Kids can pick apples at Apple Holler from mid-August to November, just over an hour from Chicago.
Kids can pick apples at Apple Holler from mid-August to November, just over an hour from Chicago.

Best Orchards for Apple Picking with Kids Near Chicago

The Chicago school year has hardly begun, but fall harvest season is already in full swing at several orchards throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. Families willing to take a one- or two-hour drive can get away to enjoy country life for a day, with hay rides, petting zoos, corn mazes, and apple picking. Some orchards even offer pumpkin picking and other fruits throughout the season.

We’ve picked out a baker’s dozen of the best apple orchards within a two-hour drive of Chicago for your picking (and, perhaps, pie-baking) enjoyment. Kids can play farmer for a day without breaking the bank at these 13 orchards.

Kids can pick from the trees at All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock

Apple Picking Northwest of Chicago

All Seasons Orchard—Woodstock, IL
14510 IL Route 176
70 minute drive from Chicago Loop
In addition to apple and pumpkin picking, kids can enjoy more than 30 barnyard activities at All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock. A corn maze, petting zoo, giant animals, zip line, magic shows, pig races, bouncy houses, and pumpkin bowling are among the family favorites. The orchard is open daily in September and October and includes 15,000 apple trees. During some times of the season, little pickers can also get their hands on Asian pears straight from the tree.

Royal Oak Farm Orchard—Harvard, IL
15908 Hebron Road
95 minute drive from Chicago Loop
Apple pickers can head north toward the Wisconsin state line to visit the world’s only apple tree maze. Blaze a trail through 1.5 miles of trees containing nine varietals of apples, or select from over 30 kinds of apples in the U-Pick section of the orchard. Royal Oak also has an apple tree nursery for families who want to plant their own. Families can enjoy apple cider slushies and rides on the train, carousel, hay ride and orchard tour. Pick-your-own apples are $7 for a quarter-peck or $13 per half-peck. Tokens for train, carousel, or hay rides are $3 each.

Apple picking season starts early at Homestead Orchard

Homestead Orchard—Woodstock, IL
11802 Charles Road
85 minute drive from Chicago Loop
The early bird gets the apple starting in late July at Homestead Orchard, where Lodi apples are already available for the picking. The orchard has a one-peck minimum per family with children for $20. The family-owned farm also has pears and cherries available for picking, or kids can check out the bees kept on premises. The orchard’s store is an 1880s horse barn that includes a room dedicated to WWII memorabilia such as photos, maps, and models.

Prairie Sky Orchard offers apple picking as well as pear and pumpkin picking

Prairie Sky Orchard — Union, IL
4914 N. Union Road
75 minute drive from Chicago Loop
Prairie Sky Orchard was started by kids. Ralph and SueEllen Arndt’s 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son combined their allowances to buy $8 of pumpkin seeds to plant in their yard in Union, IL, in 1991. The seeds yielded 200 pumpkins and gave rise to what is now a 2000-tree orchard. Today, kids can pick apples, pears, and, of course, pumpkins at the orchard. Parents can also pick up a U-Bake pie to take home.

Stade’s Farm and Market — McHenry, IL
3709 Miller Road
80 minute drive from Chicago Loop
Families looking to pick more than just apples may enjoy a visit to this McHenry U-Pick that also offers raspberries, pumpkins, green beans, tomatoes and sugar snap peas with a minimum pick of $5 per person. On weekends, Stade’s “Farmtractions Park” has more than 30 activities for families including a petting zoo, giant pumpkin cannon, carousel, semi-truck slide, hamster run, zip line, corn maze, and duck races. Rides and games can be pay-as-you-go or in packages.

Lang’s Orchard — Woodstock, IL
17411 Secor Road
75 minutes from Chicago Loop
Families looking for simplicity may enjoy Lang’s Orchard. The 44-year-old family-owned Woodstock orchard touts itself as old-fashioned and affordable, where the only fees are for the apples picked. Lang’s is now home to 13 different varieties of pick-your-own apples and a store that sells simple jams, jellies, salsa and honey.

Head to Jonamac Orchard for discounted apple picking on weekdays.

Apple Picking West of Chicago

Jonamac Orchard — Malta, IL
19412 Shabbona Road
75 minute drive from Chicago Loop
Kids can enjoy after school specials at this orchard’s barnyard if they can make it out to Malta on a weekday between August 31 and October 27. The barnyard includes a jumping pillow, animal petting zoo, apple cannon, apple launcher, apple train, and pony rides. Adventurous families can find their way through a corn maze in addition to the barnyard on weekends. U-Pick apples are available for $15 per five-pound bag. A cider house on site shows kids how apples are pressed, and allows adults to get a taste of hard cider, apple wine, or apple ale.

Kuipers Family Farm—Maple Park, IL
1N318 Watson Road
65 minute drive from Chicago Loop
Progress through the seasons at Kuipers by picking apples, then pumpkins, and finally Christmas trees at this far west suburban farm. Admission prices range from $10 to $18 and include a pumpkin or a quarter-peck bag of apples. Hay rides and train rides run continuously to tour the orchard on weekends and hourly on weekdays.

Honey Hill Orchard—Waterman, IL
11783 Waterman Road         
75 minute drive from Chicago Loop
Kids can check out the free play area, petting zoo and straw maze at this far northwest suburban apple orchard. Honey Hill offers horse-drawn wagon rides, weather permitting, during the fall months. An 1880s barn on the site has been converted into a craft and gift loft, and families can enjoy apple cider, apple cider donuts, honey, caramel apples and freshly baked pies from the shop.

Keller’s Farmstand — Oswego, IL
2500 Johnson Road
50 minute drive from Chicago Loop
While its name may make it seem small, Keller’s is home to more than 30 varieties of apples. Each picker must purchase a bag (starting at $6.50 for a quarter peck) before entering the orchard. Before or after picking, families can pick pumpkins or enjoy a 10-acre corn maze, wagon rides, pedal tractors, a kids’ straw maze, sandboxes full of grain, farm animals, and a kids’ play area with a pirate ship and castle. Admission to the attractions is $9 for anyone over age 3.

Apple Picking East of Chicago

County Line Orchard—Hobart, IN
200 S. County Line Road
55 minute drive from Chicago Loop
This Indiana orchard is one of the more affordable apple picking venues, and also under an hour from the city. Families can select their own experience with $1 admission and  pay-by-the-pound feature for U-Pick apples, pumpkins or sunflowers. A tour of the bee yurts is also only $1, and live music performances play at the picnic area for free. The corn maze and kids farm also offer varying levels of admission for $5-10.

Tree-Mendus Fruit — Eau Claire, MI
9351 E. Eureka Road
120 minute drive from Chicago Loop
This pun-nily named orchard was recommended by farmers at our local farmer’s market for families that don’t mind going a little farther afield to find high quality produce. The orchard hosts the International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championships every July, and also offers U-Pick peaches and cherries leading up to the apple season. Apple picking begins September 1, with a special buy one get one free deal on half pecks over Labor Day weekend.

Apple Picking North of Chicago

Apple Holler—Sturtevant, WI
5006 South Sylvania Avenue
70 minute drive from Chicago Loop
After enjoying Apple Holler donuts, jams, jellies and applesauce all summer at local farmers markets, you can pick your own Apple Holler apples from mid-August to November in Sturtevant, WI. General admission is $4 per person on weekdays and $8 per person on the weekend, which includes access to the Kids Corral play area, which is home to a Cool Cow Maze, music garden, corn maze, Amish built train and rainbow play structure. Kids can also visit farm animals, a bee observation exhibit and tree life exhibit. Apple picking experiences start at $15 per person and include free tasting while in the orchard, and a tractor-drawn orchard tour.

Please call or check websites ahead of your trip to ensure that the orchard is open and offering U-Pick. Some orchards reported low stock or a late start because of the polar vortex and continuing cold and snow during the spring. Also note that travel times do not account for traffic, so consider rush hour before you go.

All Seasons Orchard
14510 IL Route 176
Woodstock, IL 60098

Royal Oak Farm Orchard
15908 Hebron Road
Harvard, IL 60033

Homestead Orchard
11802 Charles Rd
Woodstock, IL 60098

Prairie Sky Orchard
4914 N. Union Road
Union, IL 60180

Stade's Farm and Market
3709 Miller Road
McHenry, IL 60051

Lang's Orchard
17411 Secor Road
Woodstock, IL 60098

Jonamac Orchard
19412 Shabbona Road
Malta, IL 60150

Kuipers Family Farm
1N318 Watson Road
Maple Park, IL 60151

Honey Hill Orchard
11783 Waterman Rd.
Waterman , IL 60556

Keller's Farmstand
2500 Johnson Road
Oswego, IL 60543

County Line Orchard
200 S. County Line Road
Hobart, IN 46342

Tre-Mendus Fruit
9351 E. Eureka Rd
Eau Claire, MI 49111

Apple Holler
5006 South Sylvania Avenue
Sturtevant, WI 53177