Apples, Pumpkins And Fall Fun
There’s something about the warm days and cool nights of autumn that beckons people back to the farm. In North Carolina, the fall months mean mouth-watering mountain apples, picking out the perfect pumpkin, getting lost in a cornfield maze or taking the whole family on a hayride.
Here is a sampling of some of the best places in North Carolina to enjoy fall fruits and fun on a farm. Be sure to call ahead to make sure the farm you want to visit will be open when you get there.
Green Level Gourd Farm
Owner Virgil Jockisch grows 15 varieties of gourds and his wife Sandy decorates them at the Green Level Gourd Farm. During the month of October, this fifth-generation farm south of Raleigh hosts spooky hayrides, a pumpkin patch, donkey rides, a small corn maze and many other activities for the whole family.
This Johnston County nursery and produce farm just off of Interstate 40 exit 319 opens to the public in mid-September for pumpkin picking, goat walks, hayrides and fishing. During it’s annual Fall Festival, visitors are treated to bluegrass and folk music, storytelling and pumpkin painting.
Just northwest of Jacksonville, this popular year-round agritourism destination wears its fall colors proudly, starting its hayride and pumpkin patch season early in October. Visitors will also find a barnyard full of friendly animals and a bakery that is famous around the region for its wonderful fudge and other treats.
This active farm, located by the Tuckasegee River, offers pick-your-own seasonal produce, a corn maze that opens mid-August, horseback riding, wagon rides, bluegrass music and even camping. Nearby is the Appalachian Trail and Fontana Lake.
This family farm between Raleigh and Rocky Mount is always growing fresh produce and open for school groups, but when fall begins their infamous “Back Forty” playground opens to the public and the fun really begins. A Great Pumpkin Jump, a 40-foot underground slide, duck races and a “Tot Rocket” kids’ zip line are just a few of the activities the family can enjoy after picking out a perfect pumpkin.
Hubb’s Corn Maze
This corn maze is actually four mazes, ranging from a shorter, easier maze for children, to two longer mazes for those looking for a challenge, to a dark deep woods maze that is used exclusively for haunted maze nights in October. In addition, this farm 40 minutes east of Fayetteville will have pumpkins, pony rides and plenty of popcorn.
Lineberger’s Maple Springs Farm
This farm just outside of Gastonia has an abundance of fall produce and fall décor. Apples, pumpkins, gourds and Muscadine grapes are all available. There’s also a small corn maze for kids, a playland, nature trail and hayrides out to the pumpkin patch.
Ganyard Hill Farm
Stop by this farm for a hayride and picnic. Wander through the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkin, and if you come early enough in the season and you can pick cotton, too. You can also feed the barnyard animals, get lost in the Cornfield Maze or tumble in a giant haystack.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm
This farm just ten miles southeast of Asheville has all the fall family fun you could ask for, including a pumpkin patch, corn maze, disc golf, petting zoo and picnic area.
At an elevation of 3,000 feet, this orchard has a wide variety of pick-your-own apples available as well as pumpkins and grapes in season. There are also hayrides, barnyard animals and scenic picnic areas to make this an outing the whole family can enjoy.
Visitors to this farm will get a hayride out to the entrance of a giant corn maze. Once you’ve navigated the maze, you get a free mini-pumpkin and a chance to pick and purchase a regular-sized one. Then, stop by the farm stand and get fresh fruit in season as well as some homegrown sorghum syrup. It’s located six miles west of Franklin in western North Carolina.
Hector’s Creek Farm
Beginning in late September, this fifth-generation family farm (in the same family since 1882) becomes a fall family fun center, complete with a corn maze, a corn cannon, hayrides, pedal karts and a barrel train. Kids can even stuff their own scarecrow, if they dare. The fun lasts into early November.
Ken’s Korny Corn Maze
With more than 2.5 miles of paths, this popular corn maze just south of Raleigh will give you some great exercise and keep you guessing at the same time. There are also small mazes for the kids, hayrides and family games such as miniature golf and pumpkin bowling, making this farm a ten-acre fall playground.
J. Razz & Tazz
With a corn maze opening in September and a haunted forest in October, this farm between Greensboro and Burlington provides fall fun for the whole family. A pumpkin patch, Halloween hayrides, bonfires, a children’s play area and a cow train are just a few of the choices this farm provides.
The Pumpkin Patch at Blue Mountain Farms
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Alleghany County, this farm features pumpkins, a U-pick pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hayrides, a kids pumpkin decorating area and refreshments.
Johnny Wilson Farm
From pumpkins in the fall to Christmas trees during the holidays, this farm provides both crops and activities for the whole family. There’s a corn maze that’s more than one acre in size, a corral maze with a tunnel and a tram ride that will take you through 60 acres of farmland. It’s located just off 321A between Hickory and Lenoir.
Briley’s Farm Market
This farm has both a large corn maze with 3.7 miles of trail and a small corn maze. Fall activities also include a U-pick pumpkin patch, hayrides, gemstone mining, a playground and pony rides. The farm stages a haunted farm event on selected nights for those brave enough to enter.
This third-generation family run farm near Hendersonville comes alive in the fall with plenty of pumpkins and gourds to pick, as well as a wide range of apple varieties. Kids can also pet the goats and see the ducks on the farm.
Grandad’s Apples N’ Such
Located on 18 acres of apple and peach trees, this family-run business is open every day between August and mid-November. It features freshly picked apples and pumpkins in the fall (as well as U-pick fields), along with apple pies, caramel apples, local crafts and more. The kids might also get a kick out of feeding Yodi the llama.
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard
Hendersonville’s original pick your own orchard is open from mid-August through mid-November, with 22 varieties of apples to choose from, as well as grapes and pumpkins. The Stepp family invites you to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy wagon rides and the apple-themed gift shop.
The Maize Adventure in High Point promotes itself as “an adventure in getting lost,” and the centerpiece of the farm is definitely the huge corn maze. But the family fun doesn’t stop there, as Maize Adventure also provides guests with a pumpkin patch, gem mining and a fossil dig.
The Amazing Maize Maze
The Rural Hill Farm in Huntersville puts on a vast array of events every year, and one of the most popular is the Amazing Maize Maze, a huge corn maze that will test your knowledge as well as your directional skills. It’s open daily from mid-September through early November, with nighttime flashlight mazes on selected evenings (bring your own flashlight).
Country Time Carriages
Just east of Charlotte, this little farm hosts a huge 13-acre corn maze where answering questions correctly will help you find your way out. Also on site are a hayride, corn cannon, cow train ride and bonfires complete with marshmallows for roasting.
Orchard at Altapass
The granddaddy of North Carolina apple orchards, this historic farm at mile marker 328.3 of the Blue Ridge Parkway turned 100 years old in 2008. Altapass is more than an orchard - it's an Appalachian Cultural Center that celebrates the people, music, art and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There’s a special event here nearly every day of the apple harvest season in September and October.
Image by Janice Wald Friedman.
Located just 17 miles east of Charlotte, this farm opens to the public in October for covered wagon rides through the farm to an 18-acre pumpkin patch. There’s also a “magic” pumpkin, a goat walk, an old-timey ice cream parlor and even a pumpkin slingshot (three tries for a dollar).
Aw Shucks Corn Maze
This popular corn maze and pumpkin patch in Union County just east of Charlotte opens in mid-September every year with a newly designed maze and a host of other activities for both kids and adults. Activities include hayrides, a fishing pond, duck races, a horseshoe tournament, a turkey shoot and more.
Foothills Corn Maze
The Foothills Corn Maze prides itself on providing a day for the whole family at an affordable price. Besides the maze itself, there are hayrides and a pumpkin patch. It’s located just 1.5 miles from Interstate 40 in Morganton.
Blue Ridge Corn Maze
This agritourism attraction just outside of Brevard promises six acres of “cornfusion” to its guests with its corn maze. The folks here turn up the fear factor in October for the “Shock in the Corn” haunted maze.
This farm boasts a ten-acre labyrinth that will test your puzzle solving skills. When you’re ready to take a break, you’ll find a pumpkin patch, hayrides and plenty of activities for the little ones. It is conveniently located between Fayetteville and Raleigh on NC Highway 87 in Sanford.
Strickland’s Farm Produce & Corn Maze
Located in Columbus County on Highway 904 between Fair Bluff and Tabor City, Strickland’s corn maze promises a trail full of switchbacks, dead ends, and junctions that will constantly make you wonder which way to go. Hayrides are also available.
R & J Farms
This corn maze just east of Washington in Beaufort County has attractions for everyone in the family, including U-pick pumpkins, hayrides, bonfires, kiddie mazes, a playground, a pumpkin house and volleyball and basketball courts. It’s open from early September through mid-November.
Griffin’s Amazing Maize Maze
Near the town of Williamston, this seven-acre corn maze is guaranteed to keep you moving for at least an hour. There are also pumpkins available for purchase, as well as food and drink in case all your wandering makes you hungry.
Hill Ridge Farms
Every September and October, this family farm just outside of Raleigh celebrates its Fall Harvest & Pumpkin Festival, complete with hayrides, a pumpkin patch, a kids playland and live music. There’s also plenty of farm-made products to enjoy, including Hill Ridge specialties like homemade butter cream fudge, apple and pumpkin butter and fruit preserves.
added: September 8, 2009
updated: September 17, 2012
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