These orchards around the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and Long Island’s East End are an easy trip from the biggest apple of them all.
It’s fall. You have an Instagram account. This is the plan, and there’s no avoiding it: You’re going apple picking.
Whether you’re looking to pick in peace or you’re ready to embrace the crowds, there’s an orchard for you. Dates, times, method of payment, and admission policies vary widely between farms, so be sure to check their websites before heading up. And wear long pants—poison ivy likes to run through those trees more than you do.
We’ve rounded up a dozen orchards that are within a one- to three-hour drive of New York City in Westchester, Hudson Valley, the Hamptons, and Bergen and Monmouth County.
— E A S T E N D —
1346 Montauk Highway, Water Mill
You can pick Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Milk Pail once the apple season starts, with more than twenty varieties available on dwarf trees, so even the highest apples are easy to reach. They also have pumpkins on the vine to pick.
5698 Sound Avenue, Riverhead
This is a full-on fall festival-type of orchard, with a corn maze, hayrides, concessions, and music. With 27 varieties of apples ripening throughout the season on dwarf trees, this is a popular pick for families.
116 Manor Lane, Jamesport
Woodside is known for their hard apple cider, with four core flavors, as well as seasonal flavors, so you can enjoy a flight of cider pre- or post-picking. This is a smaller orchard that offers two apple varieties each weekend for picking as they ripen, so it’s manageable day out, with enough time left over for drinking.
— W E S T C H E S T E R C O U N T Y —
Harvest Moon Orchards
130 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem
This is the probably the most popular “u-pick” apple orchard near New York City, and even with the new reservation system, chances are high you’ll run into someone you know. It’s a favorite for a reason—live music, barbecue, a hard cider garden, and hay rides are all part of the weekend party atmosphere.
Stuart’s Fruit Farm
62 Granite Springs Road, Granite Springs
In continuous operation since 1828, Stuart’s is the oldest farm in Westchester. Many varieties of apples are available for the picking, and the bake shack is legendary for its homemade pies and cider doughnuts. Bring cash: They only take bills and checks.
— H U D S O N V A L L E Y —
227 Pitcher Lane, Red Hook
In addition to 70 acres of farmland for picking, Greig Farm also has a café, a taproom, an art gallery, and a craft store. Despite all that, this isn’t a farm with gimmicks—it’s an under-the-radar spot for apple picking that also offers substantial meals for re-fueling.
Clarke’s Family Farm
2086 US-44, Modena
This is one of the few apple orchards in the area that grow organic apples, with the farmers using integrated pest management control instead of pesticides. Clarke’s is a bit of a hidden gem, without the pony rides and the crowds, just offering a straightforward and welcoming u-pick experience. (And yes, they have doughnuts.)
4 Ochs Lane, Warwick
Started in the 1920s as a commercial apple orchard, Ochs Orchard is spread over 100 acres. Ochs is less crowded than nearby farms and sells homemade, seasonal ice cream made from their own fruits.
45 Ball Road, Warwick
You can drive right up to the apple trees at Masker Orchards, unlike most farms that require a trek from the parking lot. This is popular choice in Orange County, with many families making a day of it, with picnics, tailgating, and dogs allowed.
— R O C K L A N D C O U N T Y —
The Orchards of Concklin
2 S. Mountain Road, Pomona
Eleven generations of the Concklin family have tended the orchards here in Rockland County since 1711, and today, it is one of the few farms left in suburbia. In addition to their presence at many local farmers markets, they also have a large farm stand at the orchard.
— B E R G E N C O U N T Y —
244 Werimus Road, Hillsdale
This is a spacious orchard, with reserved time slots to prevent overcrowding. There’s also a small petting zoo and playground, as well as a well-stocked farm stand to visit.
— M O N M O U T H C O U N T Y —
91 Wemrock Road, Freehold
Orchards is the oldest pick-your-own orchard in New Jersey, starting in 1972, though the farm itself dates to 1908, and is currently run by the fourth generation of the original Applegate family. The Applegates know how to run a day of apple picking, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out. Reminder: The orchard is cash-only.