We love fall in the Midwest! We pack September and October weekends with quick road trips and afternoon outings to so many fantastic apple orchards and pumpkin patches in the Chicagoland area! Our kids love picking apples, searching for the perfect pumpkins, devouring apple donuts, playing in corn pits and corn mazes, and exploring the farms and orchards.
As parents, we know it can be a bit overwhelming when mapping out your fall family fun plans! Fall agtourism is booming and it can be a bit tricky figuring out admission prices, which places are all inclusive and which have add on costs, and food options. Parking, strollers, and wait lines can also impact your family fun. We want to help you plan a great fall outing so we put together a list of some of our favorites! Happy Fall! Brooke, Holly, & Meg
We love Apple Holler so much that we visited twice last year! Apple Holler made USA Today's 2015 list of 10 best apple orchards to visit in the nation!
You will have many choices in Apple Holler's 74 acre apple orchard that contains more than 30,000 dwarf apple trees in thirty varieties! Plus you can find peaches, pears, and pumpkins! When you arrive, you checkin at the red building and select your picking bags. A 1/2 peck bag per adult will give you lots of great apples for baking and eating. Click for details on adult and children apple picking pricing.
Apple Orchard is busy so I suggest planning your trip to arrive right when it opens and head out for apple picking first. You can bring strollers and park them when you go out into the orchard. You have the option to walk out to the orchard but I highly recommend you take the festive tractor pulled wagon! The great Apple Holler staff will direct you to which apples are ready for picking. Our twins, Sophia and Stella were three and a half last fall and were fascinated with picking the apples off of the trees. And, we all loved that you can eat/taste as many apples as you want while picking! Be sure to put your apple picking receipt somewhere safe, you will need to show it to the Apple Holler staff when you come back in from the orchard!
Your apple picking admissions includes the Farm Park. Our kids loved climbing in the corn pit, on hay stacks, in the cow maze, and on the jungle gym after we picked apples. There are also lively goats, chickens, ducks, and bunnies as well as playhouses for the kids to climb around. For a low charge you can add pony rides, pedal carts, and a train ride. We spent a lot of time in the Farm Park after apple picking and the girls loved playing in the fall festivities!
You can smell delicious apple cider donuts and kettle corn as you wander around the Farm Park and the ice cream is excellent. The live music makes you want to dance a bit in the fall leaves. Be sure to go in the bakery and country store! We loved the apple cider donuts, apple turnovers with ice cream, and caramel apples! We also picked up some great jam and popcorn. The restaurant looks good too, though we didn't have time to dine. And, they even have a dinner theater!
This fabulous apple orchard is just a quick trip from Chicago to Wisconsin and is right off of I-94 between Kenosha and Racine.
We loved both our trips to Apple Holler last year and made so many delicious treats with our apples. I even made my first apple pie! Be sure to add Apple Holler to your fun fall plans! We can't wait to visit again this fall! Meg
County Line Orchard is another fun destination for those looking for a great selection of U-Pick apples. The Orchard is located in Hobart, Indiana, on County Line Road (between Lake and Porter counties), one mile south of Route 6, and easy to find. The address is 200 S. County Line Rd., Hobart, IN 46342.
County Line Orchard has over 40 acres of apples and the cost this year is $1.79/pound. You can take a tractor ride out to the orchards where you will find many varieties of apples. Some you’ll be able to pick and enjoy include Suncrisp, Melrose, Shizuka, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonagold and Rome.
If you bring home apples you may want to check out my favorite apple pie recipe that will be featured in my cookbook. Chicago’s The Chopping Block owner, Shelley Young, shared this recipe with me over 18 years ago and I’ve been baking it ever since! Click here to find the recipe.
County Line Orchard also offer pumpkins, squash, gourds, mums, Indian corn, corn stalks and hay bales if you want to pick up some fall things besides apples!
But don’t think the fun stops here – this place is full of fall adventures waiting for you to discover. We first visited this orchard on a school field trip when Eleanora was in second grade. We’ve been back two times since the school visit with our family and friends and are always excited to find what each visit brings. We have been to many orchards and pumpkin patches and we find this one to still be quaint with enough to keep everyone entertained but not too much to be overwhelming. You can plan your day using this link to determine hours of operation and admission http://www.countylineorchard.com/hours-admission/.
We made sure to take a ride on the “Moo-Choo.” They use Farmall Cub Tractors to pull “barrel” cars on a trip through and around the orchard for an unforgettable view of the farm. We did find on our visit that the Moo-Choo ride is appropriate for both young and old. You will also have the opportunity to see and feed animals, learn about bees in the Bee Yurt, and even wander and weave through a Corn Maze. This year’s maze theme is appropriate being an election year – you will maze your way through Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Last year Eleanora and I got quite messy with mud (it had rained the night before) on our tour through the maze, and while it was great fun, make sure to come prepared with appropriate shoes or boots!
There are so many fun things for kids to do, but adults will be thrilled to see that County Line Orchard showcases local musical talent every weekend in the fall with “Barnyard Jams.” You can find a full schedule of the entertainment offered through October 30th on the orchard’s website. www.countylineorchard.com
Also, during weekends The Country Grill is open serving up such things as a fresh grilled burgers, hotdogs, bratwurst and pulled pork sandwiches. Don’t forget to try the fresh roasted Indiana sweet corn! You can enjoy your food in the picnic area while listening to some of the great entertainment offered during the Barnyard Jams!
Have a great visit! Holly
Who doesn't love the Fall crisp air, homemade apple pie and apple donuts? Yummy! I love reading about Holly and Meg’s favorite places to go- I can’t wait to check them out myself!
We, of course, have a family favorite that we all look forward to visiting every year, sometimes we make the trip twice just for the donuts. If you haven’t been to Garwood Orchards in LaPorte, Indiana it’s a must. It’s located less than 2 hours from Chicago, and in the country of Indiana. As a country gal myself, I must admit I feel right at home. The fresh air and taste of warm deep fried donuts are worth the trip. It’s a family owned operation that offers the best of both worlds, you get to ride on a wagon which takes you out to pick the apples or fresh veggies yourself or you could just hang out at the Farm Market and get some yummy treats at the Bake Shoppe or Gelato Bar. From apples, to strawberries to blueberries, peppers to pumpkins-all your fall favorites are at your fingertips.
They’re open daily, and of course the weekends will be busier-but we’ve never felt the crowds to be unbearable or waited in extremely long lines. They have more than 400 acres of fresh fruit and veggies you can pick yourself, and you pay for what you pick. There’s no charge to go out in the fields, and the prices are very reasonable for the freshest produce. I know the family takes great pride in making sure you are getting the very best and take great pride in their growing practices.
While the Honey Crisp are a family favorite, of course there are several types of apples to choose from. In fact here’s the list of the types of apples they have: Red and Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Fuji, Pink Lady, Gold Rush, Ida Red, Granny Smith.
On the weekends you can check out free live music featuring local talent. If you’re looking for a laid back family friendly fun filled day Garwood Orchards is the place to go-I promise you will love it!
As a social media guru myself, I must admit I’m impressed with Garwood for their customer engagement, regular updates and posts through their Facebook and Twitter accounts. You go!
They’re open through November 6th!! See ya on the Farm- Cheers Friends! Brooke