With summer winding down, it’s time to plan some fun fall activities you and your kids can do together. How about heading to the East End for a day of apple picking? From small farm stands to orchards with dwarf trees sized just right for little hands to other family-friendly venues, there are plenty of places to choose from, and we've rounded them up for you.
Apple-picking season can begin as early as the end of August and continues through October. Be sure to check out each farm’s website for hours and bounty update. Happy picking this fall!
Find more pick-your-own fun in our Long Island Farm Guide, including where to pick peaches or pumpkins, or feed the goats and sheep at area petting zoos and barnyards.
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Be advised: Most orchards have rules of behavior: Trees are not to be shaken, for example. Picking is at your own risk, and pets are not permitted at most orchards. See the websites for all picking rules.
Hank's Pumpkin Town — Water Mill
Don’t let the name fool you: There are plenty of apples waiting to be picked on this farm. Varieties include Ultimate Gala, McIntosh, Honey Crisp, and more. Other family activities in the fall include a maze park, playground, wagon and tractor train rides, face painting, and more. Gem mining lets kids prospect for gems, fossils, arrowheads, and shells.
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Pick a bushel or two at Harbes Orchard.
Harbes Orchard — Riverhead
Part of Harbes Farms on the East End, this 70-acre orchard produces 27 varieties of apples (as well as peaches and nectarines, in season). Its dwarf trees are perfect for little ones eager to pick their own apples. Enjoy plenty of kid-friendly (and adult-only) fall activities, including pumpkin picking, hayrides, concession foods, live music, wine tasting, and a Robin Hood-themed corn maze. On October weekend evenings, the corn maze turns into a family-friendly Spooky Corn Maze.
Lewin Farms — Calverton
This farm offers a variety of pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, including berries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and, of course, apples. Each year Lewin designs and creates its own corn maze for added family fun. Roasted corn is for sale at the farm stand.
Seven Ponds Orchard — Water Mill
Grab a red wagon and head off to this orchard, where the trees are described as “superdwarf” and super-reachable for kids. There are plenty of seasonal activities, including a picnic area, corn maze, hayrides, and a market that will keep the whole family entertained.
The Milk Pail Farm Stand — Water Mill
The Halsey family started farming in the 1640s, and they’re still going strong. More than 20 apple varieties are grown on dwarf trees, and ready for picking beginning Labor Day weekend. Pumpkins, squash, and gourds are also available for fall picking. More farm-grown bounty, including flowers, are available at the Milk Pail Fresh Market.
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Hop on an old-school wagon for picking at Wickham’s.
Wickham’s Fruit Farm — Cutchogue
This 300-acre farm dates to 1661. It is one of the largest on the North Fork and is situated on Peconic Bay. Wagon rides take apple pickers to the orchards. A retail shop sells pies, doughnuts, and apple cider. Be sure to check out the historic cider press. Wickham's is closed on Sundays.
Windy Acres Farms — Calverton
Apple picking has already started at Windy Acres Farms and should continue through November. The owner is a fourth-generation farmer. There’s a playground and picnic area, and once fall is in full swing, a corn maze and horse-drawn hayrides. Apple varieties include McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, and Granny Smith.
Woodside Orchards grows 20-plus varieties of apples at its two North Fork locations.
Woodside Orchards —Aquebogue/Jamesport
This family-owned orchard has been around since 1982 and offers more than 20 varieties of apples for picking. In addition to pies and fresh cider, the orchard’s apples also produce hard cider and apple wine (for adults only, of course).
This article was originally published in 2012. It was updated in August 2017.
Top photo by Tim & Serena Middleton via Flickr. Unless noted, photos are courtesy of the farms.