Cider, Travel Guides

Best Places to Go Apple Picking Near Boston

Find your perfect fall at these 10 awesome apple orchards—each less than an hour from the city.

Note: The hours and rates below are updated as of September 1, 2016. We recommend checking the farms’ individual websites or calling ahead for details on apple varieties and other specifics.


apple-picking farm orchard boston

Photo by Margaret Burdge

Fresh hot cider, crisp juicy apples, and sugary cider doughnuts are all some of the best parts of fall in New England. In the fairytale world of the pick-your-own apple orchard, time moves slower, and everything is a little brighter and happier. Apple-picking season is truly the prime of R&R.

However, sometimes planning a trip seems to cost more time and effort than it’s worth.

No matter—find your perfect fall with our list of 10 apple orchards near Boston. Measured from downtown, all of these apple-picking spots are less than an hour’s drive away from the city, so break out those fuzzy sweaters and cobbler recipes, it’s time for a trip to apple-picking bliss.

Below, learn more about each of the 10 farms on our list. Use this Google map to plan your own trip.

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 89 Pleasant St., South Natick, Massachusetts, 508-653-0653, lookoutfarm.com.

Distance: 16.9 miles

Price: Daily: $9, children under two always free; Weekend: $15, children under 12 $13, $14 for 6-pound bag, $22 for 12-pound bag, $36 for 30-pound bag; one free admission 3-5 p.m. Monday-Friday with purchase of fruit bag

One of the oldest working farms in the country, Belkin Family Lookout is a staple in Boston, and the closest to the city. With Asian pears, apples, and pumpkins, your will find plenty to pick here. During the week, families can enjoy a hay pyramid, farm-themed play area, moon bounce, and more (all included in the admission fee). The weekends bring even more delights, with face painting, farm animals, train rides, and more. Over 21? Stop in the taproom.

Brooksby Farm

9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, 54 Felton St., Peabody, Massachusetts, 978-531-7456, brooksbyfarm.org.

Distance: 17.9 miles

Price: $9 for 1/2-peck bag (approx. 5 pounds), $17 for 1-peck bag (approx. 10 pounds), $30 for 1/2-bushel bag (approx. 20 pounds)

In Brooksby’s farm-fresh store, the smell of cider fills the air, with doughnuts and fresh fudge abound. The store also takes on a heartwarming holiday theme throughout the seasons, with fresh pies and baked goods to fill gift baskets. Brooksby is perfect for a relaxing weekend, with barnyard animals and the perfect orchard for your apple-picking needs.

Dowse Orchards

9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays & Sundays, 98 North Main St., Sherborn, Massachusetts, 508-653-2639, dowseorchards.com.

Distance: 21.3 miles

Price: $16 for 1/2-peck bag and up, average price is about $2 per pound

With 200 years of farm production and 60 years with a roadside farm stand, Dowse is definitely a safe bet for good fall fun. Fall at Dowse brings pumpkins, mums, and pick-your-own apples. In the beginning of October, many apple varieties reach their prime at Dowse, specifically Golden and Red Delicious. If your apples are going toward a sweet tooth, grab some Goldens for the perfect pie, or pick some Reds to slice for a salad.

Connors Farm

8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 30 Valley Road, Danvers, Massachusetts, 978-777-1245, connorsfarm.com.

Distance: 22.4 miles

Price: Mondays-Fridays: $9.99, $8.99 seniors, children under two always free; Saturdays & Sundays: $13.99; $12.99 seniors; $9.95 for 1/2-peck bag (approx. 5 pounds), $17.95 for 1-peck bag (approx. 10 pounds), $29.95 for 1/2-bushel bag (approx. 20 pounds)

Though apple picking is available all week, on weekends Connors Farm can’t be beat for activities. With a corn maze, hayrides, bouncy houses, pumpkin tetherball, and more, the weekends have countless family activities available. In previous years in October, Connors has also taken on Halloween, transforming into a haunted farm with a flashlight maze, and Haunted Corn Fields and Zombie Safari Paintball on Friday and Saturday nights.

Boston Hill Farm

Farm stand 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, apple orchard 10 a.m.-5:15 p.m., 1370 Turnpike St., North Andover, Massachusetts, 978-681-8556, bostonhillfarm.com.

Distance: 23 miles

Price: $20 for 1-peck bag (approx. 10 pounds), $38 for 1/2-bushel bag (approx. 20 pounds)

If you are the eat-as-you-go type of apple picker, Boston Hill Farm is the place for you. September and October are prime time at Boston Hill for the Macintosh, Cortland, and Macoun apples, perfect for munching while picking. Along with the standard apple cider doughnuts, Boston Hill’s farm store has less traditional offerings like cinnamon doughnuts and sugar pumpkins (you can pick the real thing in their fields, too). After you’ve picked your fill, grab a scoop of Richardson’s ice cream and go hang out with the bunnies and sheep.

apple-picking farm orchard boston

A full one-‘peck’ bag weighs approximately 10 pounds. How do you like them crisp fresh apples? / Photo by Margaret Burdge

Highland Farm Orchard

10 a.m.-4 p.m. starting September 23 for the 2016 season, 635 Highland St., Holliston, Massachusetts, 508-429-8370, highlandfarmorchard.net.

Distance: 27.6 miles

Price: Prices pending for 2016 season

Highland shares on their website that “seasonably warm winter and sudden freeze in February” had adverse affects on their peach and apple crops, but currently still plan on opening for apple picking for the 2016 season September 23. Prices are pending.

Honeypot Hill

9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 138 Sudbury Road, Stow,  Massachusetts, 978-562-5666, honeypothill.com.

Distance: 28.8 miles

Price: Pick-your-own accepts cash/check only, $18 for 10-pound bag (allows a family of three, or two adults, into the orchard), $28 for 20-pound bag (allows family of five, or three adults, into the orchard)

One of Boston’s premier orchards, Honeypot Hill is known for hayrides, delicious fresh cider and cider doughnuts, caramel apples, and apple pies. The whole family can enjoy the new Big Green Monster Hedge maze. On the weekends, Bosc pears are available for pick-your-own as well.

Shelburne Farm

9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 106 W. Acton Road,  Stow,  Massachusetts, 978-897-9287, shelburnefarm.com.

Distance: 29 miles

Price: $22 for one peck (approx. 10 pounds), $30 for 1/2 bushel (approx. 20 pounds)

Ready to start decorating for Halloween? Pick the perfect pumpkin at Shelburne for $0.60 per pound, or pick one up from the stand on your way out. On the weekends, a $6 pass gets parents and children into hay and tractor play areas for after-picking fun, or families can enjoy hayride tours of the orchard for the full experience.

Smolak Farms

9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays, 315 South Bradford St., North Andover, Massachusetts, 978-682-6332, smolakfarms.com.

Distance: 30.5 miles

Price: $20 for 1-peck bag (approx. 10 pounds), $35 for 1/2-bushel bag (approx. 20 pounds), $40 for 1/2-bushel basket (keep the basket)

With the most varieties of any farm near Boston, Smolak Farms is the best choice for varied picking. In the Antique Apple Orchard, Smolak Farms grows 20 types of apples, preserving some varieties that are no longer grown commercially, including the Pink Pearl and Sheepnose. The farm has four other orchards, with plenty of unique options for visitors. With hayrides, activities, animals, and more, Smolak Farms is an all-around winner.

Carver Hill Orchard

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays, 101 Brookside Ave., Stow,  Massachusetts, 978-897-6117, carverhillorchard.com.

Distance: 29.8 miles

Price: For the 2016 season, Carver confirmed to us that prices have increased from last year (in 2015: $14 for 1-peck bag and $22 for 1/2-bushel bag), but would not share exact 2016 pricing. Interested visitors should call ahead instead.

With summer squash, eggplant, and beans, Carver Hill Orchard offers year-round picking, but comes to the height of its pick-your-own season with the fall apple and pumpkin selection. Macintosh, Macoun, Honey Crisp, and more apples line the rows at this farm.

apple-picking farm orchard boston

Apple picking is about more than juicy fruits. A lot of farms also offer fun activities for the whole family. / Photo by Margaret Burdge

 

—By Margaret Burdge, with research by Ellen Cranley