September is right around the corner and that means it’s apple picking time. Whether you’re looking for a day of family fun or a creative date idea, apple picking is something anyone can enjoy. North Carolina has tons of fantastic orchards to explore, so how do you know which ones you just can’t miss? Here’s the scoop some of the best orchards for apple picking and more near Charlotte, NC. Whether you want to stay close to home or make a road trip out of it, we’ve got the scoop on the best apple picking locations.

Carrigan Farms

1261 Oak Ridge Farm Highway. Mooresville, NC 28115
Picking Season: September to late October

Photo credit | Carrigan Farms Facebook Page

The shortest drive from Charlotte, this farm is ideal if you want to visit during October. Starting that month, you can pick both apples and pumpkins. October is when they start their hayrides too, which is perfect for a day full of fall fun.

Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill

1860 Black Hwy, York, SC 29745
Picking Season: Opens September 6 for pick-your-own
Call for Conditions: 803-684-0690

Photo Credit | Windy Hill Facebook Page

Also close to Charlotte, Windy Hill is a boutique apple orchard and hard cider producer. Licensed and bonded, they have been producing the hard cider since 1996 (long before it was popular at the breweries). Pick your own or enjoy pre-picked apples, fresh pressed apple cider, donuts and more. We might call Uber for this one.

Sky Top Orchard

1193 Pinnacle Mountain Rd. Zirconia, NC 28731
Picking Season: Now to late October
Call for Conditions: 828-692-7930

Photo Credit | Sky Top Orchard Facebook Page

Not your average North Carolina orchard, Sky Top Orchard is one that you can’t miss if you’re able to make the drive to Flat Rock. Its autumn mountaintop views are cinematic and one-of-a-kind. This U-pick orchard is huge and full of different areas to explore. Check out their Ripening Schedule to see when your favorites are in season as it changes frequently. Don’t forget to stop in the shop for souvenirs and more.

Apple Hill Orchard

2075 Pleasant Hill Ave. Morganton, NC 28655
Picking Season: Open now through late October
Call for Conditions: 828-437-1224

Photo Credit | Apple Hill Orchard’s Facebook Page

This historic orchard has been growing apples since 1955. Pick some apples and enjoy their country store, cider mill, bakery, and educational tours where you get to learn how they grow their apples. The tours are most often for school field trips, but if you have a group of 20 or more people, you can set up your own reservation.

Historic Orchard at Altapass

1025 Orchard Rd. Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Picking Season: Now through late October
Call for Conditions: 828-765-9531

Photo Credit | The Orchard at Altapass Facebook Page

Another orchard steeped in history, the Orchard at Altapass has over 40 different varieties of apples for you to pick. The mission of the non-profit Altapass Foundation is to preserve, protect and educate the Blue Ridge Mountains and its history. Be sure to look at their apple ripening schedule to catch your favorite.

Coston Farm and Apple House

3748 Chimney Rock Rd. Hendersonville, NC 28792
Picking Season: Late August to early November
Call for Conditions: 828-685-8352

Photo Credit | Coston Farm and Apple House Facebook Page

A trip to Coston Farm isn’t just a trip to the orchard–it’s like visiting family. This old-timey farm is 4th generation family owned and full of southern charm. Venture to the orchard to pick your own apples, buy pre-picked fresh apples and pumpkins at the Apple House, or indulge in delicious, fresh apple cider and homemade apple pie from the Apple House Bakery and Gift shop while sitting in the rocking chair on the porch.

Stepp Farm’s Hillcrest Orchard

170 Stepp Orchard Dr. Hendersonville, NC 28792
Picking Season: Now to late October; Also picking grapes and sunflowers
Call for Conditions: 828-685-9083

Photo Credit | Stepps Hillcrest Facebook Page

With 50 years of pick-your-own apples, Stepp Farm’s Hillcrest Orchard is perfect if you’re looking for a full day of family fun. Pick your own apples, take a wagon ride, get lost in a corn maze or shoot apples at targets with an apple cannon. We suggest taking a picnic lunch for this one so you can enjoy the fun all day long. The wagon ride and apple cannon are only available on the weekend.

Grandad’s Apples

2951 Chimney Rock Road. Hendersonville, NC 28792
Picking Season: Now to Mid-October
Call for Conditions: 828-685-1685

Photo Credit | Grandad’s Apples Facebook Page

This 80 acre Hendersonville farm is open 7 days a week from 8am to 6pm. Grandad’s Apples offers more than 20 different types of pre-picked apples in their Grandad’s Barn and Country Store, a bakery with delicious treats and a new fermented apple cider. Say hi to the barnyard friends and check out the 5 acre corn maze.

Lyda Farms

3465 Chimney Rock Road. Hendersonville, NC 28792
Picking Season: Now to late November
Call for Conditions: 828-685-3459

apple picking
Photo Credit | Lyda Farms Facebook Page

Another farm located in Hendersonville, NC, Lyda Farms not only has apples but local fruits and veggies and barnyard animals. They offer a large variety of pre-picked apples that changes depending on the date you go. Check out their ripening schedule to get your favorite kind and enjoy in the picnic area.

Justus Orchard

187 Garren Road. Hendersonville, NC 28792
Picking Season: Now to late October
Call for Conditions: 828-974-1232

Photo Credit | Justus Orchard Facebook Page

Spend your day in the beautiful Western North Carolina Mountains at Justus Orchard, a fourth generation orchard and farm. After you’ve picked your apples, let the kids take a ride on the Cow Train through the orchard. Visit the farm animals or stop by the ponds to see the ducks. Don’t skip the bakery where you can buy homemade fried apple pies, apple cider donuts, apple cider, cider slushies, caramels, apple bread and more.

Blueberry Thrill Farm

6938 Eaglesfield Road Gibsonville, North Carolina 27249
Picking Season: Now to Mid-October
Call for Conditions: 336-449-7246

Photo credit | Blueberry Thrill Farm Facebook Page

Located in Gibsonville, NC, Blueberry Thrill Farm sits about halfway between Greensboro and Burlington.

Once you’ve picked all the apples you can carry, be sure to check out our Apple Recipes here.

And please let us know if you have any favorite U-Pick farms we’ve missed and tag us at @scoopcharlotte with your pickin’ pictures!