An integral part of the Hall family story for over 150 years, Bush-N-Vine Farm got its start solely in peaches. Today, the farm offers strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, blackberries and pumpkins by the pound, which you can pick straight from the vine. Though the hayrides are cancelled this year due to COVID-19, the farm still offers a one-mile, self-guided hiking trail for you to follow around the farm, plus an observation beehive and, of course, ice cream. Photo courtesy of Carrigan Farms
Area: Mooresville, NC Admission: Pay $2 due at time of appointment, and $10 per person at the door Reservations: Yes
Fifth-generation Carrigan Farms has been a family go-to for pick-your-own experiences, plus swimming and tractor-drawn apple orchard hayrides since 1975. In spring, strawberries and asparagus are the stars; while in summer, Carrigan is the spot to stock your kitchen with fresh garden vegetables. Early fall brings apple season, and October means pumpkins. Pumpkin patches are open through October, and trips to the patch by shuttle are roughly an hour, which include a stop at the petting zoo! On select nights in October, get your heart racing when the 170-acre farm is transformed into a terrifying trail for Scarrigan Farms (must be 12 years old to participate).
Over 180 acres await at the over 100-year-old Hodges Family Farm, just northeast of Charlotte. Hodges prides itself on a generations-deep family heritage, plus farm-life educational opportunities for children, including beekeeping, “horsing around,” and the how to get a green thumb. Though some offerings have changed temporarily during COVID-19—Hodges will not offer its popular pumpkin patch this season—the farm still offers contactless curbside grocery pickup, including pork, chicken, beef, fresh eggs and local honey. They also host private photography sessions for a fee.
Area: Weddington Reservations: No for pumpkin patch; yes for barn/farm experience Admission: No for pumpkin patch; yes for educational experience, including a tractor ride, history of the farm, and you-pick pumpkins ($10); Children under 2 are free
Opened in 1868, Hunter Farm in Weddington, NC, is an educationally focused family farm, known for its fun summer camps and field trips. The outdoor classroom is the ideal screen-free, after-school program for kids to learn the ins and outs of a working farm, including farm animal care and gardening. Reserve your spot, and then head over to scout out the perfect fall pumpkin. Short on space? Snag a spot and grow your own produce in the community garden.
Area: Mount Ulla, NC (near Mooresville) Admission:Weekend Fall Fun, $12/person (2 and up) Reservations: Yes, tickets must be purchased in advance due to limited attendance.
Since 1919, the Patterson family brought their personal touch to the farming business. These days, MOOvies at the Farm are a popular draw, and these fourth-generation farmers also pride themselves on beautiful holiday poinsettias. Through November 1, “Weekend Fall Fun” at Patterson includes a visit to the barnyard, corn maze, pumpkin patch and more activities.
Area: Hendersonville, NC Admission: Free (pick-your-own bushels and certain activities have fees) Reservations: No
Pick your own apples, zinnias, pumpkins and sunflowers at this 70-acre, fourth-generation working farm and orchard, situated among the rolling hills of nearby Hendersonville, NC. In the fall, the farm offers 21 varieties of NC apples, from Honeycrisp to Stayman. Shoot the apple cannon, hop on a hayride with farmers Rita and Mike Stepp, or meander through the corn maze—you just might bump into the Corn Queen! Ugly Pig BBQ food truck is on-site serving up comfort food dishes like the Porky Bowls (gooey mac-and-cheese with pork and slaw). Don’t leave without trying an apple cider doughnut.
Area: York, SC Reservations: No; some events require pre-purchased tickets
Hayrides, apple cider doughnuts, live music, scarecrow making, and a hard cider bar are a few fun highlights at Windy Hill Orchard. This family owned operation of Fritz and Catherine Gusmer, is open every fall through the holiday season, for pick-your-own apples, specializing in sweet Stayman Winesaps. This cidery has also produced hard cider on site since 1996. Check out a tasting at the Cider Bar, open select weekends.
Area: Indian Trail, NC Admission: Thurs.: $7/adult & $6/child (ages 2-12); Fri.-Sun.: $25 for two Wise Pie pizzas, plus $8/adult & $7/child Reservations: Yes. For the remainder of 2020, all farm events require reservations.
Known mostly for its strawberries, Wise Acres is a family owned, certified organic farm in Indian Trail, NC, just south of Charlotte. In the summer, make a reservation and take your family out for a photo shoot (and picking!) with a sunflower backdrop. The farm switches it up in the fall and offers mums, pumpkins, and, yes, apple cider slushies. Two hours of farm time includes a wagon ride, a walk through the hemp maze, scavenger hunt, and time for the kids to visit with the goats and pigs and play in the pumpkin patch. On weekends, the farm will throw in two of its popular wood-fired Wise Pie pizzas for $25.