Apple Festivals for Family Fun: Pick Your Own

It’s fall in Virginia and this is the time of year when apple festivals offer plenty of family-friendly fun, entertainment, and delicious treats. Some are just a short drive while others are a great day trip – in the fall, all roads lead to lots of apple orchards and plenty of festivals.

Apple doughnuts, apple cider, caramel apples, and more are just a few minutes away. Pack up your vehicle and head for the mountains where you’ll enjoy loads of fun. Pick your own favorite apple orchard and enjoy some apple picking!

A Local Favorite is  Carter Mountain Orchard.
Carter Mountain Orchard, in Charlottesville, is an hour’s drive from Richmond, and a great day trip for families with children of all ages. (However, parents of stroller age children should definitely bring the jogging stroller.)

Start your visit with apple donuts from the walk up window next to the store.  (The donuts alone are worth the drive up the mountain!)  Next, get your bags and pole from the staff, and follow the directions to the available picking area. Let the little ones pick the perfect apple to sample, and then pick enough apples to enjoy at home for a while—apples will last for weeks in a cool dry place.

Before you leave, visit the orchard store for a delicious souvenir or a quick checkers game at the oversized checkerboard by the rocking chairs.  Also be sure to take advantage of the photo opportunities, whether they be the big boards with the head cut outs (where you stick your head through the hole and become either the worm or the apple—a kid favorite) or the beautiful mountain background.

The morning after you get home, have a breakfast of apples, bacon and biscuits. Put bacon on a foil lined sheet at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let your children separate the biscuits and place them on a baking sheet.  Slice apples and cook them in butter.  Sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar while they simmer.  Split the biscuits fresh out of the oven and fill them with bacon and baked apples.

Cater Mountain Orchard offers Pick Your Own Apples ~ through November – Golden Delicious, Jonagold and Fuji are ready now.    Apple Butter MakingNovember 3rd and 4th

The Apple Harvest Celebration will be EVERY Saturday and Sunday in October.  Music, food, hayrides, wine tastings, pumpkins, apple picking, apple butter, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple pie, and all things apple.  The orchard hours will be extended first three weekends—8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Visit the website at

Other Orchards and Festivals to Enjoy…

Chiles Peach Orchard and Farm Market
Pumpkins, pick-your-own apples, pumpkin patch-pick in the field, pumpkin patch- already gathered from the field. Gift shop, snacks and refreshment stand, restrooms, picnic area.
1351 Greenwood Road, Crozet, VA 22932. Phone: 434-823-1583. Alternate Phone: 434-977-0619. Fax: 434-823-1593. Email: And don’t miss November apple butter making at Chiles Orchard. Join us for old fashioned apple butter making! As you can see, there are lots of great reasons to visit often over the next few months.

Dickie Brothers Orchard
Come visit our orchard/farm that has been in the family since England’s King George granted the land to our family in 1752. We grow about 100 acres of apples, with about 15 different varieties. Nestled against the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the cool mountain air gives our apples great color and excellent flavor.

Drumheller’s Orchard Apple Festival.
Featuring apples, apple butter, cider,honey, country hams, pumpkins and baskets.Food available for purchase, apple sling shot, arts and crafts, bouncy houses, hayrides and corn maze (weather permitting). Free parking and entertainment. Saturday and Sunday October 19 and 20 – 9AM to 5PM. 1130 Drumheller Orchard Lane, Lovingston, VA, 22949. 434-263-5036.

Henley’s Orchard in Crozet VA
Virginia apples, including Red and Golden Delicious, Winesap, and the antique Albemarle Pippin that Thomas Jefferson shared with the Queen of England. We have the recently popular Honey Crisp and Cameo apples and some of Henley’s Orchard select apples such as Henley Gold and our Golden Fuji. Henley’s Orchard has what you’re looking for. We’re known for the best fresh, low-spray fruit in Central Virginia.

Morris Orchard
Apples’n cider donuts on weekends in October. Hay creations in fall with Halloween decorations. Apple butter making first and last Saturday in October.

Rock Hill Orchard
Fresh-picked-apples include Red & Golden Delicious, Winesap, Fuji, and Stayman. Some pick-your-own on weekends – call ahead. Old fashioned candy apples, apple butter, jams and jellies, ham, fresh cider, and more.

Saunder’s Brothers Orchard & Farm Market
Fresh-picked apples include Gala, Golden and Red Delicious, Fuji, Braeburn and Pink Lady. Apples are available starting early August through November.

Apple Dumpling Festival in Stuart, VA
Apple pies, applebutter, and obviously, apple dumplings! Come enjoy the artisans and scenic beauty of Stuart. October 20.