If you ask any American about their favorite fall activity, there’s a good chance they’ll talk about apple picking. Apple picking season runs right through fall, with a long list of apple varieties reaching their perfect stage of ripeness at this time of year, and it can be such a simple but pure pleasure to head outdoors with the family, especially if you happen to have young children, and visit a nearby farm or orchard for a few hours of apple picking. Stocking up on apples helps ensure that there’s always a healthy snack in your home, as well as providing a lot of ingredients for apple-based recipes and culinary creations.

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Apples are grown all around the country but tend to best in some of cooler states with good amounts of rainfall. Illinois is a prime example. There are a lot of orchards and farms in Illinois, with the state having just the right soil and climate conditions for dozens of different apple varieties to thrive. This means that if you’re an Illinois resident or visitor, you have a lot of options when it comes to apple picking locations. Some of Illinois’ top apple-picking spots even include extra U-Pick fruits and veggies, along with bonus activities like Halloween parties and corn mazes.

Best Apple Picking Spots in Illinois

Illinois is one of the best states in America to do some apple picking. There are plenty of excellent apple orchards and farms in the state, with some of them only a short drive out of Chicago, while others are a few hours away from the state’s biggest city. In short, no matter where you happen to be in Illinois, you’re never too far from an apple picking opportunity. Here are some details and contact information for the best apple picking spots in the state.

- Edwards Apple Orchard - 7061 Centerville Rd, Poplar Grove, IL 61065, Phone: 815-765-2234

First of all, if you're looking for the very best apple donuts in all of Illinois, Edwards Apple Orchard is the place to be. Other Illinois apple orchards make some great donuts, but this place does some of the very best. Located a relatively short drive out of Chicago, Edwards Apple Orchard was established back in 1964 and has consistently produced some of the juiciest, most delicious apples in the area. This family-owned farm also makes some very tasty cider and opens up every year to the public from September through to November for apple picking. Apple varieties at Edwards Apple Orchard include Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Empire, McIntosh, Autumn Beauty, and Fuji.

- Heinz Orchard - 1050 Crest Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048, Phone: 847-770-3449

Right by the banks of beautiful Lake Michigan, this Lake County apple picking location is conveniently located a short drive away from Chicago. It's actually the closest orchard to downtown Chicago, so if you happen to be in Illinois' number one city, this is one of the easiest U-Pick locations to visit. This orchard, which has been serving Illinois for almost seven decades now, keeps things simple; it's all about apple picking at this location, without any frills or unnecessary extras, so if you just want a quiet, authentic experience, Heinz Orchard is the place to be.

- Honey Hill Orchard - 11783 Waterman Rd, Waterman, IL 60556, Phone: 815-264-3337

Honey Hill Orchard offers a warm welcome to every guest and is one of the top rated apple picking locations in Illinois, having received constant positive reviews from past visitors. Featuring a 19th century Apple Barn that has been converted into a beautiful little gift and visitor area, a play zone for the kids, a petting zoo, a straw maze, and dozens of fresh goods to buy along with more than two dozen varieties of apples to pick, Honey Hill Orchard offers a full and thorough apple picking experience. You can really spend a whole day at this location, with the friendly staff making huge efforts to ensure that every guest has a great time.

- Liberty Apple Orchard - 8308 Kuhn Station Rd, Edwardsville, IL 62025, Phone: 618-659-9217

The other apple orchards on our list are mostly around the Chicagoland area, but if you're looking for a good apple picking spot in southern Illinois, Liberty Apple Orchard is the place to be. This highly rated, family-friendly location is situated in a lovely area outside the picturesque city of Edwardsville. Some of the varieties you can enjoy at Liberty Apple Orchard include Blondee, Empire, Liberty, Fuji, Ultragold, and Gala, and the experienced staff will be happy to share recipe ideas with you to help you get the best out of every apple.