Better known for its famous peaches, Georgia isn’t a top apple producer. However, the state’s northern regions do have a flourishing apple market, with plenty of fresh fruits of different varieties grown annually. In fact, Georgia’s apples are quite unique in that they are sold mostly for the fresh market.
Georgia’s mild climate still offers plenty of room for fall chill, and when the season turns, apple picking is a great way to get outside. Many orchards host plenty of fall activities for both kids and adults to go along with a day of apple picking.
Just south of the North Carolina and Tennessee state lines, Georgia’s Mercier Orchards was founded in the 1940s and currently covers 300 acres of land. The orchards host U-Pick events throughout the season and checking their website is the best way to find specific dates.
Visitors can ride into the orchard on one of the property’s tractors, and it’s best to arrive early to make sure you leave with plenty of apples. If the orchard does run out of fruit before the day ends, tractor tours will be offered instead.
Additional orchard activities include a well-stocked farm market selling jams, condiments, souvenirs, jars of honey, and more. The market is also home to a bakery where you can pick up pies, apple cider donuts, and other sweet treats. The market’s candy kitchen area offers even more homemade goodies. If you’re a fan of hard cider, be sure to stop by the orchard winery, where you can sample fresh-pressed cider and seasonal wine. Don’t miss the Fall Harvest wine flavor, which goes great with a day spent out in the crisp air.
Located just over an hour north of Atlanta, Red Apple Barn makes a great day trip a short drive from the city. The trees on the property, which is near the town of Elijay, were planted in the 1960s. Apple picking takes place on weekends during the fall, lasting until November or so. Admission includes a tractor ride to the orchard, a cup of apple cider, a doughnut, and a few other special treats.
After picking your bushel, stop by the farm market, followed by the family fun barn.
Address: 9696 GA-52, Ellijay, GA 30536
Located between Atlanta and the northern Georgia border, family-owned Hillcrest Orchards has been in the region since 1946. On weekends, the orchard hosts its Apple Pickin’ Jubilee, where visitors can choose from Rome Beauty, Yates, Goldrush, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious.
The orchards are also home to the very first apple tree maze in the South. Other attractions include wagon rides, giant slides, an apple museum, playgrounds, a petting farm, and many, many more. Live performances and showcases top of the mix.
The orchard’s market serves apple cider, baked goods to go, ice cream, and gifts. The onsite Country Café, Hillcrest Grill Chicken Stand, and Candy Room serve hot food and sweet treats.
Address: 9131 GA-52, Ellijay, GA 30536
Also in Georgia’s north, B.J. Reece Orchards is open for apple picking from August to October. Other than finding the perfect apples, families can enjoy the petting farm, giant farm slide, corn maze, pony rides and so much more.
If you’re wondering what varieties are available by the day, take a look at the orchard’s online U-pick calendar. Apple picking is open rain or shine, and the last daily admission tickets are sold at 5 pm, an hour before closing. If you’re craving a treat while picking, don’t miss the bakery’s apple cider donuts or fried pies!
Address: 5505 GA-52, Ellijay, GA 30536
Also located just outside of the Northern Georgia town of Elijay, R & A Orchards invite autumn day trippers to enjoy u-pick apples every weekend from Labor Day to October. Visitors can choose from six apple varieties, including Red Delicious and Granny Smith.
The orchard’s flower season coincides with the apple harvest, so you’ll also be able to cut your own flower bouquet to enjoy at home. Tractor rides and farm tours are also offered during the fall season.
R&A’s onsite café serves cooked food and refreshing meals, and you can take home a number of homemade products to share with friends and family. These include jams, jellies, ciders, pickled fruits and vegetables, sauces, soup bases and more.
Located northeast of Atlanta, Hillside Orchard Farms offers u-pick blackberries over the summer and apple picking in the fall. It’s best to call ahead for exact dates, hours, and apple varieties. While at the orchard, you can meet the resident goats, discover an indoor gem mine, and navigate the annual autumn corn maze. Train and hayrides are also available. A visit to the orchard can easily become a full-day experience that’ll keep you coming back year after year.
Sitting right on the Georgia – Tennessee border, The Folk Collaborative is inspired by Appalachian tradition. Home to an apothecary. Bakery, and orchard, the site offers apple picking between August and November. Check out this helpful timeline to get a better idea of when to visit.
Other fall favorites at the orchard include tractor rides and prepared picnics that you can reserve for yourself and your loved ones. The orchard also hosts Cider Days, which invites participants to tour the orchard, learn about cider production, and even press their own fresh cider to take home.