By Jessica Cage
It’s fall, what we have all been waiting for. A much-needed break from that summer heat because this last summer was a scorcher. Now is the time to cool off, grab a jacket and enjoy the relief. A classic, fun and active way to do this with your family is by apple picking. In a city like Chicago, this may seem impossible. Where would you ever find an orchard? Luckily just a few hours’ drive will get you to some great spots to enjoy this seasonal activity. Another plus, you don’t have to wait too long to turn those apples into some tasty treats.
Foursquare Favorite: County Line Orchard
200 S County Line Rd.
Hobart, IN 46342
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Come fall, the gates of County Line Orchard open up for families and apple-pickers who head an hour southeast of Chicago to Hobart, Indiana for honey crisps, pumpkin donuts, mozzarella sticks, corn on the cob, and tractor rides. To avoid the crowds, arrive early on Saturday and Sundays; the parking lot fills up quickly. Looking for something closer to home? Try Chicago’s Best Places for Fresh Food.
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Jonamac Orchard, Inc.
19412 Shabbona Road
Malta, IL 60150
Jonamac Orchard offers a large variety of apples to pick. Directly behind the main store front and a short walking distance from the parking lot are trees that grow 25 different types of apples to pick from. These come in a range of flavors and textures, from tart and soft to sweet and firm. Whatever your cravings are, Jonamac Orchard has the apple for you. Also available to amplify your fun is the Corn Maze and the Barnyard. Challenge yourself with the Corn Maze to see if you have the skills to make it through. In the Barnyard are slides, games and a ton of fun for everyone in the family. Check out the website and find out more about the Apple Train, Apple Launcher and Cannon and so much more.
Related: Best Place to Pick Strawberries
Kuipers Family Farm
1N318 Watson Road
Maple Park, IL 60151
Kuipers Family Farm seeks to provide a fun experience that will lead to a family tradition. Here you can expect hayrides, duck walks and bean-bag tosses. Feel free to take a break from your apple-picking fun. You’ll need one after choosing from the 20 different apple options. With your $10, enjoy a hayride (weather permitting) and a quarter peck bag of apples. If there is a particular apple that you are fond of, check out the apple-picking schedule online to see when your favorites are ripe and in season. Plan your trip from early September through early November. With all of the great activities and treats at Kuipers, this trip will surely become an annual tradition in your family.
All Seasons Orchard
14510 IL Route 176
Woodstock, IL 60098
All Seasons Orchard is a 1.5-hour drive northwest of Chicago and the trip is worth every minute. One of the biggest attractions, besides its delicious variety of apples, is the Shooting Gallery. Choose from one of three cannons (apple, corn or pumpkin) and test your aim. After giving it your best shot, head over to the orchard and grab a fresh, ripe apple. There are 12 varieties to choose from over 11,000 trees. And of course if you aren’t really into walking the fields, maybe you have some little ones with you that might slow down the process, you can always grab pre-picked apples from the orchard’s market. Enjoy the day full of attractions before heading home.
Related: Fall Favorites Off The Beaten Path
5006 S Sylvania Ave
Sturtevant, WI 53177
Apple Holler is an adventure away from home that is open year round. Yes it offers delicious apples, but being open year round means other yummy options. Come throughout the year for sugar snap peas, peaches, pears and pumpkins. With tasty treats and memorabilia, sleigh rides and hay rides, Apple Holler provides an experience you are sure to remember. The activity list seems endless. Kids will enjoy wagons, trains, pedal carts, gem stone mining and the cow maze. They will be active the entire time, which of course ensures a peaceful ride home for mom and dad.
Honey Hill Orchards
11747 Waterman Road
Waterman, IL 60556
Honey Hill Orchards offers 2,600 apple trees to pick from with 500 at a separate location. Options are not only limited to apples. Raspberries, pumpkins and even honey are available as well. The honey is harvested directly from one of Honey Hill’s 20 beehives. The bees not only create the honey but also help to pollinate the trees and create the amazing taste of each apple picked. Of course, there are other activities to partake in. The bakery, petting zoo, straw maze and horse-drawn wagon rides help to make your experience here a great one.