One of our favorite yearly traditions is apple picking. Georgia has some wonderful U-pick apple orchards less than two hours from Atlanta in the north Georgia Mountains, and no matter how busy we are, the boys always make time for a trip to the Apple Capital of Georgia – Gilmer County – for some delicious Ellijay, Georgia apples and a BBQ lunch.
To pick the right apple orchard in Georgia for your family, you need to know the inside scoop. Some apple farms are perfect for kids and have lots of activities. We like the farms with only a few things to do. And I know a lot of readers are interested in where to pick organic apples.
Some don’t want to go into the orchard at all — they just want to grab a peck and go. Some folks just want to know where is the best apple picking near me. Whatever your questions, we have the answers!
When to Go Apple Picking
John W. Clayton is credited with introducing the first apples to Gilmer County in 1903. Over a hundred years later, this north Georgia area produces more than 250,000 bushels of apples annually in over 30 varieties.
Wondering when is the best time to go apple picking? Georgia ‘s season runs late August through October, however not all varieties are available at the same time. We have a handy guide to the types of apples in Georgia and when to pick them.
Apple Orchards with Family Friendly Activities
Hillcrest Orchards and Farms
9696 GA-52 | Ellijay | 706-273-3838
Hillcrest Orchards and Farm is family-owned and operated, and filled with fun for the everyone. Pick your own apples during the Apple Pickin’ Jubilee each weekend starting on September 4, 2021. It will run through the end of October. Typically there are tons of activities included in general admission such as the playground, the giant slide through the mountain, and the only apple tree maze in the state! There’s no word yet on what will be included in 2021.
For the adults, there is live country and bluegrass music, as well as clogging on the stage. Pick up some fresh produce with your apples at the farm market.
I wish they allowed U-Pick during the week, but alas, it is only on the weekend. Still, if you are in the area, the slide on the side of the hill is worth the stop alone, not to mention the farm animals! Grab a bag of apples and juice in an apple cup.
BJ Reece Orchards
Beginning August 28, 2021 and lasting through Halloween, U-Pick will be available every day at BJ Reece Orchards. They are the only orchards that offer U-Pick during the week. They also have their petting farm open during the week as well.
On the weekends they offer other great activities such as zipline, cow milking, corn maze, pig races, apple cannons, wagon rides and much more. Leashed dogs are welcome in the orchards, but not the apple house.
This has been our go-to apple house for years. If you aren’t sure what kind of apple you’d like, taste them in the apple house, where you can also watch them make the fried apple pies.
Deep Roots Orchard
2984 Mobile Rd. | McCaysville | 706-492-7753
Deep Roots Orchard is an old-fashioned, family-run apple orchard in McCaysville, GA. With lots of U-pick apples, wagon rides, local produce, fried pies, a mercantile, and events throughout the season — this is one fun place!
This orchard is located on a hillside, below a little country church, in the heart of southern Appalachia. It’s a great place to return to the simple life, and get back to your roots!
Just the Apples – U-Pick Orchards without the fanfare
At R&A Orchards, enjoy a tractor tour and apple picking starting Labor Day Weekend in 2021. This is the best U-Pick location if you don’t want the fuss of lots of activities and simply want to pick apples. The website has a great tool for determining approx. harvest dates of your favorite varieties too. Other fruit and vegetables are available in their market.
Plan to eat lunch here. They have a delicious restaurant with daily specials, hamburgers, BBQ and other sandwiches. And do yourself a huge favor – get the apple cider doughnuts. You won’t be disappointed.
Red Apple Barn
U pick in 2021 will begin at Red Apple Barn on Labor Day Weekend, and all weekends through October. They even have a pumpkin patch! I love using their website tool that shows, by variety, the harvest time, eating scale, texture and storage rating, and info for cooking such as whether the variety is good for applesauce, a pie, or eating baked.
This apple house is not located on Hwy 52 aka Apple Alley, so it’s a great place to visit during the peak apple picking weekends because traffic is not as heavy on 282 where they are located.
Mercier Orchards is a family business in its 4th generation, celebrating over 70 years of Georgia grown apples. You’ll experience u-pick apple opportunities, a Bakery and Deli, the Market Store and a Farm Winery. Don’t miss the Georgia Grown Hard Cider.
U-Pick usually starts in August, including the popular Honey Crisp variety. Their U-Pick dates have not yet been released for 2021. Note: For those looking for organics Mercier isn’t an organic orchard, but it does uses all-natural products on their fruits, even encouraging a bite in the field.
Lane Southern Orchard
50 Lane Rd | Fort Valley | 800-277-3224
When I think of apple picking, I think north Georgia and Ellijay, but Lane Southern Orchards is trying a new variety of U-pick apples in middle Georgia. Lane Southern Orchard has 40 acres of apple trees at their farm in Reynolds. Call ahead to make sure the apples are in season (typically starting in September). Note: No apple information has yet been released for 2021.
No Pick, but Lots of Pecks
5340 Cornelia Hwy | Alto | 770-869-3999
Jaemor Farms has been family run since 1912, you can find a myriad fruit here. Apples start in August, and other fruits include watermelons, pumpkins, peaches and more. Jaemor has sometimes held U-pick apple weekends on select days, and they recommend checking Facebook for the most up-to-date info on that. What we can guarantee they have is lots of delicious varieties of apples for sale at their farm and market in the fall. We also love the cooking classes, and farm-to-table dinners.
Panorama Orchards & Farm Market
Established in the 20s, Panorama Orchards & Farm Market offers more than 20 varieties of apples. U-pick is not available, but this house has easy access to Hwy 515, making it a great quick stop to grab local apples and other favorite fall treats. Stop in for fresh picked apples and homemade baked goods. Kids will love the ice cream area with an old fashioned soda fountain. Apples should be in season starting in August.
Aaron’s Apple House
8350 Hwy 52 | East Ellijay | 706-273-3180
Aaron Family Orchard is another fabulous apple house that is perfect to pick up locally grown apples, fresh eggs, and other delicious treats. Be sure to see the goats!
Penland’s Apple House
Penland’s Apple House is all about convenience. They offer two locations, one located with easy access from Hwy 515 near Panorama Farm Market and the second located on Hwy 282 near Red Apple Barn. Both locations offer locally grown apples and other apple treats.
Where to Stay While You’re Apple Picking
Ellijay Hotel Options
Best Tried and True Hotel: Our favorite tried and true hotel in Ellijay is The Comfort Inn & Suites East Ellijay. Guests can enjoy the indoor heated pool and fitness center here.
Best for History Buffs: Bordering Georgia’s Rich Mountain Wilderness, this Budget Inn Top of Ellijay features a basketball court and free property-wide Wi-Fi. Guests can also explore American history 1 mile away at the Civil War Museum and Library.
Best In Downtown: The Ellijay Inn is in downtown Ellijay, a 30 minute drive from Amicalola Falls State Park. This motel offers guests free Wi-Fi and cable TV in each room.
Campgrounds Near Ellijay
About 40 miles away from Ellijay, you’ll find Bald Mountain Camping Resort in Hiawassee. This camping resort has been referred to as a “Little Slice of Heaven in the Mountains of Georgia!” Enjoy full hook-up RV sites and cabin rentals with a wide range of activities for the entire family.
More Fall Fun
Corn Mazes| Haunted Corn Mazes | Pumpkin Patches | Apple Festival | Haunted Houses | Fall Festivals | Ghost Tours | Halloween Events | Fall Bucket List | Fall Color at the State Parks | Scary Escape Rooms