Fall is LA’s forgotten season. It’s basically just a hotter version of summer, but instead of swimsuits, people are wearing Halloween costumes. That said, seasonal nostalgia will still take over at some point, and when it does, you know it’s time to go apple picking. Though Southern California will always be known for its fields of citrus fruit, there are a few small pockets of excellent apple orchards in the region. Located primarily in the cooler climates of Oak Glen and Julian, CA, here are six great orchards all within a day’s drive of LA.
Parrish Pioneer Ranch
First planted in 1867, Parrish Pioneer Ranch is one of the oldest orchards in Southern California, and its history is apparent from the second you wander onto the property. There’s the Old Parrish Barn, selling everything from apple butter to gourmet chocolates, a toy shop called Granny’s Attic, and Parrish House Antiques, which showcases findings from the original farmhouse. If history isn’t your thing, don’t worry - there’s also a full restaurant on the property, as well the orchard itself, which grows several varieties unique to Southern California.
Our favorite thing about Snow-Line isn’t just that it’s a great orchard, it’s also a fully functioning winery. Whether you’re planning a left-of-center day date or you simply can’t be around your family for more than two hours without drinking, this historic Oak Glen orchard is a great option. They don’t offer any U-pick apples, but they do have a vast array for purchase, along with jams, gourmet sauces, pie fillings, and their famous mini cider donuts.
Willowbrook Apple Farm
Though Willowbrook Apple Farm has technically only been open since 2004, the orchard on the property was planted over a century ago - so there’s still plenty of history here. This popular orchard is open weekends from 10am-4pm and offers U-pick apples, wine tastings, a cider press, and small petting zoo featuring Delilah the mini pig, who, according to their website, enjoys “belly rubs and yummy snacks.” Same, Delilah.
Stone Soup Farm
Stone Soup Farm might only be six acres, but they pack quite a bit into their intimate Oak Glen space. There’s a 130-year-old heirloom apple orchard filled with varieties ranging from Fuji to McIntosh, archery fields, tomahawk throwing, seasonal gardens, an interactive kid’s area, and perhaps most importantly, excellent spots for photos. Open weekends only, 10am-4pm.
Julian Farm And Orchard
Located outside Julian, CA in Santa Ysabel, Julian Farm and Orchard is the kind of place that has something for everybody. Pumpkin picking, going on hayrides, axe throwing, farm animals, cider pressing, or shopping for goat’s milk soap at their seasonal store “The Farmer’s Wife.” If you’re bored at Julian Farm And Orchard, it’s your own fault. Current operating hours are Thursday-Monday, 11am-5pm (10am on the weekends).
Underwood Family Farms
No, Underwood Family Farm technically isn’t an apple orchard, but it is a fantastic year-round farm and one of the best overall fall activities you can do in LA. Located just a quick 45 minute drive away in Moorpark, Underwood’s expansive farm includes U-pick vegetables (check their website for what’s in season), a pumpkin patch, wagon rides, and a daily farmers’ market as well. We recommend getting tickets ahead of time for weekend visits.