When the leaves start turning red and there’s a little chill in the air, you know fall has finally arrived. For some, the arrival of the cooler months of the year is a sad time as the warmth and sunshine of summer is left behind, but for many, fall represents one of the best seasons of the year, filled with unique natural beauty and fun activities for people of all ages to enjoy. And one of the oldest and most enjoyable fall activities of all in undoubtedly apple picking.

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Apple picking is an activity as old as time. It’s a simple way to spend a few hours, but the simplest things in life are often the most enjoyable, and every fall sees millions of Americans heading out to local farms and orchards, filling up bags and boxes with freshly picked apples. Dozens of different apple varieties can be found around the United States to be used in countless recipes, from baked goods like pies and donuts to tasty concoctions like sauces, butters, and ciders.

Best Apple Orchards Near DC

Apple picking season runs from late summer through to the end of fall, with different varieties becoming available as the weeks and months pass by. DC is a good base for apple picking expeditions, with a lot of great farms and orchards located short drives away from the nation’s capital. Here’s some important information on the top apple orchards and apple picking farms near DC.

Mackintosh Fruit Farm - 1608 Russell Rd, Berryville, VA, Phone: 540-955-6225

An old-fashioned, family-owned fruit farm in Berryville, Mackintosh Fruit Farm offers a warm welcome to all visitors. There are no admission fees at this location, so you can simply walk right on in and start picking as many apples as you like. Some of the top varieties at Mackintosh Fruit Farm include Fuji, Gala, and Ginger Gold, with the farm store also selling its own homemade ciders, pies, donuts, and caramel apples. Special events like Farm Dinner evenings are also a highlight of this location.

Milburn Orchards - 1495 Appleton Rd, Elkton, MD, Phone: 410-398-1349

Running U-Pick Apple Adventures through to the end of October each year, Milburn Orchards is a highly popular apple orchard just a short journey outside of DC. Various special events and fall festivals are held at this orchard, which also runs pumpkin harvest weekends and sells a lot of fresh produce and baked goods like donuts. Barnyard animals can also be visited and a giant corn maze is located on site, offering a full day of fun for all the family. Cherries, blueberries, grapes, and raspberries can also be picked at Milburn Orchards, and the most popular apple varieties include Fuji, Red Delicious, and Pink Lady.

Weber's Farm - 2526 Proctor Ln, Parkville, MD, Phone: 410-668-4488

If you're looking to enjoy some of the best apple cider in the DC area, Weber's Farm is the place to be. A lot of apple farms and orchards make their own cider, but Weber's Farm has been doing it longer than any of them. This location is home to Maryland's oldest cider mill, selling bottles of cider all through fall, as well as many other products like donuts, slushies, fudge, and pies. Many different apple varieties can also be picked and purchased at this location, including Empire, Mutsu, and Stayman Winesap.

Baugher's Orcahrd - 1015 Baugher Rd, Westminster, MD, Phone: 410-857-0111

Situated in the beautiful rural surroundings of Westminster, MD, Baugher's Orchard is one of the oldest fruit and veggie farms in the entire area, having been established way back in 1904. It has grown steadily over the years and now covers more than 600 acres of land, making it one of the biggest orchards in the state. This location offers a lot of family-friendly activities like kids' play areas and petting zoos, as well as U-Pick services for apples, strawberries, cherries, peaches, pumpkins, plums, and more.

Marker-Miller Orchards - 3035 Cedar Creek Grade, Winchester, VA, Phone: 540-662-1980

For families, there are few better options in the DC area than Marker-Miller Orchards. This locations has over 300 acres of apple trees to enjoy, with dozens of different varieties grown each year, but also runs a lot of activities and extra for the kids, including a cow train, wagon rides, and a huge play area. So even if the children get bored of picking apples, they'll have plenty of other activities to let you have a full day of fun.