North Carolina!

Justus Orchard

Hendersonville, Henderson County
Apple Cider Donuts: Yes

The fried apple pies at Justus Orchard make this a great destination beyond apple picking in North Carolina! Kids can play on the giant playground, bounce on the jumping pillow, and ride the cow train here, too.

At this farm near Hendersonville, you can pick from the 19 varieties and the farm staff will help guide you on how to best utilize your crop!

Millstone Creek Orchards

Ramseur, Randolph County
Apple Cider Donuts: Yes

Apple Cider Donuts in North Carolina

Millstone Creek Orchards isn’t just a North Carolina apple farm, it’s the complete family experience! Of course, it’s perfect for apple picking, but this place also has crops that are ripe even in the Spring!

During the Fall season, Millstone Creek is known for its cold-pressed apple cider and apple cider slushies! Owner Beverly Mooney shared her recipe for those famous slushies on an episode of NC Travel Chat, if you’d like to know more.

We also included Millstone Creek Orchards in our North Carolina Bucket List Book!

Note: 2020 apple picking will require pre-paid online reservations. This includes access to the u-pick fields, a hayride, apple tasting, and a mini apple cider slushie.

A visit to Millstone Creek Orchards is one of our favorite things to do in Asheboro!

The Orchard at Altapass

Spruce Pine, Mitchell County
Apple Cider Donuts: No

The Orchard at Altapass is one of the most popular places to go apple picking in North Carolina.

The Orchard at Altapass is an iconic Blue Ridge Parkway stop (Milepost 328), and a beautiful overlook with sweeping views of the apple trees.

You can pick apples and sip hot apple cider, but remember to bring your dancing shoes! Live music creates a fun festive mood from Thursday to Sunday during the apple season.

2020 UPDATE: Unfortunately, the music at The Orchard at Altapass has been suspended for this year. But check back for 2021!

The Switzerland Inn is just around the corner if you want to stay somewhere close. Nearby hikes include Linville Falls, too!

Sky Top Orchard 

Flat Rock, Henderson County
Apple Cider Donuts: YES

Hendersonville isn’t the only Henderson County town that’s known for amazing apple picking in North Carolina! Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock is an excellent place to make memories while soaking up panoramic mountain views!

The 100-acre farm also offers some of the most delicious apple cider donuts. Farm animals and an inviting bamboo forest mix the familiar and unique to make this orchard among the best in our state.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

Hendersonville, Henderson County
Apple Cider Donuts: YES

Featuring over 21 varieties of apples for picking, the 70-acres at Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard is the ultimate in fall family fun. The folks here have been working the land in Hendersonville for over 50 years.

When you visit, you can show your appreciation by devouring some apple cider donuts and pumpkin donuts, too! You can (safely) play with their apple cannon and explore the 5-acre corn maze and try not to get lost, okay?

Ready for Apple Picking in North Carolina?

We’re always ready for apple picking season here in North Carolina and can’t wait to get started. What about you? Are you ready for this fun and festive time of year?

If you’ve visited any of these orchards, we’d love to know which ones are your favorites? And if you think there’s one we need to visit that isn’t listed here, please let us know. We’re always hungry for more!

Map of Apple Orchards in North Carolina

More Fun During Fall in North Carolina

4 thoughts on “Apple Picking in NC + 11 Amazing Orchards to Visit”

  1. Please check out Many Rivers Farm in Bahama, NC. Apples (47 varieties), peaches, blackberries and Asian pears. U-pick or we pick.


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