Wholesome Atlanta Apple Picking with Kids
Atlanta apple picking checks every box for an enjoyable fall outing—getting close to Mother Nature, letting children frolic in an apple orchard, taking home delicious apples (souvenir bonus!), and enjoying that fresh autumn weather. Besides the actual apple picking, many Atlanta apple orchards and apple u-picks feature additional attractions for the young and young at heart. Apple picking near Atlanta may also involve hay rides, arts and crafts, and of course, filling one's face with as many apple-related baked goods as possible from the orchard's on-site shop (we recommend the apple doughnuts). There are no rotten apples in this bunch of wonderful Atlanta orchards!
Many of the attraction-focused apple orchards near Atlanta are only a short drive from the city, and as you drive to Woodstock, Elijay, or farther north, it's easy to be entranced by the wonderful fall colors that surround the drive. But before you head out for fall fun, keep a lookout on each orchard's website or social media page as apple-picking days and hours vary, as well as crop statuses and COVID-19 precautions. September to late October are the best times to pick apples so start finding those tasty apple pie recipes now. There's more seasonal info in our fall guide!
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The Best Apple Picking Near Atlanta
B.J. Reece Orchards —Elijay
Located in the heart of Elijay, B.J. Reece Orchards attracts families from Atlanta and the surrounding North Georgia region. The u-pick apple season runs from now until the very end of October, and B.J. Reece posts its u-pick calendar so kids and families know which apple varieties are available to pick on certain days (apples include Rome Beauty, Crimson Crisp, Golden Delicious, and Evercrisp). Everyone over the age of 2 pays $2 per person on weekdays and $5 per person on weekends for admission; then visitors purchase the bag size of their choice—$9 half-peck bag, $16 peck bag, and $28 half-bushel for u-pick. (Reminder: Weekend $5 admission includes the chance to milk a cow, play on the giant slide, and watch pig races). Families can also visit the petting farm when they want an apple break. You can even bring your four-legged family members—B.J. Reece allows leashed dogs into the orchard!
Need inspiration for all those bags of apples? B.J. Reece Orchards, around for more than 50 years, has a tasty on-site bakery and market, open Monday-Saturday, 9 am-6pm, and Sunday, 1-6 pm, selling the yummiest apple-related baked goods (we seriously recommend getting an apple cider doughnut...or five).
Hillcrest Orchards and Farms —Elijay
Hillcrest Orchards and Farms kicks off its 75th apple season this fall! Located in Elijay, Hillcrest's u-pick season runs from Labor Day weekend until Halloween and features apple varieties including Rome Beauty, Mutsu, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cameo and many more. Every weekend during the apple season, Hillcrest puts on the Apple Pickin' Jubilee (Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-6 pm)—for $15 per person admission, you get access to many attractions, including the apple tree maze, cow train rides, cow milking, mini golf, wagon rides, and more, as well as live shows, like pig racing. (Weekdays, admission is $10.) U-pick apple bags are not included in the price—$8 per half-peck bags.
The bakery is open daily 9 am-6 pm and features some of the most delicious treats that will get you in the fall spirit. Hillcrest Orchards and Farms makes apple pies, apple cider doughnuts, and their famous apple fritters. Another great part of the bakery is you get to watch the bakers at work making their apple creations.
Hillcrest Orchards offers great attractions, including cow train rides.
R&A Orchards —Elijay
Located a few miles east of Elijay, R&A Orchards has been an apple-picking destination and family-run business for more than 50 years. Every weekend in September, Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-4 pm, visitors pay $5 for admission, which includes a family-friendly tractor ride, and head to the orchard for apple picking. Available apples vary throughout the month, but available types may include Rome Beauty, Ginger Gold, Honey Crisp, Gala, and more. Small bags are $10 and large bags are $20 (and flower picking is also offered).
Red Apple Barn —Elijay
Spend the weekend in Elijay at Red Apple Barn, where u-pick happens on the weekends, Saturday, 10:30 am-5 pm, and Sunday, 1-4 pm. Admission is $9.50 which includes a tractor ride to and from the orchard, one apple from the orchard, a cup of apple cider, an apple cider doughnut, two flowers, rock and pumpkin picking, games, access to the playground, and more (kids under 2 are free). Purchase additional apples in bins at the orchard by the quarter peck ($6.50), half peck ($10.25), peck ($18.75), and half bushel with basket ($32). The market, open Monday - Saturday, 9 am-6 pm, and Sunday, 12:30-5:30 pm, sells amazing apple products, including apple breads, apple chips, apple cider and doughnuts, apple butter, and loads of other yummy items.
Deep Roots Orchard —McCaysville
Deep Roots Orchard is just that—deep rooted to Appalachia, in McCaysville, approaching Tennessee. Deep Roots is a step into another time and place, where the orchard is so much more than traditional u-pick and attractions (which are offered)—interested guests can practice yoga in the fields and then enjoy a picnic (provided by Deep Roots) among the trees. Or what about watching an outdoor movie right in the orchard, and eating concessions that go beyond cliche stale popcorn and nachos? Deep Roots Orchard offers u-pick September and October (depending on tree health and weather), for $5 access to the farm at any time, plus $3 for u-pick and the cost of apples. Guests can take a wagon ride (an additional cost) and also visit the cafe and try some truly gourmet goods, including fried fruit pies, cookies, scones, and more.
Mercier Orchards —Blue Ridge
Located a few miles north of Elijay, by the Blue Ridge mountains, sits Mercier Orchards. The family-run orchard is well known throughout Atlanta for its lush grounds, u-pick options, bakery and cafe, market store, and now hard cider. Note: This fall, there will be NO u-pick option at Mercier, due to an earlier spring freeze and staff shortage, as well as the cafe being closed due to staff shortages. Visitors can still wander the orchard grounds on the weekends. The Mercier Orchards market is still open every day, 9 am-5 pm, and offers apples available for purchase (as well as other produce, jams, jellies, and more tasty products).
Bonus: Georgia Apple Festival —Elijay
Happening in Elijay, across two weekends in October, Georgia Apple Festival is a celebration of fall, great food, art vendors, and of course, apples! Occurring October 9-10 and 16-17, Georgia Apple Festival costs $5 admission for adults, with children under 10 free. Last year's festival was canceled, so festival planners and vendors hope this year's event will be better and juicier than ever. Events include Apple Arts (arts and crafts in downtown Elijay), Apple Classic Auto Show, 5K, a parade, and much more. Make sure to check the website regularly for updates to this year's scheduled event.
Remember to check each orchard's website and/or social media as weather and other factors can affect apple-picking availability, hours of operation, and event programming.