The Midwest is one of the best places to enjoy fall activities. Just outside of Chicago proper, there are plenty of expansive orchards to partake in socially distanced fun.
Discover the best of Fall fun in the Midwest
Try a pick-your-own experience or peruse a farm stand for the freshest local produce. Here are a few of Where’s top picks for 2020.
All Seasons Orchard
Just over an hour from Chicago, All Seasons Orchard has everything needed for a day of fall fun. Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome depending on crowds. They have more than 15,000 apple and pear trees in their orchard, many of which are available for the pick-your-own experience. The pumpkin patch is PYO too, and the Barnyard is open for youngsters to romp and play. The corn maze offers hours of family fun. The labyrinth is 10-acres with three miles of pathways (a shorter path for kids and a longer one for maze enthusiasts) and included in the price of Barnyard admission. The onsite bakery lures guests in with the aromas of freshly baked donuts, caramel made from scratch, apple pies, fudge, and kettle corn. They also sell a variety of local products, including honey.
Honey Hill Orchard
Many families are looking for budget-friendly ways to get out of the house. Honey Hill Orchard doesn’t charge admission to their orchards even during the busy harvest season. Pick-your-own apples and pumpkins every day of the week from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Use a Honey Hill bag, fill it with your favorite apple varieties, and tie it closed. Any apples outside of a tied off bag are subject to additional fees. On the weekends, food trucks line up with delicious treats and the smell of apple cider donuts (baked fresh on-premise) fills the air. The kids will love visiting the petting zoo, play area, and weaving through the straw maze. Wagon rides are available on the weekend (at limited capacity), weather permitting.
Just over the Wisconsin border, Apple Holler has started their pick-your-own season, albeit at limited capacity due to COVID-19. There are nine different varieties currently available for picking including Golden Delicious, Evercrisp and Rosalee every day of the week. Indoor activities will remain closed, but they have opened an outdoor market and a cider and bakery barn. Homemade pies, turnovers, and donuts will be available in addition to ice cream, jellies, and applewood crates. The Flannery Family has operated the 78-acre farm for the last 30 years and is committed to using responsible farming techniques to ensure the beauty and fruitfulness (pun absolutely intended) for future generations.
County Line Orchard
A quick drive across the Indiana state line, County Line Orchard, has all kinds of family-friendly fall activities. Pick-your-own apples (more than 30 varieties), sunflowers, and pumpkins before visiting the bee yurt. Get an up-close look at the thousands of hardworking bees that pollinate the orchard, try to spot the queen, or take home a jar of their honey. Every year, County Line Orchard designs a new corn maze in various themes, including the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks. They also have a shorter, easier maze for youngsters in the shape of a gummy bear. Can’t get enough time at the orchard? Book an after-hours campfire experience! On Fridays and Saturdays, small groups can sit around the fire, make s’mores, and listen to campfire stories after sundown.
Jonamac Orchard has made it easy to see what apples are available in-store or for pick-your-own with their easy to navigate, interactive website. You can even sign up for text or email alerts to find out when your favorite apples are ripe and ready. Pick-your-own pumpkins, ride the apple train or take aim with the apple launchers and cannons. Find your way through the corn maze (open until October 31). This year the maze’s shape commemorates the 125th anniversary of Northern Illinois University. On weekend nights, make a reservation for the haunted corn maze. Flashlights aren’t allowed in the maze, only glowsticks or penlights which adds to the spooky atmosphere. Want more nighttime orchard activities? Book a private campfire! The applewood campfires are great places for making s’mores, telling ghost stories, and spending time with your quarantine buddies.