Several years ago, my grandfather turned the wide open field on his West Virginia farm into his own little apple orchard. At the time, we, the grandchildren, mourned the loss of our ultimate frisbee field. But that disappointment faded when apple picking season rolled around.
I tell you, I never knew there were so many different kinds of apples. But there they were, hanging from the trees on my grandfather’s farm. Black ones, red ones, golden yellowish green ones. There were Fuji, Ambrosia, Arkansas Black, and Gala.
Come apple picking season, we grandkids would pick apples with Grandfather as he lectured us on how you’re supposed to twist up when you pick the apples. You don’t just wrench them unceremoniously from the branch.
Oh. My. Lands. Those apples were the sweetest, the juiciest apples I have ever tasted. Seriously, you do not know what an apple really tastes like until you’ve eaten one fresh from the tree.
So what are you waiting for? Apple picking season is here, and you need to experience this with your family. Teach your kids where their food comes from and make the memories.
Here are six campgrounds for apple picking season that the whole family will enjoy.
When Is Apple Picking Season?
Apple picking season for early varieties begins in August, but peak apple picking season takes place in September. That’s when most apple varieties ripen to perfection.
Now, seasons aren’t hard and fast dates. They depend on the variety of apple, the climate, and the weather that year. So before you plan your apple picking excursion with the family, be sure to ask the orchard when their varieties are in season.
The Best Campgrounds for Apple Picking Season
1. Sampson Park at Seneca Lake Resorts – Romulus, NY
Apple Season in New York: September to October
Closest Orchard: Red Jacket Orchards
Lodging: Cabins and RV camper
On-site Activities: Fishing, hiking, biking, playground
The crisp autumn days are your sign that it’s apple picking season in New York. Sampson Park at Seneca Lake Resorts offers you the leisure of lakeside living with its view of Seneca Lake.
Just 15 minutes from Geneva, New York, Seneca Lakes is close enough to enjoy the eclectic dining and the wine and cheese scene of the Finger Lakes region. It’s secluded enough, however, to be a restful getaway for the family.
The resort itself has on-site hiking, fishing, biking, and playgrounds for the kids. But the real treat is the orchard, just a short drive away, making this a favorite among campgrounds for apple picking.
Red Jacket Orchards is an enchanting orchard, juicery, and farm store. Experience a little piece of Seneca Lakes history by picking the crisp and aromatic SenecaCrisp™ apples. Then explore the orchard’s collection of cold-pressed juices and the farm store.
Come explore the Red Jacket Farms and book your apple picking adventure now.
2. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort: Petoskey – Petoskey, MI
Apple Season in Michigan: September to October
Closest Orchard: Gabriel Farms and Winery
Lodging: Tiny homes, cabins, RV campers, tents
On-site Activities: Arts and crafts, pool, GaGa ball, playground, dog park
When it comes to campgrounds for apple picking, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp Resort: Petoskey is a great stay for your family this season. On top of clean campsites, there are always kid-friendly arts and crafts activities to do with your kids. There’s also a playground (with an epic sandbox), GaGa ball, and even a park for your four-legged family members to enjoy.
Gabriel Farms and Winery is one of the oldest orchards in Michigan. It began in 1880 after two Civil War veterans and brothers received the land as payment for their service. Through careful cultivation they turned a barren field into a thriving farm. With wine tasting, apple picking, and live music, this day trip is sure to be a memorable one.
The memories are waiting. Book your apple picking adventure at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp Resort: Petoskey.
3. Apple Island Resort – South Hero, VT
Apple Season in Vermont: Late August to October
Closest Orchard: Hackett’s Orchard
Lodging: Cabins, RV campers, tents
On-site Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, outdoor theater, playground
If you’re spending apple picking season in Vermont this year, look no further than Apple Island Resort. The Resort oozes New England charm with a beautiful lakeview framed by the changing leaves of maple trees.
Enjoy activities like boating and fishing during the day, and wind down with some live music or a visit to the outdoor theater. Kids will enjoy the waterfront or running around on the playground. But let’s not forget the real reason for this trip.
Are you ready to experience apples as you never have before? Hackett’s Orchard is in the heart of prime apple country. The soil and climate here combine to yield superior apples, and Hackett’s Farm has 47 varieties for you to enjoy.
And there’s more than apples to try at Hackett’s. The full experience includes farm fresh treats like apple cider, fresh cider doughnuts that the kids are sure to love, hot apple crisp, Vermont maple syrup, and Cabot cheeses.
Quick, get there while the donuts are hot!
4. Desert of Maine Campground – Freeport, ME
Apple Season in Maine: August to November
Closest Orchard: Thompson’s Orchard
Lodging: Modern A-frame cabins, RV campers, tents
On-site Activities: Hiking, mini-golf, playground
The leaves are a golden mix of yellows and oranges. The air is crisp and cool. That’s how you know it’s apple picking season in Maine. And the Desert of Maine Campground has a place for you to stay.
Tucked away in the pristine pines of Maine, you feel like you’re far away, while actually being close to everything. You can explore the history and science of how these sand dunes—the famous Desert of Maine—exist within Maine’s typically dense forest with your kids.
Just 20 minutes away is Thompson’s Orchard. After strolling through the orchard to pick your prizes, stop at the on-site bakery for fresh pastries, donuts, and hand-crafted breads. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Don’t put off this trip any longer.
5. The Campground at Big B’s Delicious Orchards – Hotchkiss, CO
Apple Season in Colorado: End of July to October
Closest Orchard: Big B’s Delicious Orchard
Lodging: Cabins, RV campers, tents
On-site Activities: Apple picking, live music, and cider tasting
The Campground at Big B’s Delicious Orchard makes apple picking season in Colorado a fully immersive experience.
Imagine being able to wake up, step out of your tent, and pick an apple straight from the tree for breakfast. Here, you can tent camp in the orchard itself, under the apple trees.
After your morning snack of fresh apple, you can gather more and cook up your second breakfast of Bourbon Apple Pancakes over the campfire. Seriously, is there a better way to start your day? I don’t think so.
You can explore the many fields and then round off your day enjoying some fresh cider and dinner at the Cafe overlooking the stunning Colorado landscape.
If you’re looking for amazing campgrounds for apple picking, it doesn’t get any better than this. Apple picking season in Colorado ends earlier because of the elevation and risk of snow, so be sure to book your spot now.
6. Talona Ridge RV Resort – East Ellijay, GA
Apple Season in Georgia: August through November
Closest Orchard: Mercier Orchards
Lodging: RV Camper
On-site Activities: Pool, hot tub, dog park
These Blue Ridge Mountain views at Talona Ridge RV Resort are sure to set the right tone for apple picking season in Georgia. The resort itself is the perfect restful spot to come back to after a full day of galavanting around the Blue Ridge Mountains.
These lots are designed for the RV camper with concrete pads. A dog park is available for your furry friends. The large central meeting house is perfect for relaxing with your camp neighbors.
Mercier Orchards was nominated as one of USA Today’s best orchards of 2022. It’s a place where you can slow down and enjoy the sweeter things in life: fresh fruits, fresh air, and the beautiful mountain view. Oh, and a couple of pocket apple pies from their bakery won’t hurt either.
They also offer tractor rides that show kids the different orchards.
Please. How can you refuse a fresh baked pocket apple pie? You can’t. It’s not polite.
Find Your Campground for Apple Picking Season
Apple picking season lasts four months—August to November—but those memories last a lifetime. Bonding with my grandfather over something that he so dearly loves is amazing.
Go make those memories. Your children and grandchildren will cherish them for a lifetime. Find your Campspot among this list of campgrounds for apple picking, and plan a new tradition that your whole family will love.
Can you imagine picking the very apples that you put into that apple pie for Thanksgiving? You’ll relive those fun memories of apple picking all over again as you share the fruits of your labor with the whole family.
Now if you’ll excuse me, all this talk of apples has me craving my grandmother’s dutch apple pie. So I best get picking! You should too.
Elon Jones believes the world would be a better place if we all got outside more. Native to Tampa, Florida, she enjoys sailing—preferably to Cayo Costa—and exploring new trails with her three daughters.
Image credit in order of appearance: The Campground at Big B’s Delicious Orchards, Sampson Park at Seneca Lake Resorts, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort: Petoskey, Apple Island Resort, Desert of Maine Campground, The Campground at Big B’s Delicious Orchards, Talona Ridge RV Resort