Travel

Gorgeous Orchards for Apple Picking Outside of Boston

Go on a fall adventure.

As the season begins to settle into autumn, you might be missing the summer soon, but there are still (limited) activities to enjoy within the next few months. To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve rounded up a list of the top spots near Boston for your favorite fall activity that will resume this year -- apple picking. Once you’ve had a read, make sure to visit each website for updated COVID-19 rules and, as always, bring your mask when you go.

Russell Orchards

Ipswich
Distance from Boston: 50 minutes
This 120-acre, family-owned and operated farm is a one-stop-shop for all things fall. Between the 10 varieties of apples available for picking and the barnyard, bakery, and produce store, Russell Orchards provides something for everyone in your group.
Price: $4 admission; $20 for a small bag

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

South Natick
Distance from Boston: 30 minutes
Even though it’s considered one of the oldest farms in the country, Lookout Farm is still kickin’ with a plentiful selection of the crispiest and sweetest apples around. The farm keeps things modern, too, with a taproom offering outdoor seating and a menu featuring craft ciders and beers for a post apple-picking cooldown. Heads up, reservations are required for U-pick this year so be sure to check out the website for rules and available times.
Price: $20 per person (includes small bag)

Dowse Orchards

Sherborn
Distance from Boston: 30 minutes
With more than 50 acres of land and dozens of apple varieties to choose from, Dowse Orchards is a go-to if you’re looking to fill up on fresh fruit this fall. The roadside farmstand has been operating for more than 60 years, and is still open this year so you can stock up on all your seasonal favorites including sweet, homemade cider. Be sure to visit its Facebook page for what’s available to pick and for the latest regulations.
Price: $16 for a small bag

Brooksby Farm

Peabody
Distance from Boston: 35 minutes
Brooksby Farm grows just about every fruit and vegetable you can possibly imagine. From squash to pumpkins to -- of course -- apples, this homey haven has all of your seasonal cravings. The famous bakery also whips up some of the tastiest baked goods around, featuring apple cider donuts, muffins, and monkey bread. For safety guidelines and more, visit the farm’s Facebook page
Price: $10 per person (includes small bag)

Boston Hill Farm

North Andover
Distance from Boston: 35 minutes
This 12-generation, family-owned and operated farm will continue to offer U-pick this year, with plenty of fruit including both apples and pumpkins. Plus, If you’d like to indulge in the farmstand’s fresh baked pies, donuts, or fudge, it’s offering curbside service to keep things comfortable and at a distance.  
Price: $30 for a peck

Connors Farm

Danvers
Distance from Boston: 40 minutes
Opening for apple picking September 1, Connors Farm encourages upcoming visitors to purchase fruit bags online. Additionally, its homemade goodies and grocery essentials available at the farm stand are available for both curbside pickup and delivery
Price: $11.99 for a half-peck

Shelburne Farm

Stow
Distance from Boston: 45 minutes
If you’re looking for something outside of the standard Red Delicious and McIntosh, Shelburne Farm grows more than 80 different kinds of apples. If that isn’t tough enough of a decision, the farm’s Apple Shop, housed in an antique 19th-Century barn, has a selection of homemade goods from cider donuts to fudge for you to contemplate devouring.
Price: $20 for a small bag

Smolak Farms

North Andover
Distance from Boston: 45 minutes
With blueberries and peaches currently in season, apple picking will soon be next at Smolak Farms. For weekly updates, check the farm’s website or Facebook page for U-pick availability. You can also take a peek at the farm stand’s special to-go meal menu if you’re craving more than fruit during your journey.
Price: $20 for a small bag

Westward Orchards

Harvard
Distance from Boston: 45 minutes
Westward Orchards offers a wide pick-your-own-fruit selection against a picturesque backdrop. The orchard puts local farms first through its community support and both homegrown and locally produced items, which can be picked up at the farm stand’s porch or curbside. Stay tuned for the latest updates on Facebook
Price: $19 for a small bag

Nashoba Winery

Bolton
Distance from Boston: 1 hour, 10 minutes
For this weekend excursion, you should definitely enlist in the help of a designated driver. Nashoba Winery offers both apple picking and wine tastings at the outdoor picnic grounds. Just be sure to come hungry if you’re planning on having a sip or two, as the winery requires that you purchase food with alcoholic beverages as per the state’s COVID-19 guidelines. Visit the website for a complete list of rules and ways to reserve picking/tasting times. 
Price: $10 deposit; $20 for each person (includes admission for 2-5 people and one peck bag)

Carlson Orchards

Harvard
Distance from Boston: 45 minutes
Carlson Orchards takes pride in its premium orchard -- and filling everyone in on what exactly the farmers are picking. To better educate yourself on apples, the farm takes you through its varieties with descriptions on its website. What’s best for a pie? No need to guess because this place has you covered. There are also six-packs of the farm’s famous hard ciders, Oak Hill Blend and Shandy Stand, calling your name.
Price: $20 for a small bag

Honey Pot Hill Orchards

Stow
Distance from Boston: 50 minutes
The beloved Honey Pot Hill Orchards will be taking apple-picking reservations this year but will still have your fall favorites like their special cider donut ice cream sandwiches (take a peek if you don’t believe us) and hayrides to and from the orchard.
Price: $20 for a small bag

Parlee Farms

Tyngsboro
Distance from Boston: 50 minutes
This pick-your-own-farm not only has a wide variety of apples to choose from, but an option to cut your own flowers through late September. Another plus to making the trip out? The farm’s Mary’s Country Kitchen and Bakery serves up homemade baked goods. A bag of donuts and fresh cut flowers? That’s one way to win someone’s heart. Before you go, see the farm’s COVID-19 protocol and check out Facebook for updates.
Price: $25 for a small bag

Red Apple Farm
Red Apple Farm

Red Apple Farm

Phillipston
Distance from Boston: 1 hour
You’ve probably caught a whiff of Red Apple Farm’s apple cider donuts at the Boston Public Market, but now’s the time to take a trip to the source. The farm is currently taking reservations for apple picking and while you’re there, you can also pick your own sunflowers and grab a bite (and drink) at the Brew Barn.
Price: $22 for a small bag

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Jillian Hammell is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.