Though the Golden State is probably best known for growing grapes, this huge state is also full of the best apple orchards in California. Though autumn doesn’t bring the cool temperatures of many other places, you can still have amazing experiences this fall at many great apple orchards. These range from low-key, family-friendly orchards with a few basic varieties to active farms with tons of produce and regular events. There’s something for everyone at the best apple orchards in California, if you just know where to look.
Keep reading to discover the 17 best apple orchards in California!
1. Willowbrook Apple Farm
Willowbrook Apple Farm was planted in 1910 as an orchard specifically for Stayman-Winesap apples. The current owners bought the farm in 2002 and transformed it into the orchard as it is known and loved today by people all over the state of California.
The owners of Willowbrook prioritize keeping things in the family, running according to tradition and with passion for the land. Many events take place on the farm, including an annual summer camp and regular educational tours.
The farm offers not only apple picking, but also self-pressed apple cider. Apple varieties include the Stayman Winesap (from the farm’s original trees), Liberty, Double Delicious, and more.
2. Rainbow Orchards
Rainbow Orchards in Camino has been sharing its produce with the community for more than 40 years. Now in its third generation as a family farm, the orchard grows apples, blueberries, peaches, pears, and nectarines.
Its offerings of fresh baked goods and apple cider rank it among the best apple orchards in California.
In addition to delicious treats and fresh fruits, Rainbow Orchards also hosts events throughout the year. These include activities like hay rides, hard cider tasting, barbecues, community picnics, and more.
3. Snow-Line Orchard
Oak Glen, California
Snow-Line Orchard lies at the foot of the beautiful San Bernardino mountains. Founded in 1898, it is not only one of the best apple orchards in California, but also one of the oldest!
The current owners strive to continue the traditions of the farmers who came before them. They not only grow apples, but press fresh cider and produce delicious fruit wine from the crops they harvest.
Though they don’t offer apple picking, you can help yourself to the fresh apple varieties in the farm store. While you’re there, you can also get your hands on fresh cider and delicious baked goods like cider doughnuts.
4. Julian Farm And Orchard
Julian Farm is more than just an apple orchard. It is also a historic site where visitors can pan for gold and mine for precious stones.
Although, if you’re more interested in the fresh produce, you’re in a good place. Julian Farm and Orchard belongs among the best apple orchards in California. Visitors can pick their own apples, including varieties like Honeycrisp and Crimson Crisp.
Raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are available for picking throughout the summer into October. Apple season starts in September and kicks off the autumn festivities that include cider pressing, hay rides, pick-your-own pumpkins, and visiting the farm animals.
5. EARTHseed Farm
Sonoma County, California
EARTHseed Farm is a brand new farm located in Sonoma County. It uses solar power, regenerative agriculture, and the wisdom of Afro-Indiginous permaculture to produce delicious, sustainable crops. Their goal is to protect the earth while harvesting its fruit.
Though the farm is only in its first season open to the public, it already has the potential to be one of the best apple orchards in California.
In addition to apples, the farm also grows berries, persimmons, plums, pluots, pears, and guavas. Apple picking starts in August and continues through November, with varieties like Gravenstein, Fuji, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Gala, and Rome.
6. Apple Starr Orchard
Apple Starr Orchard is a small orchard in Julian, CA. Here, there are about 1,000 apple trees, some of which are close to 70 years old. They still produce delicious fruit annually, which is available for visitors to pick themselves.
Apple Starr Orchard provides apple bags and picking poles as well as red wagons for families with small children. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own wagons and strollers to help their kids make the trek out to the fields. The apple picking experience provided ranks Apple Starr Orchard as one of the best apple orchards in California.
7. Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch
This family-owned and -operated farm is located in Sebastopol, California. Here, you’ll find orchards of apple and pear varieties as well as plenty of chances to pick your own fruit.
Ratzlaff Ranch lies in the hill country of Western Sonoma county. Surrounded by beautiful farmland, the ranch produces fresh fruit and deliciously refreshing apple cider. The cider has won many Best in Show awards, including gold medals at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
The ranch’s apple trees were planted by the original owner many years ago. The orchards offer Gravenstein, Rome, and Golden Delicious. Apple season runs from September to early December thanks to the balmy California weather.
8. Knaus Apple Ranch
Knaus Apple Ranch is a 20-acre apple farm in Tehachapi, California. It has been family-owned and operated since 1970.
Like any good apple farm, Knaus Apple Ranch offers U-pick opportunities throughout the autumn and of course, freshly-made baked goods like apple pie.
The orchard grows Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples. Though the property and the variety is smaller than many other places for apple picking, the experience makes Knaus Apple Ranch one of the best apple orchards in California.
Many people have been visiting annually since the orchard first opened its doors 51 years ago, and now bring their grandchildren along!
9. Apples and Art Orchards
Apples and Art Orchards offers an incredibly unique experience at one of the best apple orchards in California you can find. This orchard not only offers apple picking, but educational tours, group cider-making activities, and plenty of events throughout the year.
Some of the trees in the orchard are 50 years old. There are a huge number of apple varieties, including Jonathan, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Fiesta, and Greensleeves. Some of these are brand new cultivars. There are also heirloom varieties in the orchard.
The cider press is a hand crank. Visitors can learn how to use it and make their own cider.
10. Riley’s Farm
Oak Glen, California
Riley’s Farm isn’t just a place to pick fresh, delicious apples — it’s also a historic site that offers educational tours, activities, a bakery, and even a restaurant. All these offerings place it firmly on the list of best apple orchards in California.
This is a popular spot for school trips, and you’ll see regular historical reenactments of the Colonial and Gold Rush eras.
Apples aren’t the only thing to pick at Riley’s; you can also help yourself to blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pears, and pumpkins. Heirloom apple varieties are grown here, including Maiden’s Blush, Gravenstein, Golden Russet, Spitzenberg, and York Imperial.
11. Abel’s Apple Acres
Abel’s Apple Acres is a family-friendly apple orchard located in Placerville, California. This historic site offers tons of events and activities throughout the year, starting on Labor Day and continuing until Christmas eve.
These include everything from outdoor mazes to pony rides, mining adventures, Halloween activities, craft fairs, and much more.
There’s also no shortage of things to eat, including fresh produce, baked goods, candy, and even barbecue, making Abel’s Apple Acres more like a fairground than a simple farm. There’s no shortage of things to do here which is one reason why this ranch is one of the best apple orchards in California.
12. Clearview Orchards
Clearview Orchards began in the 1990s with the express purpose of offering apple picking to families. All the apple trees planted here are dwarf varieties, which makes them perfect for children who want to get in on the fun!
You can find many varieties of apples here, including Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, and Mutsu. Clearview Orchards also produces pumpkins, squash, and honey.
Some of their produce is made into preserves and baked goods, which visitors can buy in the store, including apple butter, turnovers, and even apple popsicles. There are also a variety of other goods for sale such as lavender soap.
13. Stone Pantry Orchard
Oak Glen, California
The Stone Pantry Orchard is located in Oak Glen, California. Here, visitors get the opportunity to pick not only apples, but also pears, blackberries, and pumpkins, depending on the season.
The orchard also offers farm tours and other educational opportunities. A popular place for local events, you’ll find everything going on here from concerts to weddings, field trips, and community activities.
In addition to apple picking, The Stone Pantry Orchard also lets visitors press their own apple cider. Apple picking and cider pressing are available every weekend from Labor Day until Thanksgiving. It is one of the best apple orchards in California!
14. Los Rios Rancho
Oak Glen, California
Los Rios Rancho lies at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains. In addition to fresh fruit, this apple farm offers a huge number of activities throughout the year, including a petting zoo, educational tours, and movies on the green.
Of course, there are also festivals throughout the year as well as fresh cider and baked goods made daily. In the summer, visitors can pick their own strawberries and raspberries, but apple season is the star of the show!
Apple season runs from late August to early November, with 32 varieties of modern and heirloom apples. There are tons of other fall festivities available as well!
15. Boa Vista Orchards
Boa Vista Orchards might be some of the most prolific fruit farms in the state! They pride themselves on being open to the public 363 days a year.
In addition to apples, you can find everything from pears to blackberries, peaches, pears, grapes, plums, and much more. Boa Vista also produces fruit wine and delicious baked goods. Of course, there are plenty of events throughout the year as well, all making this one of the best apple orchards in California.
You can also find all kinds of fruit preserves and other treats in their store, such as apple butter, jam, salad dressing, chutney, and even hot sauce. There are endless things to do at Boa Vista Orchards.
16. The Hangtown Kid
The Hangtown Kid is an apple orchard in Camino, California. Here, you’ll find tons of delicious fruit and other fresh goods, including apples, pears, persimmons, honey, and chestnuts.
Though the orchard doesn’t offer regularly-scheduled events or list the apple varieties it grows, it’s worth the trip. The fresh produce is a delicious treat, and it’s all available to gather on your own.
If you are looking for a straightforward, classic apple picking experience, The Hangtown Kid is one of your best apple orchards in California. Make sure to take advantage of the other fresh fruit offerings as well!
17. Stone Soup Farm And Heritage Orchard
Stone Soup Farm is a family-run farm dedicated to sustainable farming and promoting ecosystem diversity.
They grow berries, apples, and flowers here, as well as a variety of heirloom produce. You can find tomatoes, pumpkins, and other crops in their kitchen gardens, with produce varying throughout the year.
Summertime is berry season, with an annual Summer Berry Fair. Autumn is the time for apple picking. You can find several heirloom varieties at Stone Soup Farm, including the delicious Stayman Winesap apple. The staff at Stone Soup Farm invite visitors to listen to an educational talk about apple growing before picking their apples.
Visit the Best Apple Orchards in California!
Whether you are looking for a quiet, traditional apple picking experience or a unique, activity-packed event, there is something for everyone among the best apple orchards in California. When apple season arrives, you will have no problem getting your hands on fresh, delicious fruit!
Want to keep learning about your favorite fruit? Keep reading about apples: apple varieties, apple orchards, apple recipes, and more!