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Best Places To Go Apple Picking Near Orange County

apple picking couple 610 header
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When fall hits, it's time to look around at the best places to go apple picking in Orange County. Although they are technically not located "in" the OC, they are very close and all of them are worth the drive. You can just spend a few hours reliving this all-American pastime, but it is recommended that you make a day trip of it and enjoy your time in the orchards and their environs.

A Kashmiri Muslim labourer picks apples
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Riley's Apple Farm
12201 S. Oak Glen Road
Yucaipa, CA 92399
(866) 585-6407

Riley's Apple Farm offers u-pick apples, berries and vegetables from Tuesday to Sunday and is one of the best spots around to get into the fall spirit. Not only can you pick, but you can design your own tour down on the farm with activities available that include archery, gold panning, rope making, cider pressing, corn grinding and tomahawk throws. You can also enjoy a freshly barbecued hot dog or sausage before a bumpy hayride around the farm. Apple season officially starts on Labor Day weekend, but you can come earlier if the weather cooperates. Activities like archery, tomahawk and knife throwing are $2 per activity and happen on Saturdays. If you're the cider presser type, one gallon is $20 and it takes 80 to 100 apples to make a gallon of cider. As of the beginning of September, apple varieties here included Spartan, McIntosh, Fuji, and Early Red Fuji.

Apples covered in rain drops are picture
(credit: ROLAND WEIHRAUCH/AFP/Getty Images)

Willowbrook Apple Farm
12099 S. Oak Glen Road
Oak Glen, CA 92399
(909) 797-9484

If you want to bypass the crowds and opt for a more personal farm with a family feel, stop by Willowbrook Apple Farm and visit the friendly Swanson family to meet its pets Comet the mini pony and Blossom the pig. Willowbrook prides itself on its Stayman Winesap apples, a red with green apple that is excellent for juicing, cooking or just enjoying fresh from the tree. If plain apples don't do it for you, you can press your own cider or purchase a delicious caramel apple. It also has a variety of other treats for you to enjoy like apple rings with cinnamon, apple or pumpkin butter, berries, honey and preserves. Willowbrook is just an hour's drive from Los Angeles and Orange County and it will transport you to babbling brooks, fresh air and a 100 year old apple orchard. Apple picking begins October 1st, 2016.

Bob For Apples
(Credit: David A. Hornberger/Thinkstock)

Julian Apple Days Festival
Menghini Winery
1150 Julian Orchards Drive
Julian, CA 92036
(760) 765-2072

For an extra dose of apple-picking adventure, plan your trip to Apple Country during the famous Julian Apple Days Festival. This year, the event takes place on September 24 & 25, 2016 from 10am to 5pm and is just $5 for adults and free for children under 12. Even better, the festival takes place at Menghini Winery, assuring that both adults and kids will have a fruitful time. Expect games, contests, music and a gold-panning demonstration for the kids – and of course lots of handmade apple pie. In addition, it will feature music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children's games and activities, gold panning demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, food and merchandise vendors, contests, and, of course, apple pie. Another option is to head straight to the oven at Julian Pie Company and experience what the apple pie rave is all about – straight from the source.

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Riley's  apple Farm
(credit: Riley's Farm Fort)

Rileys at Los Rios Ranchos
39611 Oak Glen Road
Oak Glen, CA 92399
(909) 797-1005

For a year-round getaway treat that even four-legged furry friends can enjoy, drive just under 90 minutes toward the San Bernardino Mountains to the historic town of Oak Glen. Get an early start along with some exercise and stop at The Wildlands Conservancy/Oak Glen Preserve for a nature hike before the farm opens at 10 a.m. Rileys at Los Rios Ranchos offers plenty of apple varieties including Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Barkley Rome, Mutsu and many others. During the fall season, the terrific and historic ranch is bustling with festive activities such as u-pick apples, horse drawn carriage rides, u-press cider and more. The cafe and country store here is throughout the year offering a variety of baked goods, Apple wood smoked meats, and unique treasures.

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