Autumn means apples ripe for picking. These six orchards not only have pick-your-own apples and other farm fare such as pumpkins and home-baked pies but offer fun activities. Most pick-your-own apples cost about $1.40 a pound.
At Baugher’s Orchard & Farm, tractors take you to the field to pick apples. On October weekends, there’s face painting, scarecrow making, a pumpkin moon bounce ($1), and pony rides ($5) for kids. There’s also a free petting zoo, a playground, and picnic tables. Pick-your-own hours: Saturday and Sunday 10 to 5. 1236 Baugher Rd., Westminster; 410-857-0111; baughers.com.
The Pumpkin Festival, the biggest fall event at Butler’s Orchard, runs Saturdays and Sundays (plus Columbus Day) through October and features music, country food, and children’s activities. But Butler’s hasn’t forgotten its apples, the most popular of which is the Honeycrisp. Admission to the festival is $10 for ages two and up; hours are 10 to 5. Pick-your-own hours: Tuesday through Sunday (plus Columbus Day, October 13) 9:30 to 5:30. 22200 Davis Mill Rd., Germantown; 301-972-3299; butlersorchard.com.
After apple picking at Homestead Farm, try the caramel-dipped apples or homemade caramel-apple pie. Kids can feed goats, jump into hay, or feed the ducks in the pond. Visit Homestead’s Web site for a list of the farm’s 15 apple varieties, each with tentative picking dates. Pick-your-own hours: daily 9 to 5:30. 15600 Sugarland Rd., Poolesville; 301-977-3761; homestead-farm.net.
At Weber’s Cider Mill Farm, in addition to apple picking, each weekend through October 26 there are barnyard activities including a hay maze and a hill slide. Tickets to play the games cost $7 for ages 1 through 17 and $5 for 18 and up. Pick-your-own hours: Saturday and Sunday (plus Columbus Day) 10 to 5. 2526 Proctor La., Baltimore; 410-668-4488; webersfarm.com.
Marker-Miller Orchards offers pick-your-own apples every day. The Apple Harvest Festival October 11 (9 to 5) and October 12 (10 to 5) offers wagon rides for $2, music, apple-caramel sundaes, and, by October, 20 apple varieties. On weekends, kids can go to the playground or play on a rock-climbing wall. During the festival, food includes hot dogs, country-ham sandwiches, and barbecue ribs along with apple turnovers, cider doughnuts, and caramel-apple/walnut pie. Pick-your-own hours: Monday through Friday 9 to 6 (Columbus Day 9 to 4), Saturday 9 to 4, Sunday noon to 4. 3035 Cedar Creek Grade, Winchester; 540-662-1980; markermillerorchards.com.
At Stribling Orchard—with nearly 30 acres of different varieties—visitors come to pick apples, picnic, and see the donkeys, horse, pony, pig, goats, and sheep. Pick-your-own hours: Tuesday through Sunday (plus Columbus Day) 9 to 5. 11587 Poverty Hollow La., Markham; 540-364-3040; striblingorchard.com.
Did we miss one of your favorite orchards? Let us know in the comments below!