Aug 16, 2023 - Food and Drink

8 pick-your-own apple orchards within 2 hours of Charlotte

axios charlotte apple picking guide header

Apple Hill Orchard donut. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

It might be a while before it starts to feel like fall, but the first sign of the new season is finally here. Apple picking has begun.

Here are eight orchards within two hours of Charlotte where you can pick-your-own apples. This is not a ranking.

Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill 

About an hour from Charlotte, Windy Hill is a destination for apple picking. After you fill your basket, reward yourself with a well-earned flight of hard cider and apple donuts.

  • Details: The farm opens on Aug. 17 for to-go purchases and The Cider Bar opens Aug. 18. U-pick season starts in early September (reservations only).
  • Location: 1860 Black Highway York, SC

Apple Hill Orchard

windy-hill-8
Photo: Axios archives

This orchard includes a cider mill, a country store, educational tours, group tours and a bakery. Stock up on cider and sweets (including apple cider donuts) before you leave.

Blueberry Thrill Farm

applehill orchard
Photo: Emma Way/Axios

U-pick season dates have yet to be determined for the fall but check their Facebook and Instagram for updates.

  • Details: A representative from the farm tells Axios the farm will only be open one or two Saturdays this year in October for pick-your-own apples. This year they’ll have Daybreak, Fuji, pink lady, Granny Smith, gold rush and old fashion Winesap apples.
  • Location: 6938 Eaglesfield Road Gibsonville, NC

Millstone Creek Orchards

On Saturdays, a $19.95 ticket gets you access to the orchard, a bag of U-pick apples, apple and cider tastings, a hayride and a four-ounce apple cider slushie.

Sky Top Orchard 

Sky Top is a gorgeous mountain-top orchard where you can pick apples, bring a picnic, meet farm animals and relax with your friends and family. They have apple cider donuts and tons of apple-related goods you can purchase and take home — like apple butter, jams, fudge and cider.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

Make a day of apple picking, hayrides, a corn maze and more — all with beautiful mountain views. You can find a full breakdown of all the varieties (and possible uses) here.

The Orchard at Altapass

Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard
Photo: Courtesy of Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

They have an entire trail map for you to use if you want to bring a little more adventure to your day of apple picking with more than 20 varieties of apples. There is also live music and other events.

  • Details: They’re open for U-pick 10am-4pm Wednesday-Sunday. Read the guidelines here.
  • Of note: Sometimes the orchard has a lapse in availability and there may not be any apples available for picking depending on the week you go.
  • Location: 1025 Orchard Road Spruce Pine, NC

Carrigan Farms

Photo: Axios archives

In September, each hayride includes a trip to the apple orchard where everyone gets to pick a half-peck bag of apples. Reservations are required and cost $15 per person. Apple picking season at Carrigan Farms is short so visit early for the best picking conditions.

  • Details: Currently, reservations are available for Sept. 5-10. More dates and times are coming soon. Check here for updates.
  • Address: 1261 Oakridge Farm Hwy Mooresville, NC

Editor’s note: This guide was updated as of Aug. 16, 2023 with the new season’s dates/times. 

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