Apple season is upon us: 7 pick-your-own orchards within 2 hours of Charlotte

Apple season is upon us: 7 pick-your-own orchards within 2 hours of Charlotte

Apple Hill Orchard donut. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

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This guide is proudly presented by OrthoCarolina – our partners in healthy living. If you want more outdoor itinerary inspiration, check out OrthoCarolina’s blog. Happy exploring.


Fall is right around the corner, which means apple cider, apple cider donuts, and, of course, apple picking. Here are seven orchards with pick-your-own apples within two hours of Charlotte.

Note: Apple availability updated as of August 17, 2021. Call ahead to confirm availability. Remember to wear your mask.


Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill 

One of the closest orchards to Charlotte, Windy Hill is a destination for, yes, apple picking but also for apple cider donuts, cider and hard cider. So, pick a few apples and reward yourself with a well-earned flight of hard cider.

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  • Location: York, South Carolina.
  • Distance from Charlotte: 50-minute drive.
  • 2021 season: U-pick season starts September 4 by reservation only. Their Hard Cider Bar and Farm Stand are currently open for the season and their delicious apple cider donuts are available.
  • Picking availability: Click here.
  • Apple cider donuts? Yes.

Windy Hill Orchard, York SC


Apple Hill Orchard

This orchard also includes a cider mill, a country store, educational tours, group tours and a bakery. So, you can stock up on cider and sweets (including apple cider donuts) before you leave.

  • Location: Morganton, North Carolina.
  • Distance from Charlotte: 90-minute drive.
  • 2021 season: Happening now through late October with a picking pass.
  • Picking availability: Click here.
  • Apple cider donuts? Yes.

applehill orchard


Blueberry Thrill Farm

In September, they have Crimson Crisp, Daybreak Fuji, Stayman Winesap, Grimes Golden, Virginia Winesap, Roxbury Russet, Cameo, Fuji, and Virginia Gold apples ripe for picking. In October, there’s Old-fashioned Winesap, Albemarle Pippin, and Goldrush apples.

  • Location: Gibsonville, North Carolina.
  • Distance from Charlotte: 1-hour 45-minute drive.
  • 2021 season: Starts early September and runs through late October.
  • Picking availability: Click here.
  • Apple cider donuts? No.

Millstone Creek Orchards

The Apple Pickin’ Adventure is back for the upcoming fall season at Millstone Creek Orchards. It includes access to all the u-pick fields (apple, gourds, and fall grapes), a hayride, an apple tasting and a mini apple cider slushie.

  • Location: Ramseur, North Carolina.
  • Distance from Charlotte: 1-hour 45-minute drive
  • 2021 season: By reservation only on September 18 & 19 and September 25 & 26.
  • Picking availability: Click here.
  • Apple cider donuts? Yes.

Sky Top Orchard 

Sky Top is a gorgeous mountain-top orchard where you can pick some apples, bring a picnic, meet farm animals, and relax with your friends and family. They have apple cider donuts and tons of apple-related goods you can purchase and take home — like apple butter, jams, fudge and cider.

  • Location: Flat Rock, North Carolina.
  • Distance from Charlotte: 2-hour drive.
  • 2021 season: August 20 through about late October.
  • Picking availability: Click here.
  • Apple cider donuts? Yes.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

Make a day of apple picking, hayrides, a corn maze, and more — all with really beautiful mountain views.

  • Location: Hendersonville, North Carolina.
  • Distance from Charlotte: 2-hour drive.
  • 2021 season-opening: August 20 through mid-to-late October.
  • Picking availability: Click here.
  • Apple cider donuts? Yes.
Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard

Photo courtesy of Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard.


The Orchard at Altapass

They have an entire trail map for you to use if you want to bring a little more adventure to your day of apple picking.

  • Location: Spruce Pine, North Carolina.
  • Distance from Charlotte: 2-hour drive.
  • 2021 season-opening: Happening now through October.
  • Picking availability: Click here.
  • Apple cider donuts? No.


Looking for more outdoor activities? Check out our other outdoor guides, from the best hikes to where to take a hot air balloon ride.


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