The arrival of the cool fall months signals a lot of things. It means that the leaves are about to start changing color and falling away from the trees, it means that special events like Halloween and Thanksgiving are on the way, it means that the nights are about to get longer and the sun will set a little sooner, and it also signals the arrival of apple picking season all around the United States.

We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.


© mxbfilms/

In some places, apple picking season can actually start as early as July and run all the way through to December, but the fall months of September, October, and November tend to be the best time of year to head out to a local orchard or farm and pluck some apples from the trees. North Carolina is a great state to do some apple picking, with a lot of orchards spread out all around the state, from east to west.

Best Apple Orchards Near Charlotte, NC

If you’re in the Charlotte area and looking to do some apple picking, you have a lot of options available to you. There are some great orchards just short drives away, and if you’re willing to drive a little longer, there are even more options spread out around the western edge of North Carolina, offering dozens of apple varieties and plenty of additional activities and services for guests of all ages to enjoy. Here are some details on the top apple orchards around Charlotte.

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2.Blueberry Thrill Farm

Blueberry Thrill Farm
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Situated just a ninety-minute drive northeast of Charlotte, Blueberry Thrill Farm might be named after blueberries, which can be picked through the summer, but is also very well-known for its apples. Apple picking season at this relaxing rural location runs from July through to December of each year, with 20 different varieties to choose from. Heritage varieties like Roxbury Russet and Winesaps can be found at this location, as well as classic kinds of apples like Gala and Fuji. Peaches and blackberries can also be picked on site, and various beautiful flowers can also be enjoyed through the summer months.

6938 Eaglesfield Road Gibsonville, NC 27249, Phone: 336-449-7246

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3.Apple Hill Orchard

Apple Hill Orchard
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Just a short drive northwest of Charlotte sits Apple Hill Orchard. A cider mill is also situated on site at this location, with a wide variety of homemade treats and snacks available for purchase. Apple picking season typically starts in August and runs through to November, and apples have been grown on this land for over 60 years now, attracting many visitors from all around the state. Group tours of the orchard and land can also be enjoyed on site, and some of the apple varieties you can find at Apple Hill Orchard include Gala, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, and Stayman Winesap. The staff at this location are very friendly and apple picking prices are super low, so it’s a great place to stop off.

2075 Pleasant Hill Avenue Morganton, NC 28655, Phone: 828-437-1224

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4.Justus Orchard

Justus Orchard
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If you're willing to make the drive west towards Asheville, Justus Orchard will be waiting to welcome you in. A beautiful orchard set among a lush landscape, Justus Orchard runs both apple and blackberry picking, with apple picking season starting in August and running through to November. This family-run farm has been running for five generations now, growing all kinds of apples from Gala and Honeycrisp to GingerGolds and Stayman Winesaps. Different apples are available at different times of year, so you always have a reason to come back for more. Other activities and attractions on site include the duck pond, barnyard animals, train rides for the kids, and an on-site bakery selling donuts, pies, cider, slushies, breads, and more.

187 Garren Road Hendersonville, NC 28792, Phone: 828-685-8033

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5.Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard

Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard
© yanadjan/

Not too far from Justus Orchard is Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard, another much-loved family-run farm in North Carolina. Spread out across 70 acres of land, this orchard and farm has been welcoming visitors for almost five decades now. Enjoy beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as you roam around the orchards and fill your bags with over 20 different apple varieties. Educational orchard tours can be organized at this location, which also features a bakery, farm store, and apple house. Corn mazes, wagon rides, pumpkin picking, scenic walks, and apple cannons are also available on site and help to make this a very family-friendly apple orchard.

221 Stepp Orchard Drive Hendersonville, NC 28793, Phone: 828-685-9083

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6.Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill

Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill
© OlgaDm/

For many Carolina residents, visiting Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill is a much anticipated Fall family tradition. The orchard is open every Fall from mid-August to Christmas and has plenty on offer for visitors. You can enjoy the annual family tradition of Pick Your Own Apples – usually around early September. If you prefer, you can leave the picking to someone else and just stock up on succulent fruit and other farm products at the Farm Stall. From the last week of August, visitors flock to the Farm Stall to enjoy hot, fresh, apple cider doughnuts. Other available treats include fresh apple cider, hard ciders, freshly made apple treats and much more.

1800 Black Highway, York, SC 29745

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7.Millstone Creek Orchards

Millstone Creek Orchards
© Millstone Creek Orchards

Millstone Creek may be an apple orchard but it is much, much more than that. The orchards are hard to beat for a fun family day in the country and the action starts long before the apples are ready to be picked. If you visit in June/July you can have fun picking a bumper crop of blackberries and blueberries. There is a fabulous Farmer’s Market every Saturday from May through August and the fun climaxes in mid August, when the apples are ready for picking and the sweet smell of fresh apple cider hangs in the air. There are plenty of activities to keep children entertained and you can stock up on everything delicious at the Granny’s Goodies store.

506 Parks Crossroads, Church Road, Ramseur, NC 27316, 336 824 5263

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8.Sky Top Orchard

Sky Top Orchard
© Sky Top Orchard

Sky Top Orchard is a wonderful apple farm where visitors can enjoy a bucolic day out. In an area which is bristling with apple orchards, Sky Top Orchard goes the extra mile to offer a great day out. You can enjoy sweeping mountain views, a pond with ducks and geese, and a barnyard area where children can meet some of the farm animals and a picnic area where you can relax with the family. Treats for the children include rides through the orchard, a u-pick experience and the chance to find the perfect Halloween pumpkin in fall. You may pick your own apples in season or stock up from the stall. Best of all, you can enjoy fresh made-to-order apple doughnuts.

3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock, NC 28731, 828 692 7930

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9.The Orchard at Altapass

The Orchard at Altapass
© The Orchard at Altapass

Beautifully positioned on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Orchard at Altapass is more than just your average apple orchard. The property was purchased by the owners specifically to save this beautiful and historic area from planned developments which included a golf estate and condos. Today the orchard welcomes visitor to enjoy a fun day out in the countryside. The apple season is usually at its peak around mid august, but at other times there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. You can do some bird watching from the deck, enjoy nature along the walking trails or see as many butterflies as you can and stock up on supplies at the store.

1025 Orchard Road, Spruce Pine, NC 28777, 828 765 9531

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10.Knob Creek Orchards, Farms and Creamery

Knob Creek Orchards, Farms and Creamery
© Knob Creek Orchards

Maintaining a passion for apple farming that began back in 1958, the current owners of Knob Creek Orchards continue the legacy of their parents, Raymond and Loree Crotts. Over the years the apple orchards have been joined by peach orchards and blackberries and strawberries have been added. Knob Creek farms using sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. They also make delectable home-made ice cream served in freshly-made waffle cones. When you visit their store you can buy fresh peaches, apples, blackberries and strawberries as well as home-made fruit tarts and freshly-churned ice cream. There are usually at least 10 varieties of eating and cooking apples available from late August to December.

6471 Fallstone Road, Lawndale, NC 28090, 704 538 1405

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11.Deal Orchards, Inc.

Deal Orchards, Inc.
© Savo Ilic/

Deal Orchards is a third-generation fruit farm and road-side stall nestled in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains. The first delicious fruits of the season are peaches and nectarines which ripen in early summer. These are followed by several varieties of eating and cooking apples from around mid-august. The farm store stocks a wide range of delicious house-made goodies including bottled fruit, honey and molasses, farm-fresh apple cider and apple cider slushies in summer as well as all the best stone-ground flours you need to whip up your own delicious fruit treats. You are welcome to weigh out your own fruit or buy it pre-packed.

7400 NC Highway 16 N., Taylorsville, NC 28681, 828 632 2304

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10 Best Apple Orchards Near Charlotte, NC

More Ideas: Discovery Place Science

Discovery Place in Charlotte is a place where kids can be curious, imagine, and have adventures through educational experience in science and the natural world. Discovery Place consists of three distinct museum experiences for children of all ages. Discovery Center was founded in 1946 and was the first science center in the Southeastern United States. By the time the museum opened in 1951, It was one of the few places in that part of the country that brought children and nature together for hands on, interactive experiences.


The history of Discovery Place began with Laura Owens, an educator who had been collecting specimens of dead and live animals. Her goal was to create a place where her students could observe and learn about their environment in an interactive way. She opened her museum in Charlotte with help from family and community members. The museum was successful and soon, the need was clear for a Children’s Nature Center. This new building was constructed adjacent to Freedom Park and opened in 1951.

A planetarium was added in 1965 and by the next decade, the Charlotte Nature Museum was a popular tourist attraction and expansion was imminent. A new museum was built in the uptown neighborhood of Charlotte and Discovery Place opened in 1981. This building had just over 70,000 square feet of space. Since this time, additional exhibit space, The Charlotte Observer IMAX Dome, and education building and parking garage have been installed. The most recent renovations occurred in 2010 when the building was completing transformed, undergoing over $30 million dollars in renovations. This massive remodel changed the museum to new, interactive and relevant exhibits, labs that are open to the public and two other museums opened in North Carolina by 2013. The next year Discovery Center opened the STEM Center for Career Development and in 2016 Discovery Place Museum officially became an organization known simply as Discovery Place with three distinct entities that offer different educational experiences—Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Nature, and Discovery Place Kids.

Discovery Place Science

This branch of Discovery Place is in uptown Charlotte and brings interactive science exhibits that are perfect for children age 10 and up but can also be enjoyed by younger children.

Science of Ripley’s Believe it or Not- This exhibit explores the science behind some of the strangest and weirdest phenomenon’s in the world. This exhibit uses artifacts and objects from the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Vault such as a model of Titanoboa, a giant prehistoric snake or stand next to a model of a man who once stood nearly 9 feet tall. There are animals with two faces, life size cars made from matches and many other oddities.

Thinker Space­­- This digital lab space allows visitors the opportunity to bring their ideas to life. Design, invent, create anything in your imagination through workshop and makerspace. Visitors can also use the hands-on learning space to practice woodworking, sewing, laser cutting, 3D printing, and other engineering tasks. Thinker Space is designed for junior high and high school students.

Explore More Stuff- This lab explores how matter and energy work. Chemistry and physics place a big part in these interactive exhibits that allow kids to engage in dynamic activities and learn about physical sciences.

Fired Up- This live show is designed to teach families about the fire science. Chemicals and elements are used in these experiments that are performed for viewers. The scientists will make flames change colors, set up an ethanol explosion, and set an ice cube on fire among many other exciting experiments. Children can even volunteer to participate at the end of the show.

Science at the Stage- Another of the live shows, Science at the Stage engages visitors in science experiments such as making ice cream using liquid nitrogen and hydrogen explosions. There are new experiments done daily.

World Alive Aquarium- The aquarium is home to fish from the Eastern US coast and the Indo-Pacific Reef. Guided tours with educators are available.

Fantastic Frogs- This super hero themed exhibit that features live frogs demonstrates how these amphibians have been able to evolve and develop new species survival strategies. Some of these traits seem like they are from a sci-fi movie!

Cool Stuff- Visitors can experience physical phenomenon using scientific principles such as motion and gravity. Visitors can also use wind power and develop super human strength,

Project Build- structures from tree houses to castles, bridges and dams can be designed and engineered by visitors to this exhibit that looks at various architectural styles.

Kid Science- This is a place for smaller children to be able to tinker and play in a space that is space and designed specifically for little learners.

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Explore More Life- Biodiversity is explored in this lab that allows experimentation and interactive exploration. This exhibit features a touch tank with crabs and urchins, and other living animals that students can learn from.

IMAX- This dome theater stands three stories high and features a 12,000-watt surround sound and projection lamp that is viewable from outer space.

Discovery Place Nature

The Discovery Place Nature extension of the organization Charlotte near Freedom Park. This Museum features indoor and outdoor exhibits that explore nature and the environment. Animal feedings and encounters, as well as guided nature walks and special monthly events, immerse visitors in the natural world.

Naturalist Lab- This lab is where families are immersed in nature and can explore the outdoors virtually. You will be able to examine plants, animals, rocks and minerals as well as some national treasures and objects that you can find in your own backyard.

Our Big Backyard- This exhibit teaches about the habitats and animals that can be found in your own backyard and under the ground. Visitors will explore the weather and learn how to make it rain.

Fort Wild- This outdoor exhibit is a play area that is made of natural materials like solid wood. Kids are free to build forts, put on a play, or just run around and make music. A fairy stump village occupies this space with easy access to the woods and nature trail.

Paw Paw Nature Trail- Walk the winding Paw Paw Nature Trail and explore the 100 year old forest where visitors can often see owls, turtles, woodpeckers and extraordinary arrays of wildflowers.

Discovery Space Kids

There are two locations of Discovery Space Kids—Huntersville, and Rockingham.

The exhibits are designed for children under 10 and let children learn and explore all things that they can do. Exhibits are designed with hand-on exhibits that mimic real-life situations such as grocery stores, doctors’ offices, a boat, and other places to make the museum look like you are in a small town. Exhibits include:

· I Can Work

· I Can Be Healthy

· I Can Move

· I Can Build

· I Can Explore Underwater

· I Can Grow

· I Can Create

· Town Center

· Learning Garden (outdoors)


Discovery Place offers field trip and educational resources for communities in Charlotte and beyond. What Discovery Place offers that other museums do not, is the Education Studio and dedication to ensuring that educators continue to have ongoing training and support in teaching STEM classes. The Education Studio is available for teachers of K-12 grades and is found adjacent to the Discovery Place Science. The studio offers workshops, consults, coaching, leadership institutes, and showcases.

Discovery Place also helps schools with language barriers. There are programs offered that will help preschool students enrich their vocabulary before entering kindergarten as well as dual language programs offered for children.

Field trips are offered with all three branches of Discovery Place and an Education Guide with detailed information about field trip programs being offered that school year is downloadable from their website. Outreach classes are also available that make is convenient to impact your students with science at your location. Summer camps at all three locations are also offered annually with a detailed schedule and registration fees found online. All camps are taught by qualified educators and are full-day with extended care available as well. Camps are available for grades k-8.

Girls In Stem is a program specifically for girls at Discovery Place. This program immerses girls in science and STEM projects where they will participate in camps, contents, festivals, and have mentorship from women in the STEM field.

Science on the Rocks- This program is for adults age 21 and over only. This event occurs once a month were visitors get to tour the museum after hours, participate in costume contests, have local radio DJs running the music, adult beverages, and other crazy activities.

Workshops- There are several 6-week immersion programs available at Discovery Place that are designed for grades 5-8. Some of the themes include robotics, 3D printing, dissection, and human anatomy.

Special Events- Hosting a birthday party, wedding or corporate gala can all be done at Discovery Place Museums. Rentals fees include AV equipment, tables, chairs, and museum admission for your guests. Labs, animal encounters, Liquid Nitrogen Wine Slushies, and other activities can be added on to rental packages to turn any event into a science filled occasion.

301 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28202, Phone: 704-972-4934

More Things to Do in Charlotte NC

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More Ideas: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina is a contemporary museum dedicated to the celebration of mid-century modernism through an impressive collection of more than 1,400 works by 20th-century modern artists. The collection, known as the Bechtler collection, also contains photographs, letters, drawings and books from the Bechtler family.

Established by the Swiss-born Bechtler family and opened to the public in 2010, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art was designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta and features intimate spaces and inspiring vistas. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is home to a collection of works from the 20th century with a particular focus on works from the School of Paris after World War II. It boasts works by some of the world's most influential artists of the mid-20th century including Picasso, Warhol, Miró, Hepworth, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Ernst, and Nicholson, many of which were privately owned by the Bechtler family and available for public viewing. The collection includes genres of a European perspective, the School of Paris, and American and British artists, such as Ben Nicholson and Mark Tobey.

The current exhibition showing at The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is ‘All That Sparkles -20th Century Artists' Jewelry,' which celebrates the craftsmanship and creativity of jewelry artists who use various materials and techniques to explore texture and color. The exhibition includes various wearable forms of art, such as monoprints and brooches, as well as works from the Bechtler collection by Niki de Saint Phalle, Alberto Giacometti, and Raffael Benazzi.

Past exhibitions have included ‘The House That Modernism Built,' ‘The Art of Print,' ‘Portraying the Patron: Andy Warhol and the Betchlers', ‘The Art Books of Henri Matisse', and ‘British Invasion.'

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents some educational, musical and art-based programs and events throughout the year. On the third Friday of each month, the museum opens its four gallery floors to the public, free of charge, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm in a program called Bechtler By Night where art lovers and friends can gather under the night sky and enjoy the extensive Bechtler collection.

ArtBreak is docent-led museum tours for free during lunchtime for people with limited amounts of time and can be enjoyed at any of the three of the Levine Center for Arts, namely the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and The Mint Museum.

Music and Museum is an innovative and exclusive classical music concert program that fuses music and conversation to explore a deeper understanding of the artists at work. These shows are performed by chamber musicians and include exhibits of artworks from the Bechtler collection or the museum's current collection. Mid-century art meets mid-century music during popular jazz concerts performed by the renowned Ziad Jazz Quartet every first Friday of the month.

The Museum presents special family days whereby both adults and children can participate in a variety of hands-on art activities, special workshops, and guided tours that showcase the art and artists from the Bechtler Collection.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is located on South Tryon Street in Charlotte and is open from Monday through Sunday and closed on Tuesdays. The Museum is part of a dynamic development of natural space, culture and innovative urban architecture known as the Levine Center for Arts, which is located on the southern edge of uptown Charlotte. The Levine Center for Arts spans for more than two blocks across four acres and features progressive new venues and plazas for art and live performances, as well as additional space for commerce and retail.

Taking center stage of the development is the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, with other featured buildings being the Knight Theater, the Mint Museum Uptown, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and the Duke Energy Center. Visitors can experience the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and The Mint Museum with the purchase of one ticket which is valid for 48 hours. Free, themed 30-minute docent led tours are held every third Thursday of each month at noon and are open to all.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art also offers engaging and interactive guided and self-guided school tours school tours that are designed to inspire curiosity, develop creative and critical thinking skills and promote a visual language that enhances reading and writing skills.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Charlotte, NC

420 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202, Phone: 704-353-9200

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