Apple season is upon us: Pick-your-own orchards within 2 hours of Charlotte

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This article was last updated August 29, 2018.

I’m anti-fall until the true last day of summer, which this year falls on September 22. But there is one exception to this seasonal rule: apples. And the season has already opened.

apple doughnut

Because I grew up in northern Illinois where it actually feels like fall when it’s time to pick apples, I tend to miss apple season here in North Carolina because I’m waiting for temperatures to drop. But if I wait that long around here, most of the harvests will have been picked clean.

Lest I miss my favorite fall activity again, I’ve preemptively pulled together a list of where to pick apples near Charlotte and when they’re available. A lot of them are earlier than you might think. In fact, several orchards are already open.

Sky Top Orchard

If you wait until October for cooler weather (as I routinely do), you will miss most of the apples. So hurry up. It’s fall… sort of.

Apple orchards within 2 hours of Charlotte

NOTE: Many orchards are cash only. Apple availability updated as of August 29, 2018. Call ahead to confirm availability.

Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill

  • Location: York, SC
  • Distance from Charlotte: < 1 hour-drive
  • 2018 season opening: U-pick season opening estimated Friday, September 7; Hard Cider Bar and Farm Stand currently open for the season
  • Picking Schedule: Click here
  • Apple cider doughnuts? YES (they also serve hard cider)

Sky Top Orchard

  • Location: Flat Rock, NC
  • Distance from Charlotte: 2-hour drive
  • 2018 season opening: August 14
  • Picking Schedule: Click here
  • Currently available: Honeycrisp, Asian pear, Gala, McIntosh, Ida Red, Cortland, Golden Delicous, Jonagold
  • Available soon: Check the ripening schedule
  • Apple cider doughnuts? YES

Carrigan Farms

  • Location: Mooresville, NC
  • Distance from Charlotte: 45-minute drive
  • 2018 season opening: September 4
  • Picking schedule: Click here
  • Apple cider doughnuts? No

Apple Hill Orchard

  • Location: Morganton, NC
  • Distance from Charlotte: 1.5-hour drive
  • 2018 season opening: August 16
  • Picking Schedule: Click here
  • Currently available: Gala, Arlet
  • Coming soon: Early Fuji; see full harvest calendar
  • Apple cider doughnuts? YES

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

  • Location: Hendersonville, NC
  • Distance from Charlotte: 2-hour drive
  • 2018 season opening: August 15
  • Picking Schedule: Click here
  • Currently available: Gala, Early Fuji
  • Coming soon: Jonagold, Mutsu and Ultra Gold open Labor Day weekend; check the ripening schedule
  • Apple cider doughnuts? YES

Blueberry Thrill Farm

  • Location: Gibsonville, NC
  • Distance from Charlotte: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • 2017 season opening: opened in July
  • Picking Schedule: Click here
  • Currently available: Crimson Crisp, Summer Banana
  • Coming soon: Check the ripening schedule
  • Apple cider doughnuts? No

The Orchard at Altapass

  • Location: Spruce Pine, NC
  • Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours
  • 2018 season opening: opened in May
  • Picking Schedule: Click here 
  • Currently available: A freeze wiped out the 2018 harvest and seasonal varieties are not available
  • Coming soon: Check the ripening schedule
  • Apple cider doughnuts? No

Header photo of Skytop Orchard via Instagram

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Katie Levans Loveluck
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Co-Founder and Creative Director