It’s not fall in Massachusetts until we’ve taken the kids to an apple picking farm. Being outside in a beautiful orchard on a crisp New England day is the epitome of autumn. Now that we’re grandparents we get to enjoy this wholesome activity again at some of the best apple picking farms in Massachusetts.
In New England we are lucky to have many pick-your-own farms as apples and berries grow particularly well in our climate. You can expect to find many different varieties of apples, but almost all of the orchards will be include Macintosh, Macoun, Gala, and Cortland.
The farms of Massachusetts grow crops throughout the season. If you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll be able to pick blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and more at some of these farms. And if you’re visiting later in the fall, you can go pumpkin picking.
Getting ready for your apple picking adventure
These Massachusetts orchards have lots of offer besides the pick-your-own fruit. There are usually spots for a picnic, and often farm animals to pet and a playground to climb. Almost all will sell their fresh produce at a farm stand. So if you’re unable to walk through the orchard, you’ll likely still be able to get ‘just picked’ apples at the farm.
These days I’m taking my grandchildren to pick apples. I bring along my grandma bag with car activities, water, and first aid supplies. I’ll tuck in a picnic blanket, and I’ll make sure to bring wipes to clean the kids’ hands before we eat.
Though many of these farms have snack bars or a country store, I usually pack a small picnic for our trips to the orchards. The children will likely eat an apple along the way but will still be ravenous after the walk. And is there anything better than a picnic in the fresh autumn air?
Note: a few of the farms do not allow you to bring in food or beverages. In that case, we usually picnic at a local playground or park after our apple picking adventure.
Our picks for apple picking farms in Massachusetts
You can’t go wrong with any of these apple picking farms in Massachusetts. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. Check the map below to find an orchard near you.
Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond – If you’re visiting the Berkshires in the fall, check out Bartlett’s Orchard. They grow seven varieties of apples, each maturing at a different time, so check their website for picking conditions.
Bartlett’s Orchard, 575 Swamp Rd., Richmond. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brooksby Farm This farm, owned by the town of Peabody, offers something for everyone all year round. Fresh flowers in the spring, fruit and vegetables from summer into fall, and even Christmas trees in the winter. The farm store carries baked goods, jams, jellies, salsas and even their own honey.
Brooksby Farm , 54 Felton St., Peabody
Carlson Orchards in Harvard. Come to Carlson Orchards in mid-September when peaches are still available, and the apples are ready to pick! By the time apple picking season is at its height, they will have 16 varieties of crisp apples available. NOTE: As the orchard has a taproom and food trucks on site, they do not allow you to bring your own picnic.
Carlson Orchards,115 Oak Hill Rd., Harvard. Open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury. This is a lovely destination for a day trip. Cider Hill farm is almost to the New Hampshire border, a long trip for some, but this farm offers so much to do and enjoy! In addition to the apples (and peaches and blueberries…) they have a cutting garden open Wednesday through Sunday! If you visit on the weekend, there are food trucks and a hard cider bar.
Cider Hill Farm , 45 Fern Ave., Amesbury. Open daily.
Dartmouth Orchards in North Dartmouth. Forty different varieties of apples! And a farm stand with jams and jellies made from their own fruit. Come back in December for a lovely wreath for your front door.
Dartmouth Orchards, 515 Old Westport Rd., North Dartmouth. Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hill Orchard (4 Hunt Rd., Westford) Hill Orchard is owned by the town of Westford. The orchard is currently being run by the Farmer Dave’s group. In addition to apples, Hill Orchard grows peaches, plums, apricots, and more. The orchard is open for pick-your-own on weekends in September and October.
Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow. Apples, blueberries, hay rides, barnyard animals, and a wonderful farm store. (Don’t miss the warm apple cider donuts!) My grandchildren love the hedge maze and the unique indoor climbing maze.
Honey Pot Hill Orchards,16 Boon Rd, Stow. Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lookout Farm in South Natick. Just a half hour from downtown Boston, Lookout Farm is a very popular spot. In addition to apples, peaches and pears, there’s home-brewed beers and hard ciders, outdoor dining and many live music events.
Fruit picking is available Tuesday through Sunday. Check the website for events and pick-your-own availability.
Lookout Farm, 89 Pleasant St , Natick. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entrance at 4:30 pm)
Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. As the name suggests, this pick-your-own farm but is also a vineyard and brewery. I’m recommending this orchard as it’s just down the street form one of our children’s favorite places, Davis Farmland. You could make a wonderful (if very full!) day in the area visiting both outdoor destinations. Note: Children are not allowed in the Nashoba Valley Winery tasting room.
Nashoba Valley Winery, 100 Wattaquadock Hill Road, Bolton. Open daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton. In Western Massachusetts, Park Hill Orchard is a the perfect spot for a day of apple picking. They are committed to preserving a healthy environment and farming without dangerous pesticides. A visit to the farm is also a visit to their Art in the Orchard walking sculpture trail, and, if you’re there on the weekend, a bit of music. AND I think they have the most apple varieties – 48! – of any farm on this list.
Park Hill Orchard , 82 Park Hill Rd, Easthampton. Open daily.
Parlee Farms in Tyngsborough. Parlee Farms is a great place to bring the children for apple picking and more. From mid-September to late October there’s pumpkin picking in the huge pumpkin patch. Parlee Farms estimates they grow over 40,000 pumpkins, so the kids are sure to find their perfect jack-o-lantern. After you’ve picked, they can watch cider doughnuts being made and feed the farm animals at Annie’s Animal Barns. Visit on the weekend if the kids love hay rides.
Parlee Farms, 95 Farwell Rd., Tyngsborough. Open Tuesday – Sunday and Columbus Day,10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Red Apple Farm, in Phillipston. Another road trip destination for the whole family. Red Apple Farm sits on a gorgeous piece of land overlooking Wachusett Mountain. There’s apple picking but there’s also an opportunity to dig for red potatoes and pick popping corn! After you’ve enjoyed all the picking, head to their Brew Barn to try their hard cider, BBQ options, popcorn, and yes, brews from neighbor Moon Hill Brewing co. Check Red Apple Farm’s website for the occasional live music event.
Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Ave, Phillipston. Open daily at 9 a.m.
Riiska Brook Orchard in Sandisfield. Just north of the Connecticut border, in the rolling southern Berkshires, you’ll find Riiska Brook Orchard. Rated one of the best apple picking farms in Western Massachusetts, the orchard has over 2700 apple trees in 10 varieties. Check the website to see what available when you’re visiting.
Riiska Brook Orchard, 101 New Hartford Rd, Sandisfield. Open Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Russell Orchards in Ipswich – 31 varieties of apples, as well as blackberries, blueberries, apricots, cherries, elderberries, grapes, peaches… and more!!
Russell Orchards, 143 Argilla Rd., Ipswich. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October.
Shelburne Farm in Stow. Pick-your-own apples, peaches, and Asian pears. This is another popular farm to enjoy with the kids. There’s a story walk, hay rides, John Deere playground, farm animals, and more. When you’ve tired the kids out, relax over lunch. Choose something from the food trucks or indulge in a homemade apple crisp from the Pop-Up Apple Shop.
Shelburne Farm , 106 W Acton Rd, Stow. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Smolak Farms in North Andover. Come for the Fall Festival Weekends in September and October for apple picking, crafts, entertainment, and more. This is a working educational farm which offers groups unique opportunities to learn about farming, structural design, ecology and living arts. Check the website if you think your school or group would like to participate.
Smolak Farms, 315 S Bradford St, North Andover. Festival Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Stowe Farm in West Millbury. Originally a dairy farm, Stowe Farm now an equestrian farm and, in the fall, a weekend only apple and pumpkin picking farm. The children will enjoy the Kid’s Corral, a petting zoo, and barnyard animals. Hungry? Head to the Buck’n Barbecue for some smoked beef brisket or pulled pork sandwiches. Stowe Farm usually opens to the public the weekend after Labor Day (but check picking conditions before heading out.)
Stowe Farm, 15 Stowe Rd., West Millbury. Open Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tougas Family Farm in Northborough. Last but definitely not least! Tougas Family Farms is our favorite place, partly as it’s close to my grandkid’s house, and partly because of all the activities offered on this 88-acre farm. We visit to pick strawberries in June, blueberries in July, and apples in late summer. As it’s a large farm, they run wagon rides out to the apple picking spot. When we’ve gathered as much fruit as we can manage, we head to the picnic area where I can sit and watch the children play on the extensive playground. Last stop before heading home is the farm store for ice cream.
Tougas Family Farm, 234 Ball St., Northborough. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Check the map for a Massachusetts apple orchard near you.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to Massachusetts apple orchards. While you’re here, take a trip to Cape Cod. It’s wonderful this time of year.